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The Color Lapis

Chapter Text

(His Retreating

Back)

 

Jackson Overland was six.

When his father’s back grew smaller and smaller from where he stood, ever nearing the open door.

Since when was it even flung open—and in such a manner too? Doors shouldn’t even be swung that far, especially their wooden one—always threatening to fall apart if the snowstorm outside grew any wilder. The deed must’ve somehow been done during the back and forth screams from the two adults in the room and the occasional object threw from one side to the opposite and his newborn sister crying so hard that she had set the bar for crying—

and his humble, innocent, precious world was caving in on itself at the edge of his bare feet.





~



Jackson Overland was only six years old when the man he calls father walked through the door, leaving his son nothing but a crying mother and newborn sister to look after.  

.

.

.

.

And memories of his retreating back to look back on.

Chapter Text

(Hurry Faster Along)

 

“Awe, come onn Jack!” Mary whined as her small head peeped over the open window.

Jackson looked up dismissively and pensively smiled at her from where he sat in the one-room house. Mary sighed as she turned her back to him and walked away, already too used to the familiar look of no. Jackson wouldn’t be surprised if she stopped trying altogether someday; he just hopes it’s not tomorrow, or soon, or ever. 

As he got back to sewing up the hole in his trousers, he could hear the excited laughter and fun laced in every enunciation and syllable of her words haunting the back of his mind. She was happy—why wouldn’t she be? Arendelle’s just experienced its first snow day of the year. Children all over the kingdom are undergoing one of the most fun days of the annual calendar today; children like her. So why did he feel like she wasn't as happy anymore—at least—not after his silent response?

No is a short, but painful answer.

And although Jack was only the young age of 11—only passed the threshold of the double-digit lifetime—he wasn’t out relishing in the blanket of snow and frost outside like the others. He didn't will himself to join his kid sister just over the walls.

More like… he couldn’t— and wouldn’t

As he watched the growing pack of children grow outside— one more girl and two more boys—he couldn’t help but wished time would hurry faster along (even if it was still just past noon).

Selfish? Yes, but since when was the world fair and just? And if it ever was, it at least wasn’t his damn world. 

Even 5 years later, his father's absence—lack of presence —still impacts his broken family of 3. His mother was a loving mother— doting and caring and trying her best. And as the oldest child of only two, he made it a priority—a duty—to help aid her in any way he possibly can.

 

So she wouldn’t leave them either.

Chapter Text

(Between Smiles)

 

For what felt like months—maybe even years— later, the sun finally decided to leave the sky, surrendering to the moon which can already be seen if one looked up to search for it. The sky was a mix of orange and pink and purple and blue. Jack couldn't help but think it served as the backdrop for Arendelle castle greatly.

He shivered a bit from the change of temperature as he stepped over the threshold of his door, breath emitting a cloud of warm air into his chilled surrounding. 

“Mary!” he yelled, tone laced with impatience and slight annoyance. For some odd reason, Jackson Overland was not feeling his best today; and he has an inkling suspicion as to why. (It just so happened to have something to do with the white under his feet, which are no longer bare but covered in a pair of shoes that seemed a tad too tight.)

“It’s time for dinner!” Jack called for her, a pitch louder than his earlier summon. “Mom’s waiting and the bread’s getting cold!”

A faint rustle can be heard beyond the group of trees to his right. He spun around.

“God Jack,” Mary sighed as she emerged from them. “Must you always be so loud?”

She was now practically running over to him and into his arms.

“Sorry, no can do,” Jack quipped as he took Mary’s small hand into his and led her into their house. “Like I said, the bread’s only gonna get colder.”

Mary sighed as she let him drag her back into their house. “Jack, the bread’s always cold. Sooner or later isn’t gonna make that big a difference,” she said between smiles.

Mary probably didn’t mean for her remark to be of any noteworthy importance, but for some odd reason, Jack couldn’t help but feel his stomach churn.

He chuckled at her comment and patted her hair and squeezed her little gloved hand tighter in his,

 

so he could better fight the urge to throw up.

Chapter Text

(Empty Promises)

 

“Jack?”

At his little sister’s summon, Jack turned his head to look at her. The sky was now a navy blue and the sun was no longer visible. In its place was the moon, visible—even if one didn’t mean to look for it— and in the company of thousands of stars and little white dots. 

Jack liked the night better than he did the day. At least at night, he wouldn’t have to worry about little issues and concerns and worries. At night, Jack could better live in his head and hope and wonder and dream. He likes to think that—in another life—he and his sister and his mother would be royalty: dukes, duchesses, and riches. Maybe in another life, his family would be a family of four and not three. 

It is at night that he can live in this fantasy he created for them—where every single wrong they’ve ever endured would be righted.

(But no matter how hard he willed, they’d always be just that:

dreams.)

“Jack?” His sister called again to make sure his attention was where it should be: here, this life, this moment. It was a much-needed reality check.

“You called, your highness?” Jack bowed to lighten the mood, hoping she’d forget that his mind was wandering off—again. It wasn’t the first time. And he promised it won’t be the last.

His action stifled a light giggle from her.

“Jack,” she said between giggles and laughter. “Did you even hear what I said?”

Jack’s eyebrows knitted together to show his visible confusion. “I’m sorry, I kind of wasn’t here in the moment. Do you mind repeating it, your highness?” 

Mary lightly elbowed him as her laughter died. “Stop calling me that.”

“Why not?” 

“Because I’m not really a princess,” Mary said amused. “Or royalty.”

Jack raised his eyebrow. “Oh yeah? What makes you so sure?”

Because. Jack,” Mary rolled her eyes. “If you were even half-listening, then you would know I met the princesses of Arendelle today.”

Jack’s eyes opened wide.

“Y-You what ?”

“Jack!” Mary looked at him, a clear sign of exasperation laced over her eyes. “I said, I met the princesses of Arendelle today! They came out to the lake—well—frozen rink behind our house earlier today!”

Jack whistled in amusement and wonder and what

“It was so much fun! They were so nice and cool.” Mary said as her head fell back down to her pillow and splayed her arms out on both her sides. “Oh! And get this!”

Jack looked at her, curious and in awe at her supposed meeting.

“They said they’re gonna be back tomorrow! The kids in town and I will also be there as well! You’ve got to come Jack, you’ve got to!”

To her suggestion, Jack’s expression turned from curious to sour.

“Mary,” Jack tried his utmost best to fake a smile. It wasn’t hard before, so why was it hard now? “You know I can’t.”

“You can’t even spare a minute?” Mary’s expression changed just as fast as his did. “Or maybe 10?” 

Disappointing his sister was the last thing Jackson Overland wanted to do—especially for the second time in under 24 hours. So he did what he did best.

He lied.

“I’ll,” he started hesitantly, halting his words in his throat as he skims for the right ones. The ones that give hope but make no promises. “I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.” And he leaned down to kiss his sister’s forehead, putting her to sleep. 

 

And his empty promise was sealed with a small smile.

Chapter Text

(Impossibly Slow)

 

The next dawning of winter came impossibly slow. Mary had already gone out—her hats, gloves, and scarves gone with her.

Were the princesses of Arendelle so great? So much that his 5-year-old sister raced out the door during the only time she could more or less spend with her 11-year-old brother?

Jackson Overland sighed and grumbled and ruffled his ruly brown hair at the unsettling thought. He supposed it’s time to get to work. 

 

-

 

It was noon. Almost? A little bit past? A tad too early? Jack couldn’t tell. He was no scholar. He just knew you can somehow tell time with the sun and shadows and he really doesn’t care too much to think about it anymore.

He lightly hummed a tune to himself as he worked. He was somewhere in the woods behind his house collecting more firewood for the inevitable winter. There was no chatter or laughter ringing in his ears so it was safe to presume he wasn’t near the rink with Mary and her friends—

“Anna!”

 

Or so he’d like to think.

Chapter Text

(An indiscernible feeling)

 

“Anna!” The voice called again.

Anna? As in Princess Anna? There’s got to be more Anna's in the kingdom than one, right? Right?

“Elsa!” the supposed person called back. “I’m over here!”

Okay… Jack wasn’t so sure there was more than one pair of Elsa and Anna though. Not in this kingdom at least—and he very much so doubted there being another one in the entirety of the world even.

He mentally facepalmed himself at the encounter(?) Soon to be encounter? What was the possibility? The probability? Apparently, a lot higher than he’d anticipated.

He should probably go another direction to search for the firewood.

Clutching the sticks and branches already in his hands harder, Jack intended to set foot in another direction—as he’d intended but—

“Jack?” an all too familiar voice. “Is that you?”

Mary raced over from behind a few trees. How had he missed her?

“What are you doing here?” she asked excitedly, then, “ Why are you here?” 

“Mary?” Anna called from a few steps behind, with Elsa (?) following closely behind— he wasn’t too sure because he could only get a clear view of the younger princess.

“Anna! This is my brother, Jack!” Mary took no time in introducing the strangers to each other.

Jack’s head turned dizzy, his mouth ran dry. This was so not happening, he wasn’t (isn’t) ready. And—and did his sister address Princess Anna as Anna? Princess Anna ? This is officially, inevitably, the end of the Overland family.

Anan stared. Mary elbowed him.

“I—I’m Jackson. Actually. Jackson Overland.” Jack stumbled and tripped on his words, something very very new to him. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Princess Anna.”

And then he bowed—or tried to. It could pass for one. And that was all that mattered.

“But he really only goes by Jack,” interrupted Mary, who was staring at him incredulously. She didn’t know her older, prank-loving, snide-remarks, brother could present himself in such a way. She didn’t know he had it in him.

