Before – Sickness (Part 1)
If someone had told you last night how today would go, you would have rolled your eyes and laughed at them.
Then again, if someone had told you that you would wake up with the one and only Jack Frost sprawled out on top of you, you probably wouldn't have believed them either.
But here you were, twenty minutes after waking up with Jack clinging to you like a koala bear, still trying not to freak out too much, or die from embarrassment. You had to stay focused to get out of this (even if a small part of you wanted to stay like the way you were). But you soon started running out of ideas; you had tried everything, from talking to him, to wiggling yourself free, but his grip on you was too tight and he seemed to be too deep asleep.
Your last attempt had been by poking him, and it was only when your fingers met bare skin that you realized he was so very shirtless.
You were still blushing as you racked your brain for a solution, trying desperately to keep all unimportant –or should I say improper- thoughts at bay. You couldn't wake him up no matter what; that was a kind of awkwardness neither of you needed.
What on Earth was Jack thinking when this happened (and how you didn't wake up in the process) was a complete mystery. If Jamie walked in right now, I'd never hear the end of it... Suddenly you felt like face palming yourself. Jamie! If you could get your cousin in here, maybe he'd help you without teasing you too much.
Without moving too much, you reached under your pillow and pulled out your phone. Jack stirred and snuggled closer, but he didn't look like he would wake up anytime soon. You took a moment to look down at him before calling for backup. His brows were furrowed slightly but there was a small smile lightening his features.
You mentally slapped yourself and focused on the task at hand, texting your cousin single handedly (Since your other arm was trapped under the young immortal).
Jamie, I need your help in my room. Don’t ask, just come. Now. You hoped he would sense the emphasis in the last word and wouldn’t take too long to get out of bed. You hit the ‘send’ button and waited. Minutes went by, but no one came in your aid. You sighed, and Jack mimicked you in his sleep. You glanced down at his sleeping face, smiling softly at his innocent expression. He looked so peaceful that you wanted to take your text back, if only for a few minutes.
Your hand moved some hair out of his eyes, careful not to touch his forehead, only for it to flop back down over his face. He didn’t even stir, but then again, it would be too cruel from the world for him to wake up at that after everything you had tried earlier.
“Hey, What up with your text? Do you have any idea what time…” Jamie swung the door open, trailing off as he took in the scene. The poor boy was about to do a 180 when you gave him a pleading look. Instead of leaving he asked “Should I ask?”
“I told you not to,” you whispered “Now please help me.”
The brunette jumped silently over the pile of [f/c] sheets, which probably got knocked down by Jack last night since he hated the warmth of being covered up, and paused for a moment before pushing on Jack’s elbow softly. That only got the older boy to frown and pull you closer, getting an immediate blush out of you. Jack groaned, but didn’t wake up.
You both maneuvered your body out of Jack’s grasp, and after several failed attempts and false alarms in which Jack stirred and mumbled, you finally rolled over and collapsed on the ground with a quiet ‘thump’.
“What happened?” Jamie asked as he helped you up.
“I don’t know. I woke up and he was here.” You started picking up your bed sheets, also taking Jack’s hoodie off your bed post and tossing it at the chair along with his button up white shirt, and taking his staff out from under the bed.
“Huh.” Jamie mumbled to himself as you adjusted the thin covers over the slumbering spirit.
“What?” You asked.
“Oh, nothing, is just…” Jamie narrowed his eyes at the window, rubbing his head “if he was here long enough to fall asleep, why aren’t the windows covered in frost?”
You blinked a looked over at your clear windows. Strange, you thought. Usually it only took five minutes of Jack being here to get every glass in the room frozen over; sometimes it just took him to fly by fast enough. Jamie placed his hand on the windowpane as you inspected the glass of water one your bedside table. Like the windows, it didn’t have any frost on it. You put two fingers on the water.
“Lukewarm…” You murmured just high enough for Jamie to hear. Now that you thought about it, you hadn’t felt cold when you woke up, even with Jack hugging you. And the room was actually… warm.
You and Jamie shared a concerned look before looking at Jack. The smaller boy tried shaking Jack awake, calling his name softly, but the white haired teen simply frowned and curled in on himself. Jamie tried again, leaving his hand on Jack’s shoulder for a moment before recoiling back in shock.
“[f/n]…” He breathed out, and your concern grew.
