Jack Frost had not expected this to happen. Sure, he had dropped by Berk to grant its first day of winter, prepared to not be heard, seen, or even thought about. But this, THIS. Landing in the middle of the town, he was just going to stroll, put some ice on a couple of streets, draw some intricate patterns on the windows, maybe even drop a huge pile of snow on one of the bigger looking vikings. Instead, the moment he landed the entire town had stood silent.
He thought that maybe something terrible had happened in Berk while he was gone, until someone had whispered one word,
then suddenly, wildfire! The same word shot up in cries of excitement and fear. Jack’s eyes had grown big, he was even knocked backwards thanks to the crowd that had closed in on him. He had half a mind to just run away, a huge part of him wanted to, until an old woman approached him.
The crowd gave her plenty of room, and there she had looked intently at Jack. Not a word. A sudden understanding passed between the two (more on the woman’s side than on Jack’s), and she dragged him back up to his feet. Jack was in momentary shock, she had actually touched him. He had suddenly forgotten how to breath, air stammering its way into his lungs as he tried to process what was going on. She motioned to the crowd and pointed to a large house above the others.
“Send a messenger to Stoick! Gothi demands it!” A voice shouted, and now here Jack was, standing in the middle of the same large crowd with probably the biggest and intimidating viking in the village right next to him. Stoick apparently did not notice how tightly Jack clung to his staff or the way that his eyes darted around everyone present.
“It is an honor, upon our village, and our winter, to meet you Jokul Frosti.” Stoick announced.
“Jack. Frost. No, just Jack.” He couldn’t stop the nervous rambling from coming out of his mouth. He instantly shut himself up and hugged his staff closer to his body.
“Well, Jack, we are most certainly humbled by your visit.” Stoick corrected.
“It’s, ah, no problem. Really. Just what I do.” A sudden rush of laughter allowed Jack to jump in surprise.
“As thanks, we would like for you to pick one of our villagers to be your personal escort for your visits.” Nope. Not what he was expecting at all.
“You, aaah, what?” Jack blinked owlishly, trying to understand everything that was happening. From the village being able to see him, to the point where he was standing there, stressed as could be, and having to deal with the fact that he had no idea what was going on.
“Choose anyone you desire from our village to be your companion for the times you come to Berk. They’ll preoccupy your time here and show you around wherever you want!” Jack stared at Stoick’s smiling face and flat out panicked. They wanted him to choose one of them? They expected him to stay? Heck, these were people that could see him! Every single one! From the old woman that helped him up to the toddler he spotted in the crowd that had smiled and waved. So why did he not want to stay longer than necessary? Why was he not excited?
He realized that the crowd had been waiting for him to choose, and without looking, jabbed his finger out into the swarm of vikings thanks to his rush of uncertainty. He saw Stoick’s eyes move to the ever so lucky winner and widen in surprise. Jack finally looked to see who he had nearly jabbed in the eye and raised a brow.
Hiccup froze in place. He had just pushed through the crowd to get a glimpse of Jokul when he had nearly tripped and looked up to find a finger no less than an inch away from his face.
“Aaaah,” was kind of the only thing he could get out at the moment.
“Jack has chosen his companion.” Stoick boomed, still a tad shocked by the turn of events. What kind of trouble might his son get the village into? It wasn’t that it was a difficult task, just that Hiccup was prone to speak without thinking most times. Stoick certainly didn’t want to deal with having a dangerous winter because his son couldn’t keep one of his remarks to himself. The crowd gave out a hesitant applause, and very rapidly dispersed. Stoick turned to look at the two boys before him. Jack’s hand had dropped and he was looking Hiccup over with what seemed amusement, whereas, Hiccup looked absolutely confused and as disdained as ever.
“Hiccup, I expect you to show Jack the village, entertain him, and basically do what he asks. Understand?” A stern look quickly killed the oncoming argument his son had prepared. Hiccup pressed his lips together and nodded.