“Hi Jack!” Anna waved and her smiles bloomed, evident of her pleasure at making a new acquaintance. “I’m Anna.”

Jack nodded and flashed a light, confused, smile. He knew who she was. 

A cough came from the person behind Anna.

“Ah, and this is my sister Elsa!” Anna said as she moved a bit to the side, intending to allow Jack to see her sister if not more clearly.

Elsa stepped forward and extended a reaching, slender hand. 

“Hi,” she smiled. “I’m Elsa. First princess of Arendelle.”

And at her introduction, Jack felt the heat rush to his cheeks,

 

an indiscernible feeling.

Chapter Text

(A lovely one)

 

The rest of his day (or most) was spent running and jumping and laughing. He spent the day surrounded by his sister, royalty, and all the familiar and new faces of youth in the kingdom.

Besides his quips, teases, and jokes, Jack had forgotten what it felt like to have fun. Jack could—should—really get used to the feeling more often; he was still a kid after all.

But he wouldn’t. He really really wouldn’t.

“Jack!” Mary called to him from his left, firewood in her hands. 

The sun was setting and their mother was waiting. 

“Did you have fun today?”

Jack laughed a little at that. Fun. 

“I suppose I did,” he grinned at her. “Thanks to you.” And then he patted her head with his hand free of firewood. 

“The princesses were so awesome, right?” 

Jack nodded. “They were.” Then he looked down. “But you’re wayyy more awesome.” 

Mary laughed and sighed simultaneously. “Sure Jack. Sure.”

Jack looked down at her, offended. “It’s true though!” 

“Yeah. To you.

Jack shrugged. “And that should be all that matters.”

Mary rolled her eyes but couldn’t fight the smile that began to curve. 

“You’ll come back tomorrow, right?” she asked innocently. “And the day after that?”

Jack’s stomach flipped at her question and he fought the urge to throw up. His (fake) smile washed it down though. 

“I might,” he started. “No promises though.”

Mary smiled at him. It wasn’t a no.

Jack smiled back, but the smile never quite reached his eyes. Going out to collect firewood today was a mistake.

 

A lovely one, but one anyway.

Chapter Text

(And Elsa was…)

 

The next few days were spent helping his mother around; he collected more firewood, went shopping in the town square to stock up before the next presumable snowstorm, and a lot of other stuff in between. And whatever they were, he couldn’t remember. But the important part was that he got them done. The specifics didn’t really matter that much. 

It didn’t come as a surprise to Jack that his sister spent the rest of the week leaving early in the morning and returning only at his call for supper. And after meeting the princesses of Arendelle himself, he supposed it couldn’t be helped.

They were intriguing after all.

Anna was—well—Anna. In the few hours he’d known her, he found that she was (and always would be) the life of the party. She was bubbly, talkative, funny (but not as funny as him), and the rest of the words he could not come up with at the moment. Being around her was never awkward. Being around her made him feel like he belonged, even if they were statuses apart.

And Elsa was…

Well, she was beautiful. But she was also kind and honest and considerate. 

And did he mention she was beautiful? 

But that’s really beside the point. Besides being quite the prettiest girl he’s ever had the pleasure of laying his eyes upon, she was mysterious. He noticed she kept her distance from the group and only really conversed with Anna. But she did make an effort to get to know everyone better. He guessed it’s just her nature, huh? 

He would really like to be able to have fun with them again sometime though. But that some time wasn’t today. Today, he was to be at the castle; they were giving out blankets and commodities for the up-and-coming winter season.

His mom insisted he should go.

 

So he did.

Chapter Text

(Someone of Important Status)

 

Jack reached his destination quite early on in the day but was met with a long line, ending just past the castle gates and on the bridge. 

He groaned to himself when—

“Jackson? Is that you?”

Jackson?

He turned to his left. Just a few steps away from him, in the middle of a group of people—her people—was Elsa. 

“You know no one calls me Jackson right?” he said between chuckles as she excused herself away from the crowd and made way towards him.

He rubbed his hands together awkwardly. “Unless—you’re my angry mother or someone of important status.”

She was practically an arm’s length away from him now. She looked at him, unamused, arms crossed, left eyebrow raised.

He gulped. “Well. Of course. Because you are someone of important status.”

God, he really wasn’t this bad at conversing with anyone. But then again, he’d never talked with someone like Elsa before—both physical trait and status wise.

“Okay… Jack,” she corrected herself. But her eye roll didn’t go unnoticed by him. “Are you here to collect the stuff?” 

Jack nodded. She smiled back at his response, pleased. A reaction Jack hadn’t expected.

“I can’t really help you cheat the line or even give them to you personally,” she started. “But do you mind if I wait in line with you?”

Jack’s mouth went dry and his brain stopped functioning at her question.

“But if not, then that’s perfectly fine too.” Her 10-year-old face turned sullen and clear blue eyes made contact with the ground.

“What?” Jack’s brown ones widened in surprise. “Y-You don’t even need my permission to, really! I was just taken by surprise, that’s all. Please do as you wish, your highness.”

She looked at him in the strangest way ever. “Jack, we’re friends. You really don’t have to call me by that title.”

Friends, she said.

 

Jack couldn’t help but smile at that.

Chapter Text

(Fun)

 

When did Elsa find the opportunity to ask to walk with him home? And when did he accept her offer? It must’ve been some time in line, he supposed.

The sun was setting and the skyline was etched an orange hue now.

Jack and Elsa were walking through the kingdom, towards the Overland abode—until he noticed something—or someone’s absence.

“So where’s Anna?”

“Ah, she’s out with the other children of the kingdom.”

“Shouldn’t you be with her today?”

She shook her head. “My father says today would be a great opportunity to get to know my people better. That today would be a good experience for me.”

“So how was it? Was he right?”

Elsa nodded. “Yes, I did learn quite a lot today.”

Jack smiled but rolled his eyes. “You’re still young though. Just make sure to have fun sometimes too.”

Elsa looked up to him from his side. “Do you not hear yourself, Jackson?”

Jack gave her a look.

“Well your highness, I do have fun,” he quipped. By now Jack was a few steps ahead of her but turned towards her so he was walking backward, blankets and satchels in his hand and over his shoulders. 

“Just in different ways,” he grinned and pivoted on his feet so his back was facing her and took off. “Hurry up and catch up to me!”

He turned around just in time to catch Elsa roll her sleeves and lift her dress up just slightly, heeding his challenge.

 

He didn’t miss her widened blue eyes and,

growing grin.

Chapter Text

(Toying with him)

 

It was a few days since Jack had seen Elsa. After the eventful week, his days have been returning to normal, shifting back into the places they once were at before that week; going back to how they were supposed to be.

The snow outside remained plenty and calm, bringing about more perfect snow days for fun. In fact—it served Mary more than a few good reasons on trying to get her brother outside, if only just once more. 

“Jack! Would it kill you to come outside again?” And although her patience wasn’t as it used to be, her intentions were still right.

It was still early in the morning and Mary was at the threshold, putting on her boots; she was no doubt getting ready for another day of fun and laughter and joy with the other children. 

Jack looked at her from their dinner table. The single candlelit was radiating off his face as his hands work to get a thread through the ever-small hole of a sewing needle. 

He stopped midway and looked to the door, “Nah, I’m good.”

Mary rolled her eyes, an action Jack wasn’t pleased with. Had she always had this much sass? Where— who —did she learn them from? It wasn’t from him, right? No, it was definitely not from him. “You’re always good, Jackson. ” 

So they were from her.

“You know missy,” Jack stared. “I’m not too pleased with your tone.”

“I’ll stop if you decide to come outside. Come on Jack, please?”

Jack hadn’t felt the need to respond.

“Fine. Fine,” Mary threw her hands up in the air, a clear sign of exasperation. “It wasn’t like Princess Elsa was asking about you.”

Jack looked up.

“Nope, totally not that,” Mary continued her verbal assault of annoyance.

What in the world? Elsa was asking about him?

Elsa? First Princess of Arendelle Elsa?

The world was toying with him. 

Jackson felt the heat rush to his cheeks.

“Well, I’ll see you—”

“Wait!” He was now standing up from his chair.

“T-Tell Elsa I’ll be there tomorrow.”

Mary blinked, then smiled, then saluted. “Will do!”

 

Maybe his days weren’t quite so normal after all.

Chapter Text

(Straight to the Guillotine)

 

It well into the early morning of the next day. Very early. And Jack couldn’t sleep. How could he? When he knew the First Princess of Arendelle requested to see him—well—it wasn’t really a request per se, but it was close enough to one right? She asked about him, which meant she wanted to see him. And Jack was thinking too much into this, huh?

But regardless of the specifics and whatnot, Jackson Overland didn’t sleep a wink.

The sun’s just barely rising but he was already out of bed and getting ready for the day. He tried to put on his coat and boots as quietly as he could so he wouldn’t wake up his mother or sister; something he succeeded in.

And with just a glance and smile back at his sister, he was out the door.

Maybe a walk would help ease the nerves and such.

The sky was waking but the rest of the kingdom was still in deep slumber, dreaming of all the niceties and lovelies of the world—and the most Jack could do was hope none of them were having any nightmares. 

His home was well at the perimeter of the town so there weren’t many others nearby. As far as he could tell, they were pretty much surrounded by forest and trees for a good-ish radius. 

Which makes it perfect for a morning’s walk.

Jack sighed contentedly to himself as he took in his surrounding. The air was crisp and the animals were waking. 