“What?” Jamie didn’t answer, just looked at you in surprise and confusion. You asked him again. He scrunched up his brows and looked down at the body on the bed.
“Jack’s got…” You placed your hand on Jack’s pale shoulder, just like Jamie had, and realization hit you slowly but surely. Your hand flew up to his forehead and then his cheek, Jack unconsciously shivering at the touch. You touched you own forehead with your free hand. You were warmer, but not by much.
“…a fever?” You finished for him.
Neither of you was sure if that was even possible (he’s a winter spirit, how could it be?) but it got you both in a small panic attack. You shook Jack with gentle urgency, luring him out of sleep as best as you could.
“Jack? Jack, wake up. Come on, sun is up.” His salt and pepper brows knitted together and he whined softly, looking years younger as he hid his face between two pillows. But you continued to shake him, pointedly ignoring the guilty feeling bubbling inside of you, “Jack, wake up. Please. For me.”
A long groan later, his glacier blue eyes cracked open before clamming shut at the light in the room.
“Jamie, close the blinds.” He did it in a blink, and you didn’t miss a beat to send him for cold water and a small towel. “And don’t wake up your mom.” You added before he left, closing the door behind him.
“Jack?” you spoke softly, brushing some hair out of his face. It stayed out of his eyes this time.
“[f/n]?” he asked. You noticed how hoarse his voice was, even when he spoke barely above a whisper.
“Hey.” He repeated, forcing a smile.
“Mind telling me why I woke up to you here?” You half joked. You weren’t sure if your tone –the one you usually used on Sophie after she had a nightmare– let through just how curious and concerned you were, but if he noticed, he didn’t show it.
His eyes narrowed in what look like concentration and a forming headache, and for a moment it looked like he didn’t remember. But then he started, if only a bit hesitantly, “I… I was flying over… Ugh, I can’t even…” he rubbed his temples, mumbling something you didn’t understand before continuing. “That’s unimportant. I got distracted, and next thing I know this flock of birds knocked my staff righ-“ He cut himself off abruptly. He shot up in bed, blankets pooling around his waist as he looked around frantically.
“My staff! Where’s my staff?!”
“Jack calm down!” You pushed him back down on the bed, frantic blue eyes somehow focusing on your own [e/c] orbs “It was under the bed, I just moved it by the window.”
He visibly relaxed and slumped back down, his sudden outburst apparently not helping his current state.
“So, you got knocked down by pigeons…” You motioned for him to continue, and he cleared his throat. He grimaced and rubbed at his neck, squinting in pain.
“I fell on water… weird though, it was practically boiling…”
“Where on Earth were you?”
He thought for a second “I dunno… somewhere in Japan.”
Japan? Hot water? “Please don’t tell me you fell on a hot spring.” You asked, remembering your geography classes.
Jack shrugged “It’d definitely explain some things.”
Deciding it best not to ask, you placed the damp towel Jamie gave you on Jack’s forehead. The younger boy had returned a few minutes ago, but hadn’t said a word to hear what Jack had to say.
“And then?” Jamie spoke for the first time since he got back.
“I was on my way back here and then…” Jack looked lost. “It’s kind of fuzzy.” You took his hand in yours, not liking the lack of cold meeting your skin. “I felt tired, and I couldn’t even make a snowflake without getting a headache. I asked the wind to take me home. Next thing I know I’m crashing into your window. You’re quite the heavy sleeper, you know?”
He added the last part in a mocking tone, lightening your concerned features.
“Yeah, I do.” You smiled at each other.
“So, now what?” Jamie asked, “I didn’t even know you could get sick.”
“It’s actually not that rare.” Jack said absently, blinking hard and squeezing your hand unconsciously.
Your heart ached, seeing him like that; the tiredness and lost look simply didn’t go with the Winter Spirit, and you missed the fun, hyperactive Jack already. Determination took over you, and your mind centered on getting him back into the Jack Frost you had grown to adore, no matter what.
“Well, then you can walk us through it.”
Jack looked at you in confusion, “What?” He asked hoarsely.
“You didn’t actually think we’d let you leave like this, did you?” You raised a brow and Jamie nodded, silently agreeing with you. Jack’s eyes shifted between the two of you, searching for something. Finally a small smile spread on his face and the blue on his eyes seemed to become deeper.