“Right. Dad.” Jack’s smile couldn’t be contained when he heard the word ‘Dad’ escape the shorter boy’s mouth. How in the world could this runt be the product of such a behemoth? Stoick, satisfied, nodded and walked away. Jack turned back to the chosen villager, a bit uncertain of where to start. So he went with the basics.
“Hiccup, was it?” he offered a smile, which was received with a dubious look. The green eyes and freckles were bright against the pale skin, making the smallest boy in Berk look childish and even more un-viking like. Jack didn’t contain his laughter this time.
“Oh great, now I have a winter spirit laughing at me.” Noticing the very dark and unimpressed expression Hiccup wore, Jack stopped.
“Sorry, it’s just, you don’t look anything like the rest of your village.” Rolled eyes in response, Hiccup crossed his arms over his chest, slumping a bit.
“Yeah, well, not the first time I’ve been told.” Realizing he was treading a sensitive topic, Jack changed the subject. It was stupid of him to not realize the kid probably got trouble for his physique as is, let alone have a stranger point it out and then laugh in his face. Stupid, stupid, stupid!
“Well you never answered my question. Are you or are you not Hiccup?” The boy blinked in return, startled by the change in gears, but he once again gained his composure.
“If you must know, then yes, I’m Hiccup. Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third to answer anymore name related questions.”
“Well then Hic,-”
“Don’t call me that.”
“-looks like you and I are going to have a little fun.”
As Hiccup walked Jack through the streets, they talked with each other.
“How come we’ve never seen you before?” Hiccup asked with a good degree of interest. Jack swung his staff about, freezing things here or there as they went, brushing his hands along walls and windows as he thought about his response. He was still here to bring winter after all.
“Ah well, I usually hang around near the forest. I thought I would check this place out for once, looks like I got more than I bargained for.” Jack smiled playfully, hoping to lighten the situation. Their talks ranged from normal (“You’re almost sixteen? Might want to pack a few pounds on there Hic.”), to getting to know more about each other (“You mean you’ve actually been ALL the way across the sea? What’s it like?”), and finally, as they neared the outskirts of Berk, to the personal.
“So, mind if I ask what it’s like being you in this village full of walking meat?” Jack swore he saw Hiccup’s mouth twitch ever so slightly, (He’d been trying to get this kid to smile all day, what was it going to take?) but it quickly disappeared. With no response, Hiccup made his way directly into the woods, Jack following close behind. After a good trek, Hiccup finally spoke.
“It’s like being alone your entire life.” A chill, for the first time, ran it’s course along Jack’s spine. Alone was something he could understand, and the sudden urge to spin Hiccup around and hug him tightly, to let him know that he had felt that way too, was hard to resist. But resist he did.
“When everyone you know in the village hates you, thinks you’re absolutely useless, you get ignored or put down a lot. I mean, what are you supposed to do when no one believes in you? You never get a chance to prove yourself, and no one’s willing to look at you long enough to give you that chance. All because I’m…..this.” Gesturing down to his body, Hiccup let out a painful sigh. Being the smallest and least violent viking in Berk meant trouble since he was young, and every day took it’s toll. He rubbed his arm to try and comfort himself, but as always, it never really accomplished anything.
Why was he even telling Jack all of this? He probably had every village vying for his attention, being the god of winter. How could he ever expect this otherworldly being to comprehend his situation? A sharp pang ripped through his chest, bitterness swelled up.
“But I guess you wouldn’t understand being Jack Fro-” As Hiccup turned around he saw Jack’s eyes wet with tears. Jack had been listening, realizing that he had found someone that knew exactly how he felt. Especially in his earlier years, when he first realized that he was a ghost to all humans. It had been the most excruciating time of his life, having no one but himself, clutching his arm the same way Hiccup had in hopes of relieving some of the forsaken pain.
“No, I know what it’s like being invisible. And for a very long time too.” The once loud and cheerful voice was now whispering, pleading for Hiccup to know that yes, Jack Frost indeed knew what it was like to be completely and truly alone.
“B-but how? I mean, you’re, you’re Jokul Frosti! Don’t people-?”
“No.” one word. Jack took in a shaky breath and stared Hiccup right in the eye.