Unaware to himself, he was nearing the frozen pond behind their house now.

“Elsa!” a voice rang out. “Over here!”

Jack was still a few trees behind but through the gaps and openings, he could see Anna waving her two hands back and forth, beckoning for—he presumed it was for Elsa.

Anna was now jumping up and down, drowning in her own laughter and giggles.

He could hear Elsa’s joining in as well. 

“Do the thing, Elsa! The thing!”

Elsa was now in his line of sight as well, but for some reason, he couldn’t will himself to reveal himself. 

Just a while longer and you’ll show yourself.  

But really—this was technically spying, right? And on the royal princesses no less? If he got caught, it’s straight to the guillotine. 

He should really show himself now. Maybe walk out and pretend he just—

But before his body could follow his mind, he stopped dead in his tracks.

Because—just in the clearing—Elsa was shooting—no, summoning (?)— magic—ice magic(?)— from her palms. Well, whatever it really is, Jack didn’t really know, and he really doubts he has the brainpower to conclude. 

 

And then Anna gasped when she saw him.

Chapter Text

(A Little Bitter)

 

“Jack?” Anna called out the obvious. He guessed the reaction was inevitable, she was in shock after all. 

He should’ve shown himself when he had the chance to.

Jack gulped and sighed and stepped out from behind the trees and into the clearing.

Almost as quickly, Elsa dropped her hands to her sides and stared at him. Her eyes were wide and big and oh so blue. If this was in any other circumstance, Jack’s mind would snap the moment into memory—not because he’s weird—but because he really liked the shade of her eyes. 

Okay, so maybe he was a bit weird.

“Jack…” Elsa started, her voice taking him back to reality. “Are you—Did you—Did you see that?”

Jack froze. “I… uh— no?” 

He didn’t mean for it to come off as questioningly and hesitant as it did.

“So you did?” Anna asked, jumping into the conversation.

“Oh god,” Elsa started, raising her hands to her head. “Anna, I told you this was a bad idea.”

“What? What’s so bad about Jack knowing? It’s not like it’s a secret anyway, right?”

Elsa looked at her sister, perplexed. “Well, it wasn’t never not a secret!”

Anna bit back, a clear trace of offense in her tone, “but it’s Jack! Don’t you like him the most of all the children? So it should be fine, right?”

Then Elsa turned her gaze to Jack. He could’ve sworn he saw pink on her cheeks.

“I—I should go.”

And in that early winter morning, Jackson Overland was witness to Elsa running away from him and Anna running after her. 

It took him a while to process what really happened but—

 

but when it did make sense, he was left feeling a little bitter. 

Chapter Text

(The Plan)

 

Jack found out from Mary that the princesses stopped showing up to the snow days. She also assumed the reason: that they were busy with castle affairs. But of course, he knew the truth—as if that made him feel better about it all.

“When do you think they’ll come back, Jack?” his sister asked him nonchalantly one day.

The best response he could give her was a shrug, then a smile, then, “Who knows.”

“That’s a shame,” she continued, “Elsa wanted to see you too.”

“She’ll be back when she’s no longer busy,” Jack tried to reassure her. But of course, he knew that that wasn’t the case anymore—Elsa no longer wanted to see him. 

“You’re right. But that doesn’t mean I miss them any less.”

 

~

 

It was on the 5th day after the incident that Jack decided that the princesses’ absence was worrisome. Truth was, he wanted to talk to Elsa and Anna. And he was so very sure the other children wanted to see them too. (He also didn’t want to have to feel guilty of being the reason the princesses stopped coming out of the castle either.) But really—it was mainly the first two reasons. 

Yes, he definitely needed to talk to them both. Especially Elsa. Because—what even? Ice powers? Ice. Powers?! He had just fully processed all of it. Why the hell was he so calm before?  E-Elsa's magical, right? She's got to be. 

Because if he did see what he saw, then Elsa has got to be the coolest person in the world.

~

 

On the 6th day, he set out early to finish all his chores; finishing up with the rest of the afternoon to spare.

He was now walking on the bridge, and towards the castle gates.

Today was the day the castle was open for visitors—mainly for the people to spill their problems and inquiries onto the King—but Jack figured he can slip past a few guards or two. Then, he would find the princesses and talk to them. 

“Jack!"

 

At least—that was the plan.

Chapter Text

(The Only Reason)

 

The voice came from someone Jack hadn’t seen since he was about 5 years old; it belonged to Tiana— but she was really known as Tooth because of her weird obsession with teeth—especially his for some odd reason. But what child isn’t weird and quirky? 

Jack turned to where the sound was coming from. 

“Jack!” Tooth wave as she stepped further onto the bridge and closer to him. “Goodness, how long has it been?”

Jack tried his best to avoid her purple eyes; as vibrant and curious as he’d remembered them to be.

He tried his best to utter a good enough response, “I’ve been, uh.”

He fake coughed to close the gap between words. “Busy.”

“Busy,” she echoed as she brought her arms up and folded them at her chest. “Right.”

Jack found that he could do nothing but shrug at her skepticism. What was he supposed to say? She was right—to be skeptical of course. Sure he was busy, but that wasn’t the only reason. But it wasn’t like he can admit to them: for they aren’t enough. Put closer to the bigger picture, they were mere excuses. Truthfully, he had no valid reason for his disconnection from his friends back then.

Even after the 5 long years you had to come up with them, you still couldn’t. God, shut up.

“Jack?” Tooth muttered his name this time, a slight lace of worry in her tone. Tiana; as smart and as quick-to-read-the-mood as ever.

Jack said nothing and quickened his pace so he could reach the castle gates sooner. He didn’t remember the distance ever being so far before; so why was it now? He can only wonder.

Tooth quickened her pace to catch up to him. 

“Jack,” she grabbed his hand. “W-When are you going to come back?”

He finally slowed his pace; to process and respond.

“I-I’m not sure I ever will.”

Tooth’s eyes widened. Her once purple eyes, now glazed over with a clear form of liquid. Jack internally cringed at that.

“They all miss you!” she started. “Sandy and Aster and Jamie. Even Uncle North does! A-After you stopped playing with us—the group—the group became more distant.”

He felt a lump forming in his throat but said nothing. He was vaguely aware of this.

She pursued, voice now stronger and braver. “Why can’t everything go back to how they were?”

“Tooth—”

“I miss how close we all were! Nowadays, no one barely talks to each other at all! It’s just greetings here and there and—and just the niceties and formalities! It shouldn’t be that way between friends!

Tears were now streaming down her face. It was her and Jack in the middle of the bridge, connecting the palace and the town square. They were getting looks. They were looking at Tooth, thinking it was a breakup or confession gone wrong. 

So to avoid any more misunderstandings, he swallowed the lump in his throat and said something, “Tooth… we’re growing up. Things can’t always stay the same forever.”

“But we’re all strangers to each other now Jack!”

She stopped, then hesitated,

“We missed you, Jack. I miss you, Jack."

A pause.

"But did—do you even care at all?”

The lump he worked so hard to swallow came back.

 

And then he caught sight of a familiar figure just past the castle gates.

Chapter Text

(Talk About)

 

In the distance, Jack could see her.

Elsa: ever so lovely at such a young age.

And it seemed like she saw him too. Jack quickened his pace to reach her in fear she would run away again.

Tooth’s voice was now half-drowned out. “Jack?”

Half elated and half nervous, Jack turned his attention to her to quickly dismiss her. “Tell you what, Tooth. I’ll see what I can do. I’ll meet you guys again when I find the time.”

Tooth’s face scrunched in confusion at his sudden change of attitude. “You’re not kidding?”

Jack shook his head as his pace quickened ever so slightly. Tiana’s efforts to match his pace weren’t left unnoticed. And he also didn’t miss the way her eyes rounded in surprise and dare he say, happiness.

“Great! I-I’ll look forward to it!”

Jack’s lipped curved upward to show his acknowledgment. 

“So Jack,” Tooth sought to continue. “What are you doing so close to the castle? Are you perhaps here to tell the King something?”

Jack shook his head again. “Nope. I’m here to see someone.”

Tooth raised her eyebrow and amusement and curiosity. “Since when were you acquainted with a palace staff?”

“No, not a palace staff.”

They were well beyond the castle gates now and were in the courtyard. There were various kinds of people: knights, villagers, merchants, and nobles talking and laughing and wondering. Jack guessed the best part of Arendelle was that it was peaceful—at least—from what he could tell. And he couldn’t help but secretly hope it will continue to be well under Elsa’s rule.

“Oh? Then—”

“Elsa!” Jack raised his hand and waved as best and noticeable as he could.

The stares that followed him were inevitable. 

Elsa turned to the call of her name.

Her eyes widened, “J-Jack? Is that you?”

“The one and only Jackson Overland at your service.” Jack bowed as he was well an arm’s length away from her.

Tooth was still by his side. She looked from the First Princess to Jack then back to the First Princess; her eyes were as wide as plates.

“What?! This is who you were strolling in to see?!”

Elsa turned her attention to the girl besides Jack, then back to him. She was clearly awaiting an introduction.

“Ah—” Jack was quick to catch on. “E-Elsa, this is my childhood friend, Tiana. Tooth, this is Elsa.”

Elsa coughed.

“Oops, I mean—Princess Elsa of Arendelle.”

Elsa bowed her head as if to acknowledge Tiana; Tooth awkwardly did the same.

“So Jack, why are you here?”

He looked to Tooth then back to Elsa. “I—.” His mouth ran dry.

“I need to talk to you about something.”

