The lovely Miundy requested a Season! Hijack fic, and I went with the premise (borrowed from the equally lovely Spaceycrazylady) that Jack chases Hiccup like a game of tag. Only here, Hiccup runs so he can complete his work before Jack lays him to rest.
Lots of fluff, originally posted to the berktoburgess tumblr.
Not this year, Frost, not this year…
As he leapt from branch to branch, the ever present echoes followed, cackling, taunting, daring.
Hiccup knew that what hounded him was a necessary change that he eventually needed to succumb to, but it didn't mean the transformation couldn't be stalled.
While it was true Winter was fast and unpredictable, Autumn was subtle and knew the Earth as he did his own body, withered as it was. There was no reason that his final day of the year couldn't be fun.
A bough creaked beneath a feather light foot, warm gales propelling his twig-like frame to the next as he hop scotched through the weary trees. A whisper of leaves falling to the thickly coated ground followed the boy as he kicked off increasingly fragile branches, trying to keep ahead, but the shimmer of tell tale silver on each limb informed Hiccup that his pursuer was closing in fast.
Cape billowing in the rapidly chilling air and arms spread hopefully, he lunged forward, grabbed a branch but slipped off when he couldn't gain purchase on the icy wood, frowning as he managed to land on one below it, balance wavering.
"Give me a chance, why don't you?" He cried over his shoulder, descending the staggered limbs like a rickety ladder, scrambling down the trunk with the twitchy sure footedness of a squirrel. Winding around the bark, he plotted his path down, and calculated the route he'd take next
"Awww… Getting tired, are we?" Mocked the echoing winds, deceptively close, filtering directly into Hiccup's ear. He shook this away as he dropped off the reedy final twig of a red wood and continued his escape along the leaf strewn path.
"Not on your life, silver tongue," Autumn retorted, weaving through the massive trees, pulling his rustling cloak over himself, concealing his vibrant auburn hair and flushing face. "You don't know all of my tricks yet."
Camouflage in place, Autumn flitted between the trees, tingeing any greenery scarlet and gold as he drew close, keeping low and hanging back in the lengthening shadows. Whenever a sprinkle of snow overhead would descend, the quick minded boy would hold himself against a nearby ash, or lay against a thick bough, still as the wood he impersonated.
This carried on for days. The game was nothing new, and the Frost Sprite had almost won a few weeks back using a surprise attack, with the passing of September, the ground was crystallised and hard, much to the detriment of people.
Autumn had been temporarily caught around the waist, but wriggled out of Winter's long fingers almost too easily, running from his influence ever since. However, with the approach of December looming, Hiccup's strength was beginning to wane, and soon he knew that (despite what he told himself) the hunt would draw to an inevitably predictable close… Or would it?
Curiously, the biting cold had receded for the last three days, much to Hiccup's surprise. Cautiously, he raised his shifting, nature woven cloak and looked around, leaning off his perch and twiddling with the maple leaves that adorned his head. The earth below was thawed, and an uneasiness was beginning to grip the Auburn haired boy's heart as he searched, hazel eyes filled with panic.
Autumn was excellent at staving off Winter's embrace for a fair bit, often through being deceptively tricky or just by being a little bit too skinny, but December had arrived, and the air was uncharacteristically warm.
Hiccup gulped, pushed the cloak back to his slender, freckled shoulders and began to search the forest, the final leaves spiralling downwards as looped his thumbs through cloth and glided, nerves standing on end while warm up drafts held him aloft.
"Jack?" He called, trying not to let his reedy voice quaver, silently navigating the woods, direction expertly changing with the smallest tugs.
Golden sun light vignetted by thin clouds shone overhead annihilated any bitterness the air held, worrying Autumn. What if he'd hidden too well? Maybe the Frost Sprite had gotten bored and didn't want to leave bring Winter this year… What would Spring do? She couldn't wake up without the cue of the thaw.
"OK, you win, but only because I'm letting you…!"
All of a sudden, something pale and tall landed on the gliding boy's back, sending them both hurtling into a dense pile of gold, red and orange. Groaning, Hiccup rolled over and blinked, clearing his vision of stars before comprehending the immensely smug looking individual crouching above him, pearly grin reaching his ears. Icicle shot eyes locked with warm hazel, and as the younger season shook his tousled locks, the elder could not help but brag.
"I knew you'd crack eventually," He sang haughtily, inspecting his nails. Hiccup pouted despite himself but remained sprawled, knowing that exhaustion had the better of him and he couldn't use the same tactic twice. Instead, he glanced up at Winter's eternally youthful face in resignation, reaching to remove a crisp oak leaf from his pure white hair. "Admit it, you missed me."