“Today is the first day that I have ever met anyone else, let alone an entire village, who could see, hear, or touch me.” His voice cracked and he almost broke the eye contact, but something about Hiccup’s enraptured gaze held him steady. He clenched and unclenched his fist twice, taking a steadying breath, he continued.
“This is the first time I’ve walked around with someone, and could talk with them, and they would answer back. This is the first time I have been shown anything, been asked questions, and enjoyed being in someone else’s company. And you know what? It’s really nice.” The tears had spilled gently over now, no hand to brush them away.
That’s when Hiccup hugged him. The thin arms wrapped tightly against the winter sprite’s body which at first tensed with shock, but quickly broke down and clung to the other boy as he sobbed quietly. It wasn’t until Jack heard Hiccup mumble something into his shoulder did he calm down.
“I said me too. It’s really nice.” And then Jack noticed the tear stains on Hiccup’s face as well.
“You look terrible.” He blurted out. Hiccup gave a slight laugh, pulling away from Jack. (Wow, who knew the kid that had the power over ice could suddenly crave so much body heat?)
“You don’t look too good yourself.” And finally, another thing happened that Jack could add to his ‘First Time’ list. Hiccup gave him a smile. It was absolutely stunning, the way that those slightly bucked teeth completed the way the cheeks lifted and the eyes scrunched. Hiccup looked positively amazing. A smile broke out on his face, his eyes taking in the divine scene before him.
“You’re pretty cute when you smile Hiccup.” Whoops. He didn’t mean for that to slip. But when you haven’t talked to people in a couple hundred years, you tend to forget etiquette. Especially if you just had a very strong bond form through an emotionally charged experience.
Hiccup’s cheeks began to redden and his smile fell away a bit, unsure of how to take this news.
“I, uh, thanks. You look nice when you smile too.” Hiccup turned away, looking instead at the ground and letting out a puff of breath as he swung his arms around his waist, obviously trying to release his anxiety. Jack’s heart fluttered at the comment, and he was thankful that out of all the people he could have pointed to in that crowd, it was Hiccup.
“Duck!” A snowball whizzed right past Hiccup’s ear, nearly planting itself neatly on his face. The kid who had shouted for Hiccup to move was then hit with a snowball himself.
“Way to give me away there squirt!” Jack laughed.
“I almost had him!” All the other children giggled in delight as Jack helped their fellow six year old back onto his feet. After exiting the woods, the group of children had run up to Jack and begged for him to show them his magic. Of course he complied, creating a snowball with as much sparkle and showtime flourish as he could, and shoved it down the back of Hiccup’s shirt, which in turn led to Hiccup scooping up snow from the ground and pushing it in Jack’s face. Not a second later a snowball fight had been unleashed within the group, Jack providing bucketsful of snow for everyone to use.
“You won’t get me that easily, Frost.” Hiccup smirked.
“Oh yeah?” and then the fight was back on, kids squirming and weaving their way past each other, launching snowball after snowball into each other’s sides and heads. Hiccup at one point lost track of Jack, snowball in one hand and at the ready, he gazed at the battlefield before him.
“Where-?” Not much else was finished with that sentence as Jack launched himself at Hiccup from behind, effectively catching his waist and pinning him to the ground.
“You seem pretty easy to catch there Haddock.” He smiled sweetly down at his captive.
“Oh, using last names now are we? That was very unsportsmanlike, don’t you think?” Hiccup’s heart rate had completely skyrocketed. Here was an ethereal, and very handsome figure of legend, and he was pinning Hiccup to the ground. None of the other children seemed to have noticed, having too much fun building up defenses in their snow forts and stocking on more ammunition for the next volley of throws. A chuckle brought Hiccup back to his current situation.
“All’s fair in love and war Hic, and this is most certainly war.” With that, Jack moved Hiccup’s hands so that he held both wrists in one hand, and scooped up snow with the other. He teetered the snow over Hiccup’s face, a dastardly grin exposed.
“Jack, don’t you DARE.” Hiccup struggled to no avail as the ice was pushed closer and closer, every second drawn out.