Elsa’s face hardened and Jack’s face turned red from nervousness. The change in atmosphere didn’t go unnoticed by Tooth.

“I’ll be leaving now,” she excused herself. “It was nice meeting you, Your Highness.”

She bowed to Elsa and then grazed Jack’s arm. “It was nice seeing you too Jack.”

When Tooth was no longer in earshot—or anyone for that matter— Elsa started, just shy of a whisper,

 

“I think there is something we must talk about, Jackson.”

Chapter Text

(Golden Hour)

 

Jack let Elsa lead the way. She led Jack through the castle doors, into the great hall, up the left side of one of two grand staircases, and through the very well decorated halls.

And then they were in her bed chambers—or so Jack thinks.

Elsa quietly closed the door and then made her way over to the other side. She sat on top of her windowsill, patting the spot beside her.

He pretended he didn’t see her wordless motion and sat down on the floor in front of her instead. He didn’t feel like he belonged next to her, much less on the same level. 

And so they sat like that. Jack at Elsa's feet and her looking down. The afternoon sun was starting to glow a yellow-ish hue. 

“So,” Jack started, trying his best to ease the tension and break the silent atmosphere. He would very much like to get all his concerns off his chest—preferably before the day ends.

“I have ice powers. I don’t know how— no one knows how. I just do.”

Okay. This was going well so far.

“Is—Was it supposed to be a secret? You and Anna were pretty…” Jack tried his best at recalling the memory. “Freaked out.”

Elsa’s lips thinned and she shrugged. “If it ever was, then it’s not anymore.”

Jack’s eyes widened in fear—or shock—he couldn’t tell. He gulped. “Was it some sort of royal family secret? Am I going to get executed now?”

Elsa looked at him quizzically, almost amusingly. “What? No! No one ever said it was a secret secret. But no one ever mentions it to anyone either.”

Jack looked at her confused. His mind was having trouble processing what she had just told him. So a secret but not a secret? What even.

All he could do was nod and hope the princess doesn’t change her attitude towards the secrecy of her special powers. “I see.”

Another wave of silence ensued.

Elsa hopped off the window sill and took a seat beside him, noticeably close.

“But now since you know…” she started.

“But now since I know…” Jack echoed, hoping she would finish her trailing thoughts.

“It would be best to not tell anyone else.”

“Oh.”

Oh. Jack was now given a secret to keep. He was trusted with a secret to keep. And it involves the royal family no less. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. He should probably find a way to erase the event from his memory. 

Elsa was now looking at the ground, seemingly committing the patterns on her carpet to memory. “A—Are you afraid of me?”

No response.

“B—Because I promise it’s not dangerous. I’ve never hurt any—”

It was now Jack’s turn to look at the carpet—or Elsa staring at the carpet. Both his palms have somehow found their way strapped around Elsa’s shoulders. Even through her sleeves, he could feel the slight chill seeping from her skin. 

“What? Why would you think I’m afraid of you Elsa?”

Elsa’s cheeks were tinted pink; she was aware of the position they were in before Jack could even process what she was saying next.

“Because you were quiet after—after I told you…” then she paused. “I promise I’m not dangerous, Jack.”

It pained little Jack to see Elsa in the state she was in right now. He didn’t know what to say, or how to deal with it. He was never faced with such a situation before. 

“Elsa, I know. ” He was at a loss for what to tell her after. So he said what was on his mind since that morning, “I think you’re cool.”

Elsa blinked. Then blushed. Then, never more aware of their position, she shoved his face away from hers and wriggled out of his grasp.

Their cheeks were painted pink.

 

It must’ve been from golden hour.

Chapter Text

(Your Highness)

 

Only after Elsa sent Jack back home, it had occurred to him that he left out a very important matter: he had planned on asking her and Anna when they’re planning to go outside again. 

Under the stars and well into the night, Jackson Overland halted in his trekk home, looked up to the unexpected sky, and let out the loudest, most exaggerated, tired groan in the history of groans.

He mentally cursed to himself and proceeded to kick a rock just a few inches from him. So much for getting everything off his chest.

How could he forget? 

Mary was so going to be disappointed.