The question had been posed every year, and each time it was met with an exasperated sigh or bored eye roll, but in light of his scare, the straddled boy decided to answer from the bottom of his heart.
"Yeah, I did," He conceded, much to the surprise of the young man above him. "Idiot." He finished, quirking a dark lip. His body ignored the incrementally decreasing temperature, as his sun dappled cheeks heated under Winter's study. His brows dropped, resolute in not becoming lost in his intensely blue gaze. "You scared me, so never do that again." He ordered, warning finger poised against the other's shimmering chest. It pulsed as he young man chuckled, and even then it was hard to stay annoyed.
However, Jack nodded minutely, reaching behind and pulling a familiar, meticulously crafted sheet of snow, ready to launch it over the two of them. Hiccup's palm splayed, halting the action.
"Promise me you won't hold off Winter again, no matter how well I hide?"
Blue tinged fingers released the blanket and Jack Frost sighed, shaking his head. Hiccup frowned, brows knitting in thought. The heavy fog of fatigue was already clouding his thoughts, and his limbs were leaden. He had overstretched this year, and it was finally time for him to rest.
"Why not?" Autumn yawned, voice rasping and dry. The Winter Spirit leant closer, arranging the season's signature cloak in a way he liked to have it as he slept. He pursed his lip, trying to articulate his answer.
"Because," He began, folding Hiccup's hand over his gilded chest, catching the sleepy eyes with his own. "I wouldn't want the harshest season to begin without knowing you were safely tucked away."
The other hand that propped against Jack's chest began to slacken, and it was delicately folded neatly atop his brother, taking as much care as one would handling a dry, crimson leaf.
A gentle rise and fall of the boy's breast indicated that there wasn't much time before slumber took him, so the Sprite grasped his icy sheet once more, and held it aloft, sinking sunlight filtering through the sparkling crystals vibrantly.
Another yawn and Hiccup's eyes watered instinctively, creasing as a blissful expression began settle in his countenance. "Is that so…?" He replied groggily, lashes gracing his cheek bones as heavy lids drew wearily closed. Jack hummed affirmatively, admiring the vivid auburn hair against the blazing leaves, watching the last glimmer of hazel disappear for another year.
"I also don't want you to fall asleep alone." He admitted tenderly, lowering the silvery sheet above the both of them, settling as lightly as the first flake of snow upon Autumn's rosy forehead.
"That's awfully… Kind of you." Muttered the half awake Hiccup, still bright in the darkness upon his earthy wreath. A small chuckle came from Jack, who held the tent of Winter against his back a moment longer.
"You'd do the same for me, if you could…" He smirked, regarding the faintly smiling boy, safe and sound under the only protection the Sprite could provide.
A breathy laugh escaped the sleep addled boy, rustling and comfortable, before the last tendrils of slumber enveloped his senses and he stirred no more.
So as not to disturb him too much, Winter bowed and placed a small, dry kiss atop Autumn's fiery crown, brushing his warm hair back and smiling against the widow's peak. Letting the blanket fall, he stayed for a while, lay beside his predecessor, monitoring the small rise and fall of his tiny chest and the movement of eyes behind their lids, dreaming. Of him, or their chase? Perhaps. The memory would warm his heart during his handful of months, before Spring would banish him elsewhere and he would rest, waiting in feverish anticipation for the arrival of blushing leaves and windy days once more… And the gentle spirit would come with them, singing the Earth's lullaby and soothing its tired plants, preparing them for a long needed respite, before the harshness of Winter harmed their delicate forms.
Lips parted and a few audible rasps of air escaped them the way they normally did, year after year.
The colours had begun to fade from the wreath, and Jack knew it was time for his work to resume, so he drank in Hiccup's peaceful face once more, hesitantly leaning across and caressing the rounded cheek.
Winter embraced Autumn a final time, softly pressing his blue lips upon plum, swearing that for the first time he felt a twitch of reciprocation. Raising his eyes, he phased through the snow and was bathed in moonlight. He made note of the tree that the frail boy slept beneath, donned his hood and rose into the air effortlessly while breaking a branch off and fashioning his annual crook. Clouds cowered as he shooed them away, unveiling a sea of twinkling stars in the inky blackness, dancing among the pines and grinning, knowing that the wait afforded by his tiny friend would make this year's first snow fall all the sweeter.