“So,” Jamie asked, a little more excited than the situation called for, “what do we do?”
Jack looked at the two of you with a mix between pride, gratitude and something you couldn’t name, and you felt your heart rate pick up. You copied Jamie’s confident smile, trying to reassure Jack.
After all, how hard can taking care of a winter sprite be?
Turns out, immortals don’t work that different from humans after all.
Giving it some though, it made sense that Jack would get sick by falling on hot water and letting it freeze on him. You would get sick if you fell in icy water and did nothing to get warm, now wouldn’t you? And taking care of him wasn’t as uncanny as you thought it would be.
Besides the fact that you had to continuously change the ice bag in his forehead –apparently freezing water isn’t cold enough for a winter entity– and that no common medication would have any effect on him, most of the things you did were the things you’d do when Jamie or Sophie got sick.
You had to keep him cold to get that fever down. This was the only thing Jack actually cooperated with, saying he couldn’t stand having too many layers of clothing on him in his state. That would explain the shirtless deal from this morning.
Getting him to stay in bed had been more of a show. Being the Guardian of Fun, he wanted to do something other than simply ‘lie down and waste his day away’, as he so politely put it. Twice now did he get energy boosts that would force you and Jamie to drag him back to bed, the last one including pulling him back through the window.
But the problem was taking Jack’s temperature. None of you (not even Jack himself) knew how cold he was supposed to be, let alone if the thermometer would actually work under such temperatures. Jamie finally came up with the idea of using a glass of water; if it froze without Jack focusing on it, then he was back to normal. The only thing Jack managed to do, though, was get a little bit of frost of the glass, and he admitted to having used his powers. Worried about this, Jamie had left to try and figure out how to get the other four guardians in here to help out.
That was hours ago, and you were starting to think you’d have to get Jack back to full health all by yourselves. The wind howled outside, and you smiled a little. Well, maybe not only you and Jamie would take care of Jack.
At this point in life you considered the wind as a living thing, rather than just an element; after all you’d seen it do, and how Jack talked and interacted with it, it was hard not to do so. You knew for sure that it cared deeply about Jack, if the wind had conventional feelings, that is. Maybe it could help you somehow?
You opened the window, letting a gust of wind enter your kitchen and create Goosebumps in your arms and neck. You looked at the dark sky, not sure of how to do this. Should you just talk to it? It seems like it only listens to Jack…
I asked the wind to take me home. Next thing I know I’m crashing into your window. Jack’s voice echoed in your mind, making something click.
“You brought him here on purpose,” You started out loud, “didn’t you?”
Almost as a response, the wind inside your house circled around you in an unnatural manner, ruffling your hair ever so slightly before flying out the window and back into the open air. You smiled, whispering a small ‘thanks’ and getting a small breeze brushing your cheek in answer.
Suddenly, a light bulb went on in your head and you practically threw yourself out the window “Wait!” you called, and the wind outside stopped blowing entirely, its attention on you. “Could you get them here? The guardians?” a few seconds passed, but finally the trees outside rustled, green leafs falling and somehow finding their way in through the window.
Taking that as a yes, you closed the window and made your way to the fridge, taking what you had come for in the first place –a freezing, but still liquid cup of tea– a went back to your room. You took a detour upstairs to tell Jamie not to worry about the guardians anymore –and good thing you did; your cousin looked kind of stressed.
You opened the door to your room, and blushed furiously at the sight you stumbled upon. Jack was standing by your full-size mirror; arms lifted as he put on the white t-shirt you borrowed him so he could sleep. Finding him clothes hadn’t been a problem, since your closet was practically a store for both guys and girls, but just now you realized that the red sweatpants you gave him were a little too big, as they were hanging dangerously low on his waist.
You drew a blank, not able to move, breath or think. Your eyes were glued to his slender, yet surprisingly muscular torso, and you didn’t have the strength to look somewhere else. Thankfully his head had yet to poke out from the shirt, or you’d be caught staring at him.
Sure, you had seen him like this before, this morning being the most recent, but hadn’t really been paying a lot of attention until this time. But right now… let’s just say it’s a miracle you didn’t drop the cup of tea and leave it at that.
You finally found the self control to step back and pull the door ajar in complete silence. Oh God… you thought, still blushing thirty different shades of red. You wondered if he had seen you, but a part of you told you he hadn’t. After a moment of not knowing what to do, you took a deep breath, pushing down the color on your cheeks, and opened the door once more.