 

~~~

 

But tomorrow came and all was well, for it turned out Elsa and Anna did show up. Jack had known because he took a rare day off that very same day—even though it was more or less to indirectly make up for his forgetfulness, but Mary didn’t need to really know that either.

It would be a lie to say Jack didn’t feel left out though. Though it was inevitable, given his absence from most of the days—some of them didn’t even know his name.

So for the next 15 or so minutes, after the princesses showed up, Jack sat at the perimeter of the rink and watched the children play.

“Hello, Jack.”

He turned to the direction of the voice. It was Elsa, as graceful and elegant as ever. It was as if her indignantly shoving his face away yesterday didn’t happen at all. 

He smiled. “Hi Elsa.”

“You don’t feel like playing with them?” she inquired. She was awfully perceptive—and at such a young age too.

“You can be asked the same thing, Your Highness.”

He could hear Elsa huff in annoyance at his remark. He was expecting her to leave after that, to reunite with the other kids, but—

But she extended her hand out to him instead.

“If all you’re gonna here is sit, how about I take you somewhere instead?”

He couldn’t think up a witty enough response; all he could do was stare at her open hand. Does he, a fatherless shepherd boy, have the right to take it? 

He smiled politely. “I’m fine, Your Highness.”

Elsa looked like she had had enough. “Jack! I told you to stop calling me that.” She then bent down and forced her fingers around his.

Jack stared at their intertwined hands in shock. Was this proper of a queen-to-be? No. No, it wasn’t. Did Jack mind? No, no he didn’t.

“I—”

“Jack, whether you want to or not, you are going to escort me there.”

“If you wish so, Elsa,” he’d somehow, he’d found his wit again. “I just hope you know where you’re going.” 

 

Elsa looked back at him and huffed out another cloud into the chilly air.

Chapter Text

(5 Things)

 

In the past 2 weeks, Jack learned 5 things:

  1. Sometimes he should, in fact, make time for fun—at least set aside some. God how he’s missed the feeling.
  2. His old childhood friend group (back when he was 5) had disbanded—and he didn’t quite know what to the hell to do. He’ll decide on the specifics later, maybe.
  3. Mary was getting closer to Anna. He noticed they were practically inseparable the day he did go to the ice rink. But he guessed it made sense—sort of—their personalities were somewhat similar. It’d be weirder if they didn’t get along, actually.
  4. Elsa had ice powers. How or where they came from, no one knew, but. She. Had. Ice. Powers. And oh god was that cool. So much so that he couldn't help but envy her sometimes. 
  5. Wherever the First Princess of Arendelle offered to take you somewhere, take the offer, follow her, and write down the place. Because heck, if he knew there was ever a place like that in Arendelle, then he would’ve frequented for years on end. 

He’ll definitely come back; and hopefully, with Elsa.

Chapter Text

(Take the Lead)

 

Jack and Elsa had been walking for quite a while—to where Jack does not know. But he trusts Elsa enough to let her take the lead. He trusted her enough to take her extended hand (sort of). Where this trust came from, he did not know. He guessed it had something to do with him knowing her secret—and he guessed taking her hand was the first step of many in getting them to become even again. 

He was never really the type of guy to owe someone—physical-wise or not. He especially felt bad that he knew her (arguably) most important secret, while she barely knew any of his, much less him.

A lot of things bothered Jack, actually. But he was in the process of making it right. 

Except his trust only ran so far. 

After a good ten minutes of clueless following and silence, Jack spoke up, “W-Where are we going?”

He swore he heard a form of scoff from Elsa. But when she turned back, all traces of annoyance were professionally wiped away. “Do you trust me, Jack?”

The response he was expecting was ‘almost there’ or ‘just a few more minutes', but he was a bit taken aback by her question. The question rang right through his soul. Darn Elsa and her royal upbringing and wisdom.

Young Jack ended up saying what he thought, “You know, Elsa. A time estimate or place would’ve been a great answer.”

His hand was still in hers and she was still walking in front of him and she was still looking forward—but he swore he could imagine her rolling her eyes.

“Yeah?” she agreed questioningly. “What ever is the matter with my answer, Jackson?”

And though she couldn’t see it, he shrugged. “It was just a weird question to ask considering the context.”

“Really? I think you’re thinking too deep into this,” she actually turned around this time. And stopped in her tracks. “Now, answer the question. Do you trust me?”

“Yes. I-I do trust you.” 

 

And even though Elsa claimed the question didn’t mean to be that deep, Jack couldn’t help but pour his heart into his answer.

Chapter Text

(What to Say)

 

After what felt like an eternity of a walk, the pair were finally where they were supposed to be. (But really, it only felt as long because most of their trip was spent in awkward silence with the occasional rustling of leaves.)

Jack made a mental note to further work on his socialization skills so he can avoid awkwardness like this in the future.

“We’re here,” Elsa had finally said after she let go of his hand. Jack couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed at that.

It turns out, Elsa had taken him up a small hill as they were now overlooking Arendelle in all of its infinitesimal glory. From where they stood, Jack could only see little dots—almost like ants—frequenting too and from over what he presumed was the bridge connecting the castle to the rest of its kingdom. The sight of the many-colored roofs under the 12 o’clock sun made Arendelle look all the nicer—at least from what you can see if you were at ground level.

On top of the hill, he was also a tad bit closer to the sky. He noticed how the white clouds above him were concaving ever so slightly—making the fact of ‘the Earth being round’ just a little more within his understanding. 

Jack didn’t really know what to say.

“So,” Elsa started the conversation for him. “What do you think?”

“I—,” he didn’t quite know what to really say to that. “Thank you. For showing me such a place.”

From his peripheral, he could see her smile curve upwards. “It’s the least I could do, especially since you agreed to keep my secret.”

Jack looked at her now, slightly offended. “Please don’t think you have to do anything to make up for me keeping the secret. It’s really not a burden at all, Your Majesty.”

Her face darkened. “Do you not like it?”

He scoffed a bit. “I can’t help but feel I owe you more than I already do—like I owe you a secret of my own.”

“Oh Jack. Then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.”

He couldn’t find the courage to say anything to that, because she was right. Hell, she was always right, but he was glad she said what she did. Because even though he offered, he wasn’t so sure he was willing to share one of his.

His deep thinking stopped as he felt the air around him drop a few degrees, dropping well into a chilly morning breeze. He looked up just in time to see a flurry of snowflakes dance around him. 

 

Then he turned to Elsa and found she was smiling, if only just a little.

Chapter Text

(Princess)

 

Jack decided to visit his old friends again the very next day—the only reason being for memory’s sake of course.

Towards the end of yesterday, he had found Tooth and arranged to meet her right as noon came around today. For what, he didn’t know, but she had insisted on doing so—and Tooth was someone you can put all your trust into. So he did.

Elsa knew of his plans (because she was right next to him when it was made) and insisted on accompanying him right up until he had to see Tooth. He accepted—it was really only out of courtesy for royalty. Really.

Jack met Elsa at the fountain, the very center of the town. They then ventured around for a bit, going here and there, back and forth. Jack noticed the people of Arendelle weren’t really surprised Princess Elsa was in town—it was probably natural for her he guessed. But that didn’t stop them from keeping their judging looks off of him though. 

Who could this shepherd’s boy be? He could almost hear their thoughts.

Elsa, however, seemed to pay no mind to the stares they were getting. As expected of royalty. Jack sighed for the billionth time since he met her; maybe it wasn’t a very wise idea to become acquainted with someone of Elsa’s status.

Just when would his life return to what it once was, he wondered. The life he once knew felt so long ago (even though it was—like—2 weeks ago.) But who was keeping track?

The sun was nearly right above them now and the pair was sitting on the flat mouth of the central fountain and Elsa was hinting at her inevitable departure. 

“Well Jack,” she got up to leave but not before turning to him, traces of a lingering smile on her face. “I should be leaving now.”

Then she got down. her nose just a mere centimeter from his. “I hope you are able to make everything up with Tooth.”

Jack was nervous—embarrassed even—but he didn’t dare to retract even an inch away from her. “Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Princess.”

After yesterday, Jack had found a new nickname for her. Considering Elsa was royalty, despite being his friend or not, it felt inappropriate to call her her name. But she didn’t like him calling her ‘Your Highness’ either. So they met each other in the middle. And the result was ‘Princess’. 

 

Simple, but elegant; a nickname perfect for Elsa. 

Chapter Text

(Selfless)

 

Tooth was a simple girl; but if there was one extraordinary thing about her, it would be her ability to make you feel at ease—that—and her excessive love for teeth. Especially his.

“Jack!” Even when he was well a few feet away from the table she was sitting at, he could very much hear her loud and call, enthusiasm and all. 

Her slightly optimistic yell turned heads and piqued curiosity.“Isn’t that the boy who was with Her Highness earlier today?” He could hear them whisper and assume and judge. It would probably be best to ignore them, and maybe even tell some of the younger ones off if they get too annoying. He just hoped Tooth wouldn’t hear them either. And even if she did, she would be the last one to let anyone know.

Because that’s just the kind of person Tooth was: selfless to the point of unbearable.

“Hey Tooth,” he lifted a hand to her and greeted her with a smile—teeth showing and all.

“Your teeth are as white as ever Jack,” she joked (or so he presumed she did—he hoped she did).

He was at a loss for words— how the hell was he supposed to respond to that? “It seems you haven’t changed one bit.”

Tooth huffed in exaggerated annoyance. “It seems you’ve changed too much, Jack.”

His mood was starting to get sour. He shrugged, “It has been a long time after all.” Then, as if to rub the newly sprinkled salt on Tiana’s freshly opened wound, “A lot of things happened. You guys just weren’t there for it.”

This time, the expression on her face wasn’t quite as exaggerated; she looked like she was frantically looking for a reason not to lose her mind at him. “And that’s something I hope to change.”

Whatever this was between them, he wasn’t backing down. “Has it ever occurred to you that maybe some things are better left as is?”

“And let them just be what they are? Memories?” Tooth had a knack for having the last words in arguments. Was this even considered an argument? Well if it wasn’t before, it was becoming one now—the both of them were going to get kicked out for raising their voices sooner or later.

“You said you’d help me.” She was no longer trying to outdo him. In fact, it almost sounded like an accusation, like she was surrendering. This was uncharted territory for Jack—he didn’t know how to deal with this.

“I said I’d try,” he corrected her. Because really, no promises were made.

“Then do so,” Tooth started. “Help me gather them. I-I want to be friends with everyone again. I want things to go back to how they were between us.”