“I swear Frost, if you-” and with a final flick of the wrist the snow fell atop Hiccup’s face, muffling whatever threat he had prepared.
“That’s for earlier.” Jack laughed as Hiccup tried brushing the ice away while having both arms out of commission. In the end he gave up.
“Alright, I lose! I lose!” Jack broke out into another smile, but didn’t free the brunet just yet. Instead, he leaned down next to Hiccup’s ear.
“If you’re ever going to win, you better put up more of a fight.” Hiccup’s breath hitched slightly, eyes keeping track of Jack’s face as he pulled away from his ear. The blue eyes gazed down at him in a way that Hiccup couldn’t place, it wasn’t anything malicious, but strangely warming and and made him feel self conscious.
“Who said I wanted to win?” The reply was hoarse, barely a whisper, but Jack had heard it. His eyes widened a bit, and by the way the viking’s face suddenly turned a few shades darker and his eyes looked suddenly surprised, he didn’t think the little viking had meant to say it. At least not out loud.
Out of nowhere a snowball hit Jack in the shoulder, Hiccup blinked and then turned his head to look at the group of children who had all crammed themselves into one fort, smiling devilishly and trying to shush one another as they feigned innocence. Jack gave them all his own mischievous smile and conjured a snowball.
“Alright snowflakes, you’re all in for it now!”
With the sun setting, the children had been called away, and Jack and Hiccup were left alone once more. Hiccup took the opportunity to show Jack the smithing shop where he worked, earning him a few snarky comments about being too small to even stoke the fire. In return he threatened to melt Jack where he stood, all with a playful smile.
“You know Jack, I actually ended up enjoying myself today.” Hiccup admitted when they had stood in silence for a while. Jack looked up at Hiccup’s downturned face, feeling extremely light and excited, the way he had felt earlier when Hiccup had been pushed underneath him. He swallowed before replying, mind racing with countless thoughts.
“So would you call this a date?” Jack was tensed, realizing what he was implying with that single phrase. The fire crackled behind them, suddenly very loud.
“Are you supposed to make your date cry your first time out?” Hiccup retorted, a quirk of his eyebrow and a, what, was that a blush? Jack chuckled, some relief washing over his chaotic emotions.
“Well, I didn’t say it was perfect-”
“But it kind of was.” Hiccup interrupted. His hands were clenched in front of him, needing something to do. He was getting all nervous again, being alone with Jack and saying this kind of thing. I mean, he could barely ever get the attention of anyone in the village, and sometimes it was hard to get the attention of his father. But having Jack, who was so focused on him, it was destroying his usual comfort zone. In a good or bad way he wasn’t sure yet.
“Only kind of perfect?” Jack gave a slight smile, but Hiccup could tell there was a light of curiosity in his eyes, and the way he leaned in, expecting an explanation made it obvious. He didn’t even think about what he was saying, or consider that he should have said anything at all, when he suddenly answered.
“Th-there wasn’t a kiss.” Damn. Where did that come from? Jack would think he was weird, Thor and Odin almighty HE thought he was weird, how was Jack going to react to that? They had just met and just because Jack chose him as a companion did NOT mean he chose him as THAT kind of companion. Odin’s beard what had he done? The first friend he made and this is how he messed it up, and probably in record timing. Please Thor, strike me down now and save me the-
Everything that had been running through Hiccup’s mind stopped. Jack had pressed his face close to his, leaning in he gave him a very soft and gentle peck on the cheek. His lips brushed the freckled and burning face longer than intended, Jack’s cool body temperature feeling very welcoming against the roaring fireplace. So welcoming that Hiccup pushed his face closer to Jack’s, letting out the barest of sighs as his flushed skin seeked relief, letting his eyes shut close and savoring the feeling. His shoulders, hiked up from the worries so real just a few seconds ago, relaxed.
Jack pulled away seconds later, but not too far, and looked at Hiccup with a wide smile.
“So see you tomorrow?” Hiccup’s eyes fluttered open, heart pounding with excitement.
“Yeah, see you tomorrow.”