Jack was back on the bed, fooling around with your phone without much interest.
“Here you go, an inhumanly cold cup of Mint tea.” You joked, handing over the mug to Jack, who flashed you a lopsided smile before taking a sip.
“Thanks.” He said into the cup. You noted his voice still sounded strained, but at least it was back to its normal tone.
“No problem, you feeling any better?” You pressed your hand on his forehead and his neck, trying very hard not to blush as an image flashed through your head. Not the time to act all teenage crush, [f/n] you scolded yourself. Jack followed your hand with his eyes curiously and took another sip of his tea.
“Kind of. The headache went away.” He said vaguely. You frowned.
Blue and [e/y] met briefly before his eyes landed on the blue mug in his hands like it was the most interesting thing in the world. “It’s nothing.”
You eyed him up and down, not sure if you should push the matter or not. “You sure? You can tell me.”
“Really, I’m fine.” He reassured. He sounded weak but genuine, so you dropped it for now. If he felt too bad, he’d tell you; of that much you were sure.
“Okay.” You glanced at the clock in your wall, a little surprised of how late it was, “I’m gonna go change while you finish that.” Then you pointed at him with a fake, stern look. “And then it’s straight to bed, young man.”
“Yes mom.” He teased, hiding his smiled behind his mug. You scrunched up your nose playfully and jumped from the bed, choosing a decent pair of pj’s and the melted bag of ice and heading down the hall to the bathroom. You knocked twice before entering, the scene from your room still playing in your head.
You brushed your teeth, got rid of the cold water that were once ice cubes, and changed into the black t-shirt (which was at least two sizes too big) and [f/c] cotton pants you used to sleep in whenever someone stayed over. You put on a fluffy pair of socks, just in case the Winter Spirit got back to his regular temperature some time during the night, and headed back to your own bedroom.
“You done?” You asked Jack as you took the empty mug from him and put it in your desk.
“Yeah. Thanks, [f/n].” He sounded strangely shy, but you brushed it off as part of his sickness.
“No, I, um…” He stumbled over his words, and you tilted your head to one side. “For everything, for… Yeah.” He coughed a few times, rubbing his throat afterwards.
You smiled sweetly at him. That little sentence made all the stress from the day suddenly very worthy.
“My answer still stands,” you said, looking him straight in the eye “It’s nothing, Jack.”
He smiled to himself as he watched you move about in your room, closing the blinds and turning different lights on and off. Finally you plopped down on your side of the bed, taking a random book from you nightstand and covering your legs with the covers. Jack lied down next to you, arm tucked under his pillow as he observed you like a blue-eyed owl.
You had originally planned to sleep somewhere else, since it was less likely that your aunt would find Jack (or as she would see it, and invisible person under the covers) in your room rather than Jamie’s, but Jack looked immediately upset at the suggestion. Didn’t take you long to realize that even if he didn’t need anyone watching over him during the night, Jack simply didn’t want to be alone. So you made an excuse, much to Jack’s silent relief and Jamie’s suspicions.
You turned the pages lazily, not really taking in what you were reading. After a few minutes you looked down at him and frowned. With the light hitting him as it was you could now see the faint bags under his eyes.
“Come on,” you said, putting your book aside and turning off the last light in your room. “You need to sleep.”
Silence made its way into the room, neither of you saying a word since there wasn’t much to say. Well, Jack was simply too tired to make conversation, but still.
You sat up against the wall, a pillow behind your back and your knees brushing Jack’s head. Thick minutes rolled by, and you started to feel like you couldn’t sit still for much longer. You wanted to sleep, but simply couldn’t bring yourself to lie down next to Jack. Why, you didn’t know.
You gave Jack a glance, noticing that his shoulders were tense and shaking with every breath he took; was he still awake? Even with how tired he felt? You reached out, but not knowing what to do or tell him, you simply settled in playing with a streak of his white hair.
Had it been anyone but you, your hand would have been slapped away, but he didn’t even twitch at your touch.
Absentmindedly you started humming a random song, trying to fill in on the silence; it was just that type of silence that seems to have its own sound, you know? The type you simply have to fill in somehow.
The humming and your hand running carefully through his hair finally lulled Jack into a peaceful sleep, and it didn’t take you long to follow him down the same path.