And for once since he’d reunited with her, Jack thought Tooth sounded like a kid her age, blooming with optimism and unpolluted desires. It reassured him a little. 

 

“So where do we start?”

Chapter Text

(Hard Pill To Swallow)

 

Tooth’s plan was straightforward—so straightforward to the point of simple. The proposed plan was to locate and visit their (former) friends one by one, talk to them individually—then—talk to them together. 

And then, be good friends again.

It wasn’t foolproof, but it was easy enough for anyone to achieve. 

It was around 3 in the afternoon when Tooth and Jack were done with their discussion, finalizing the plan and all. 

Tooth got up from her chair and stretched her arms—as if a burden was removed from her back. But the truth wasn’t so far from it anyway. 

Jack was somehow still glued to his seat, even with the whole ordeal over and all.

“So Jack,” Tooth looked back down at him. “The sun’s still up. Are you free for the rest of today?”

“Yes,” he replied, almost too fast.

Tooth’s purple eyes lit up. “Would you like to walk around?”

He should’ve just lied and said he was. “I don’t know.”

He really shouldn’t be feeling this bitter about Tiana of all people, but—but their almost-argument earlier still haunted his mind. Even though everything she said was true, he was still nonetheless hurt by it. The truth was a really hard pill to swallow.

“You don’t know?”

Jack was surprised at how Tooth hadn’t caught on with his mood yet—or maybe she did but was playing clueless. Either way, he was starting to lose more of his patience. And soon, he feared he wouldn’t have any left at all.

“I think I remember my mother telling me I had to do something this morning,” he rubbed the back of his neck with his right palm. 

Tooth’s face stiffened but it soon returned to normal. “Alright then.” She flashed him a light smile. It hurt him to look at it. “I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

He nodded and sighed a light, “Yeah.”

Then, Jack pivoted on his heel and turned in the direction of home. 

 

He was really hoping tomorrow would never come.

Chapter Text

(Friends Again)

 

To Jack’s great dismay, tomorrow did come. 

But it went by just as fast… 

To his surprise, Tooth’s plan worked extremely well; they were able to execute it almost perfectly. It was probably as easy as it was because everyone was so cooperative and willing—no one was like him.  

Maybe it was like Tiana said. Maybe he changed too much. After all, everyone else was more or less the same.

Aside from looking 5 years older, all his friends remained the same. Sandy never talked. And if he did, it would be one or two words—mostly said to show his agreement or disagreement to something. Aster was as annoying as he was the last day Jack saw him. Jack noticed he still had his boomerang clipped onto the side of his pants. Even after all these years. Jamie was as sweet and kind and sympathetic as he was before, so why did Jack feel annoyed at his concerned gazes? And North was—well—still North: as jolly and happy as ever.

And even though they were all living their separate lives, they nonetheless agreed to be friends again. Tooth had made sure so; she made each one of them promise. But it wasn’t like they ever stopped being anything but—they all just stopped talking to each other after some time. 

Did that mean they were not friends anymore? Just because of their distance from each other? Jack scoffed to himself from where he stood: a little bit away from the now reunited group.

Apparently, he scoffed a little too loud. “What’s wrong mate?” Aster inquired from where he stood with his arms crossed beside Tooth. 

“You’re hearing things, Bunny,” the excuse came as naturally as his nickname for Aster.

“I haven’t heard that one in a long time,” Bunny reminisced. 

Jack was glad the topic of his wellbeing was dropped. 

“I’m glad I reminded you of something,” Jack smirked, then dipped his head as if to bow. 

“So Jack,” North’s booming voice called to him, voice as loud as ever. “I hear from Tooth that you personally know the First Princess of Arendelle?”

All eyes were on him, curious and waiting for further explanation. For a split second, Jack turned to Tooth. He thought he saw her mouth a silent apology: Sorry.  

“We’re not really friends per se,” he paused to look for the words: telling, but not laying himself bare. “She and Anna just happened to frequent the rink behind my house a few times or so.”

Bunny smirked. “Look at you. You’re on a first-name basis with the Second Princess?” Then, he raised his eyebrows as if to motion there was something more than Jack was letting on. 

“She’s great friends with Mary.” And if there ever was something more like Bunny thought, Jack wouldn’t tell.

Just as Jack thought Bunny had something more to assume, Tooth jumped in. “Do you guys want to join the others at the rink behind Jack’s house?”

She could have intervened sooner. Jack thought.

To Tooth’s inquiry, Sandy nodded, face lighting up at the idea.

North only chuckled. “You kids go ahead. I have some more work to do at the toy store. It’s almost Christmas after all.”

Tooth nodded then offered, “Just let us know if you ever need some help. We know it gets busy at this time of year.”

The rest of them nodded. Helping North was always a fun pastime—they even got cookies after!

“You guys can go,” Jack sighed. “I have some chores to do.”

The rest looked at him disappointedly. “But Jack—” Tooth stepped forward and closer to him.

He smiled. “I’m fine. You guys have fun though. I’ll be there another time.” Then, as if to lighten the mood he dampened. “It’s not like the snow’s going to melt overnight.”

Tooth and the others looked at each other. Jack thought they almost looked worried. But after 5 long years, what do they know? It’s not like they know him better than anyone else or anything. Not anymore. 

“Are you sure?” This time, it was Jamie's turn to talk. “We can help you with your chores and then go.”

Jack only shook his head at his friend’s offer. “I’m fine, really.” And he should be. Tooth’s plan had worked. His old friend group, people with who he spent every day of his younger childhood, were no longer strangers to each other. Hell, they had hit it off at their reunion! Then how come he still felt left out?

Jackson Overland was not feeling okay these past few days. Seriously, what has gotten into him? Was it because he has trouble adjusting to all this unprecedented change? He doubts it, but if it was, he better start adapting soon; the world was waiting on no one. Maybe he'll feel better tomorrow. Maybe he'll learn to be okay with that Tooth said the other day—or yesterday—he couldn't remember. 

He wondered, would the royal guards stop him if he went to the palace asking to see Elsa?

Chapter Text

(Always Follow)

 

Update: They did, in fact, stop him. But only because they were doing their job.

“Hold up little man,” one of the guards at the entrance to the castle held out his hand to block Jack from going any further. “What business do you have here?”

“Are you lost?” the guard on the other side chimed in. “If so, I can call over a maid and we can help you find your guardian.”

Jack shook his head lightly and stood his ground; not a single word was spoken.

“Kid? Are you alright?”

Then suddenly— “I’m here to see Elsa.”

The guards looked at each other; perplexed and even more confused.

“Elsa as in… Princess Elsa?”

Jack nodded.

“D-Do you have an appointment with  Her Highness?”

This time, Jack shook his head and bit the inside of his mouth. He really wasn’t expecting to see her today.

“N—No. No, I don’t.”

The left guard looked down at him, “Then I’m afraid we can’t permit you to enter.”

“But if only you could relay my message. Tell her that Jackson Overland’s here to see her.” Jack wasn’t going to surrender.

The left guard looked up to his counterpart hesitantly, then whispered (as if Jack couldn't hear), “Should we do what the kid says?”

Jack looked up at the two expectantly, but the right one only shook his head. “I’m afraid that isn’t in our right to do so.”

“But if you would only let her know I’m here.

“But—”

“Oh my!” The voice came from a passing maid. “Is that the boy Her Highness Elsa was with this morning?”

The trio looked up at her as she neared them. Jack had recognized her from this morning; she followed Elsa around for a bit before she ultimately left them to be.

Jack smiled then waved. “It’s good to see you again, Miss.”

“Are you here to see Elsa dear?”

 

And for once, Jack was glad to have seen the maid that always follows Elsa around.

Chapter Text

(I Don’t Know)

 

“Your Highness? Jackson Overland is here to see you,” the maid said as she delicately knocked on Elsa’s grand door. Even though this was well the second time Jack has seen it, he was still taken aback by the intricate designs laced from top to bottom. Lavender floral patterns didn’t seem to suit Elsa much though.

“Jack?” Elsa opened the door slightly and peeped her head out. She looked from her maid, then to the boy behind her.

Upon their eye contact, Jack lifted his left hand up and waved sheepishly. Elsa looked taken aback, even confused, but nonetheless nodded and said, “Come in.”

Jack liked that about her; the fact that she was willing to listen after the storm had settled, that she didn’t question anything (or most things) that he did. 

The maid left shortly after she made sure the two were willing to accept her incoming plate of apple slices. Jack had already started to settle down into his seat on the floor and Elsa on her ledge.

Once the door was shut, Elsa started, “So why are you here, Jack?”

He didn’t have the heart to answer her truthfully so he smirked instead, “I thought you would miss me. So I came to see you again.”

Elsa looked at him, one brow raised. “If that’s the reason, then don’t you think it’s the other way around? You did come to see me after all.”

She fidgeted around in her seat a little before deciding to sit in the space in front of him. Then she leaned in just a little, “Are you sure there’s no other reason…” then as if she wasn’t already reading into him. “ Jackson?

Jack held his breath, then sighed, then he leaned back and let gravity do the rest. His back was now on her intricately patterned carpet. And then he let out a muffled groan.

Elsa looked at him for a few seconds or so and then decided to take the spot beside him. Soon, they were both lying with their backs on her carpet, facing her ceiling. Jack took note of the patterns on her ceiling as well.

Must everything in the castle be this detailed? What was even the point? If anything, the nooks and crevices made dusting and cleaning all the more harder. Don’t they? Jack decided that he would never understand royalty—not like he wanted to anyways. Really.

“I take it that the reunion didn’t go as well as you hoped?” Elsa broke the silence for him.

“Mhm.”

“What happened then? Did something go wrong?”

He bit the wall of his mouth until it almost bled. When he felt the area with his tongue, he noted the mold of his teeth there. Gross. “Quite the contrary, really. Everything went as well as Tooth hoped it would go, even better actually.”

“Oh?” Elsa was now side-eyeing him, no doubt wondering—trying to read his mind. “Didn’t you hope for the same thing? You guys are friends again now, right? Isn’t that great?”

“It should be.”

“Then what’s wrong?”

“I—” he started, shy of a whisper. “I don’t know.”

And for a second, he thought Elsa would look at him weirdly. He’d never really liked ‘I don’t know’. It sure pissed the hell out of him every time it came from Mary. He never really liked how a response can be so uncertain and so full of possibilities—yet so simple. It really was a shitty response.

“I see.”

But to his surprise, Elsa didn’t question him further. Nor did she judge or look at him the way he thought she would.

They spent the next few minutes lying in silence, waiting for their apples, until,

“I learned something new with my magic.”

 

“Oh yeah? Show me.”

Chapter Text

(4 Things)

 

Jack had learned four (new) things the day he ‘reunited’ with his friends: 

1) Aside from his more than questionable attitude towards the reunion, his former friend group’s dynamic was more or less the same; nothing changed at all. 

2) He should trust Tooth more. Like—really—trust her more. Like—follow her lead and every word that comes out of her mouth, because holy hell did her plan work well to the dot. He was honestly kinda impressed by it, even if only just a little.

3) Elsa was actually pretty good at controlling and manipulating her powers—for her age at least. He was excited to see her growth from now on. Maybe, he could even help her in manifesting it even further.

4) Bunnymund was still an asshole, a royal pain in the buttocks.

Chapter Text

(Wary—Worried Even)

 

It had been two weeks since then;

Jack hoped he could see Elsa again. It wasn’t like they made plans on when their next meeting was—it’s just that—he hoped they would, but it slipped his mind. So he was stuck daydreaming about when their next fateful encounter would be. 

Okay— so maybe he did more than a daydream. It wouldn’t be farfetched to say that, even during his busy days, he came around the rink one or two times a day—for no other reason than to catch a glimpse of a familiar platinum blonde. 

But really, the rink just aligned with his pathing. 

But she was probably busy with her royal life and royal affairs, doing royal stuff and whatnot. 

“Jack?” He and Mary were in their kitchen preparing dinner while their mom went to the town square for groceries. 

“Hm?” he lightly hummed at her response, a verbal motion for her to go ahead of her with her inquiry.

“Have you…” she trailed off, as her eyes looked anywhere but at his.

“Have I…?” Jack echoed her question, urging her to continue.

“Have you perhaps heard from Anna or Elsa?”

Jack looked at her weirdly then, “No… No, I haven’t.”

He noticed Mary looked wary—worried even— but he dared not to think she really was. The idea scared him, honestly.

He gave her about a minute or so to continue but to his dismay, she didn’t speak any further.

So he did it for her, “Why? Did something happen?” Mary’s tone may or may not have been laced with worry, but his was starting to.

“N-No,” Mary quickly responded as she revisited the halfway cut carrot on the chopping table in front of her. “It’s just—They haven’t been around the rink for a while.”

“Since when did they stop?”

“A-About two weeks or so.”

Jack’s face folded. This wasn’t right.

 

This was far from right.

Chapter Text

(A Tad Bit Louder)

 

Jackson Overland beelined to the castle the very next day, right as the morning sunlight graced the roof of his house, he was already in the town square: halfway there—

but he could already hear them talking.

“Have you heard? The King closed the castle.”

“What? Closed the castle…?”

“As in, no one besides the staff is allowed to enter—”

“They also laid off over half of ‘em.”

What? The king did that? King of Arendelle? The same one who wanted Elsa to familiarize herself with her people? 

“So how is he supposed to listen to our inquiries and problems of the kingdom?”

“That’s a question no one knows the answer to yet.”

Jack picked up his pace; whether to get away from the gossip and talking voices or to get his questions answered, he didn’t know. 

But when he came to his senses, he was finally here.

The two guards at the castle entrance were the same so he walked up to them. 

“H-Hi,” he waved. “I’m here to see the princess, I’m her—”

“We know you’re her friend,” the left one interrupted him. “But we’re not supposed to let anyone in.”

“But I’m her friend, ” he said, voice a tad bit louder. “I need to know what happened.” He looked over their shoulders for some reason, maybe hoping to catch a glimpse of platinum blonde. “So I can help her.”

“You’re helping no one, kid,” the right one reached down and patted his shoulder. Jack was annoyed at the look he received from him: sad and remorseful and ‘ there isn’t much you can do, even if you try’ . The first two he was used to,

 

but the third one hurt a lot more than it should have.

Chapter Text

(Fine)

 

Jack didn’t really know what to do after he got rejected by the castle guards. He should’ve at least thought of a backup plan—he really, really should’ve. But there was no time for regrets now, so he went to the person he thought of first.

“Jack?” Tooth opened the door of her home. “What brings you here this early in the morning?” She rubbed her eyes and yawned. “You’re lucky I was awake.”

Jack looked her up and down, then smirked. “At least look the part.”

Tooth only huffed as she scooted to her left, allowing him to slip in through the door.

“Do you want something to drink? Eat?” Tooth offered as he took a seat at her family’s dining table. “It’s quite early in the morning.”

Jack only shook his head. “Have you heard from Elsa?”

“No, I don’t talk to her,” she handed him a cup of warm tea anyways. “This is about the King’s verdict isn’t it, Jack?”

He said nothing, but his silence was all the answer Tiana needed. She set her cup down and sat in the chair aside from his. From his peripheral, he noticed her hesitantly raised hand. Though it stood in the air for quite a bit, it ultimately went back down.

“I can’t get in contact with her,” Jack sighed, staring at the smoke erupting from his cup of tea, a sign of its warmth in the cold winter morning—even if they were indoors. “They wouldn’t let me.”

“Even though you’re her friend?”

“Even though I’m her friend.”

“Well, I’m sure she’s fine Jack,” Tooth raised her hand again, and this time, it went on his left shoulder to comfort him. 

 

Jack didn’t really think she was, though.

Chapter Text

(Except Listen and Talk)

 

For a while, neither of them talked; they didn’t see the need to—nor did they really have the heart to. 

It was when he could no longer see the signs of his cup being warm anymore when he sighed. “I’m sorry, Tooth. I shouldn’t have burdened you.”

Tooth looked at him in a most peculiar way: her purple eyes were glazed with an emotion Jack felt he was too immature to understand. And to be honest, he didn’t think he would ever. 

When his eyes started to dry from diligently holding her gaze, she finally spoke, “I’m sorry I can’t be of that much help, Jack.”

Jack looked back down at his tea, still untouched. “It’s fine, because what can we really do for each other except listen and talk.”

“But I’m sure she’s fine.” Tiana tried once again to reassure him with her words. She had always been so selective with what came out of those delicate lips of hers, even when they were younger—but it’s not like they aren’t still kids. 

“I would hope so. But…” This was the start of his rant and worries and endless concerns. His vocalization of all the ‘what-ifs’. “There’s not a very good reason as to why her dad did what he did—”

“The King, ” Tooth cut in to correct him.

“Yeah, whatever. He’s still her dad at the end of the day. He wouldn’t do this—especially so out of the blue.”

Tooth narrowed her eyes at him. “How would you know it was sudden? Jack, why are you talking about this situation like you’re so sure of it? Do you know something?”

Jack stopped, then backtracked his steps. “I don’t, but I assume.”

“Exactly!” Tooth pointed at him as if she was making a very obvious point. “Your thoughts are clouded by hypotheticals, Jack. You don’t even know what kind of person the King is.”

Jack surrendered with a shrug. He had a feeling that if he talked any more, then Elsa’s secret wouldn’t be so much a secret anymore. It was better to stop talking back, he figured, better towards the grand scheme of things.

Tooth continued her onslaught of reason, “The King is Elsa’s father Jack, and he must have a good reason to be doing the things he’s doing—

 

If I were you, I wouldn't doubt him.”

Chapter Text

(Black and White)

 

The winter season came and passed. Every aspect of Jack’s life returned to normal—to what it once was before Arendelle’s first snow day that past year. He celebrated Christmas and New Year’s with his family and friends; they were happy—everything was what they once were.

It was well late into the spring of the new year now. Mary had grown—and even though she liked to think she grew a lot, Jack knew it was only just a few inches. 

And even though the laughter grew to reach his eyes, the castle was still closed—it had been closed—since last winter.

Jack never found out why— no one knew why. No one but the royal family themselves. And even though he heard people assume:

“Something must’ve happened to the royal family.”

“Do you think it’s Princess Anna? Or Elsa?”

“I’m sure it’s nothing big.”

(but said assumptions got old somewhere around the New Year)

—the world wasn’t black and white. And even though he himself didn’t know the exact reason, he was pretty damn sure that it was bigger than his understanding of the whole ordeal. Sometimes, it felt like the world was so much bigger than him, and he hated how he wasn’t capable of doing anything to change that.

So the next best alternative was to listen to Tiana and hope—hope that everything was alright—and move on—to leave his needless worrying behind.

He squinted as the sun was shining down on him as he sat on the cobble ledge just outside the town square.

“What’s on your mind, Jack?” Tooth asked from her spot next to him. He could hear the muffled laughter from their friends in the background. 

Jack smiled at her and shrugged. “Nothing much.” 

“So are you two lovebirds going to talk for the rest of the day or are you guys gonna come and grab lunch with us?” Jamie waved a hand between them.

“Jamie!” Tooth yelled at him. “We’re not like that!” Jack noticed that her cheeks were tinted pink though.

 

Jackson Overland was many things, but dense was not one of them.

Chapter Text

(Any Better)

 

It had been well over a year now—and for the most part—the rumors and gossip and assumptions dwindled down. There were only conclusions now: Princess Elsa was gravely ill. Jack wasn’t sure how that rumor came to be but— to be completely honest—they weren’t that far from the truth. And that didn’t sit all that well with Jack. 

But what did he know anyway? He was just a kid who happened to stumble across the Princess using her powers.

And today he was turning 13.

“So Jack!” Mary chimed up at him from where she stood beside him. “What did you wish for?”’

“Mary,” their mom called and beckoned her hand to wave Mary over to her. “If he told you, then it wouldn’t come true.”

“That makes no sense.” Mary grimaced at the weird logic given to her. 

Tooth giggled at Mary’s expression. “Well, a lot of things don’t make sense in this world, Mary.”

And oh boy, was she right. Jack thought to himself. He wondered what Elsa was doing. 

“So the big one-three, eh?” Aster smirked as he looked at now blown candles on Jack’s birthday cake.

“Congrats, Jack!” North boomed from behind the group. “You’re getting older now.” And then he got closer to Jack and held his hand to Jack’s ear. “Now, what do you want as a present for next year?” 

Jack chuckled and shrugged him off. “I think it’s still too early for that, North.” He pointed to the boxes on his round, wooden, kitchen table. “I’ve still got those to open.” 

“Well, what are you waiting for, Jack?” Jamie said as he picked up a box and shook it near his ear as if to hear what was inside—as if that ever helped at all. 

Sandy followed suit and picked up another box and did the same thing.

Jack bathed in the sight of his family and closest friends around him, no longer missing anyone’s presence, he smiled—

 

it couldn’t get better than this.

Chapter Text

(Crush)

 

“Jack!” Mary yelled at him from the other side of their kitchen table. It was well in the middle of summer now and everything was so hot. “I can’t take this heat anymoreeee,” she groaned in annoyance and impatience.

“Maybe try going to sleep?” Jack rolled his eyes at his sister’s unfettered stubbornness. 

“I can’t!” she groaned even louder now. “It’s just so hot.

“Well yeah but,” Jack stopped to think. “But at least I would get stuff done.”

She rolled her eyes at him. She had gotten a lot better in the art of sassiness. “If you can’t get stuff done in my presence, then I fear it is not my presence to begin with.” Then, “come on, I’m not even bothering you that much.”

Jack saw no need to continue to entertain her so he kept his mouth shut and focused on his chore at hand. For a while, no one spoke, afraid that they’ll lose their little energy to the heat enveloping them. 

“Say,” but then Mary decided she’d rather be entertained and hot rather than bored and hot. “Have you ever had a crush?”

Jack poked his index finger with the sewing needle and looked up at her questioningly. “N-No? Why would you think that?”

“Come on, you’ve got to be lying right, Jack?”

“But I’m not.”

“Well, do you know anyone who might be interested in you?

“No. And either way, I don’t think anyone is.” Then, as if he felt the need to clarify; “or was or will.”

Mary looked at him, undeterred by his less than lame answer. “Well, you’re wrong. I can give you a list of my friends who thought you were good-looking.”

“I’d rather you keep that list of names to yourself, Your Highness.”

“Your Highness?— Oh, right!” Mary exclaimed. “Jack! Have you ever had a crush on Elsa?”

 

Jack choked on his own saliva.

Chapter Text

(Wait—What)

 

“So is there really no one?”

It was a new day and Jack was out in the yard and—

“Are you really not gonna drop this?”

Mary only smiled at his question. “Never. At least—not until you answer me.”

“But I did. And there was no one.”

“Lame.”

Jack grimaced at Mary’s language—it wasn’t necessarily an expletive but—it could pass as one. 

“Well,” Mary was squatting beside him in their yard, picking at the ground with a stick she happened to come across; he was chopping firewood. “I think Tooth has a crush on you.”

Jack knew this; he didn’t need Mary to state the obvious. Tooth wasn’t the greatest at keeping her feelings to herself either; she wore her heart on her sleeves, out and about for the world to see. And he didn’t really know if that was a good thing or not.

“You think?” He shrugged at Mary’s remark, paying it no mind. 

“Really Jack? I thought you’d be more excited.”

“Yeah well,” he started only to trail off. “I wasn’t really interested in this stuff, anyway.”

“Really?” Mary was really thinking hard now. “What would you say if I said I met a guy?”

 

Really—wait—

“What?!”

Chapter Text

(Jack’s Guide On: Being Sixteen)

 

Jack was 16 now.

And since then, he has figured out a lot of (nearly) life-changing lessons—the underrated tips and tricks to navigating life in Arendelle—as well as how to deal with his social circles.

He made a mental note of (most of) them:

For when you are stuck in a love triangle between your closest friends:

Jack liked to think he wasn’t dense—er, well—more like dense wasn’t the right word. It’s just that—sometimes—things were better ignored.

But the point was, he recently found out about Aster’s feelings for Tiana—but he was pretty sure she liked him. So considering how close they all were, it would’ve been awkward—except it was fine because Jack chose to play dumb to both Aster and Tiana’s (very obvious) feelings. 

One day, he thought, would he finally be no longer part of the triangle. 

For when your mother thinks you are working too much for the bettering of your family:

Jack had always been a hard-worker, but after his dad left, he sort of raised the expectations of ‘hard-worker' altogether by becoming his family’s breadwinner (though his mother and sister did contribute more than enough). 

But when your mother thinks you’re wasting your youth on chores and worries about putting food on the table and keeping your family warm, there wasn’t much he could do to reassure her.

But for now, fake smiles and hollow reassuring words were enough. He hoped.

For when you’re trusted with the royal family’s secret: 

Well, there wasn’t much to do but continue to keep it a secret. But that didn’t mean it was any less easy to. 

For when your sister brings home a guy (or several): 

Make sure you leave a good first impression on them so they never show up on your doorstep again.

 

(But make sure she never finds out.)

Chapter Text

(Questions)

 

Jack squinted as the afternoon sun shone down on him. A bead of sweat dripped down his forehead as he maneuvered the busy town square, dodging children and fighting the crowd.

“Carrots, broccoli…” he whispered to himself as he used his fingers to keep count. “Potatoes…”

His counting was cut short by a yell from the crowd. Followed by another and then gasps.

He rolled his eyes, groaned to himself, and then started counting his fingers again. Something must’ve happened in the crowd… maybe it was another bunny escapee. It wasn’t that big a deal anyways.

And then he heard it, the concerns and whispers and grief. “The King and Queen are dead.”

What? He dropped his half-full bag of groceries and faintly heard the apples roll away from him. This time, a cold sweat trickled down his forehead.

And then he processed the rest of it.

“Oh my. The King and Queen are dead?”

“You’re serious?” 

“How do you know?”

“How did they die?”

“What happened?!”

“But they were so young!”

And then the very thought he was wondering was taken straight from his head:

“What will happen to the Princesses?”

And then another onslaught of questions engulfed him. 

“Does that mean Princess Elsa is the ruler now?”

“But she’s still so young.”

“What will happen to Arendelle?”

“What will happen to us?”

“Will we be okay?”

“This was so sudden, I—”

 

And for the rest of his walk home, his hands were at his ears, to shield himself from the rest of the questions he wouldn’t get the answers to.

Is Elsa okay?

Chapter Text

(Absurd)

 

There wasn’t anything to do after you hear that the King and Queen are dead but walk back home; Jack did just that. 

His idea was proven unauthentic by the time he reached the place though, for Tiana, Aster, Mary, his mother, and the rest of his friends were at the entrance waiting. Waiting for him.

“Jack!” Mary ran to him and into his arms. He could feel her tears bleed through his light sleeves—a reminder of what happened.

“I suppose you’ve heard about it too…” North said, tone short of what it used to be.

“There ain’t a single person who hasn’t,” Bunny chimed in, tapping his right foot—a sign he was anxious and worried— and— why wouldn't he be?

“What’s going to happen to our kingdom?” It was now Jack’s mother’s turn to speak and wonder. Then, as if she was coming up with a solution to fix all their problems— “Should we move? To Corona, maybe?”

And if that wasn’t the most absurd idea he’d ever heard. Ever.

“What? No!” 

“B-But trade and the economy and welfare!”

“I think you should calm down, Mrs. Overland,” Jamie said as he placed his hand on her shoulders. “I’m sure the nobles would know what to do.”

“B-But this was so—”

“Sudden.” North finished for her. “We know.”

Jack couldn’t take this any longer. “So why the hell are you guys all gathered here?” he asked between broken laughter and confusion. “Shouldn’t you all be with your families?”

“We were, Jack,” Tooth stepped closer to him. He hoped she didn't notice that he stepped back.

“So why are you here?”

“We…”

“We thought you should talk to Elsa and Anna.”

He actually laughed out loud now—out of humor or despair—he wasn’t quite sure. “I’m sorry to say but, there isn’t anything I can do.”

“W-We just thought you can maybe talk to them…” Bunny was quick to aid Tooth, always willing to give her a shoulder to lean on—literally and figuratively.

“Oh?” He scoffed. “And to do what?”

“To make sure they’re okay Jackson!” Aster was actually a little upset now. “We know that you know something we don’t.”

“A-And not to mention you were very close to them—especially Elsa in the past.” It was Jamie who spoke.

Jack looked to the side and saw that Sandy was nodding to agree. This was getting annoying. 

“Well, sorry to burst everyone’s bubbles but,” he walked to the side of his house to pick up his staff. “I’m nothing short of a stranger to them now.” And then he turned to the group and smiled. “I’m sure the castle people would know what to do to cheer them up. There’s nothing I can do now but hope they’re okay like the rest of you guys.”

And then he turned his back to them and walked away. 

 

He should’ve done more to see her back then, back when it was still possible to right the wrongs.

Chapter Text

(All In His Head)

 

“The sky is still as pretty as ever, huh?”

It was like he could almost hear her voice beside him as he sat at the edge of the hill, overlooking Arendelle. Sometimes, he would just imagine her beside him; and other times, he forgot what she sounded like. 

He laid his staff parallel to the ground as he leaned back and looked up to the sky. 

Since when did it all start to go wrong? Everything was perfect, wasn’t it? His sister and mother were happy, the children were excited, his broken friendships were mending, the weather was sublime, and his friendship with Elsa was blossoming. And he dared to think Elsa thought the same way.

But it was probably all in his head, huh?

Even up till now, Jack had had great trouble figuring out what really happened and why it happened so out of the blue. Sure, it was the King’s orders, yeah, but Elsa… but she should’ve at least said something to him… She should’ve made more of an effort to talk to him.

Hell, they were friends.

But you more or less stopped trying after the first day, Jack. There it was again.

“Shut up.” 

She probably thought you were the one who gave up on her. That annoying voice. 

“Shut up, please.” Jack was practically begging now. 

You can’t shut your head up, Jackson. The voice sneered back, more malicious, colder—louder. 

The voice appeared when he was six. He convinced himself that it was all in his head when he was seven. He was ten when he learned to co-exist with it—but it wasn’t until he was thirteen that he decided to name it:

 

Pitch, the voice residing in the deepest, darkest, blackest, part of his head.

 

Is she okay?

No, and she will never be again.

Chapter Text

(Queen Elsa)

 

“Have you heard?”

Jack sighed as he stepped into Oaks n’ Goods, a popular place amongst the locals whenever they were in need of an oddity. The whispers and gossip amongst the busybodies who frequent the place was something he never got quite used to though.

“Princess Elsa’s coronation is coming up, right?”

“You mean Queen.” The original voice corrected. “Queen Elsa.”

Surprisingly to himself, this wasn’t the first time he’d heard mentions of the upcoming coronation. And after they announced that the Duke was to only be temporarily in charge, he pretty much expected it anyway—him and everyone else in the kingdom.

And now, the time came for Elsa to reclaim the esteemed position she had been preparing since birth for.

He waved to the man behind the counter as he took a seat on one of the stools.

“Good day to you, Jackon,” an old and burly man answered to his wave. “What do you need today?”

“Morning Frank,” Jack greeted with a smirk. “Just a bag of potatoes.”

“How’s your mother doin’, son?” Frank asked as he bent down behind the counter to grab Jack’s request. “Hope she’s been well?”

“Her health could be better.”

“Hope it’s nothing fatal.” The sack of potatoes was now on the counter between the two.

“It’s just the common cold,” Jack smiled a bit in response—if only to be polite. “It’s winter, after all.” And then he slipped the man the money he owed him and grabbed hold of the sack. “Thanks for this, I should get going now.” 

He offered a dreary wave of formality and took to the door.

“Hold up, Jackson!” 

Jack turned around warily. “Yes?”

“I hope to see your family at the coronation, yes? I heard they’re opening the gates for us common people the morning of.”

 

His smile faltered a little, “Maybe.”

Chapter Text

(For The First Time in Forever)

 

“Princess Anna!” The voice of an elderly woman echoed down and through the intricately-decorated hallways of Arendelle caste, bouncing off every existing corner and wedge. “You need to finalize your dress fitting!”

“Ah, but can’t it wait till later?” A bubbly voice echoed back, followed by a trail of bubbling laughter, evoking a smile from the staff who happened to chance upon it. “The castle doors are finally opening!”

From inside the castle, the shared chatter and laughter from outside can be heard as people—nobles, foreigners, and commoners— were making their way over the bridge and into the castle square, bathing in anticipation and excitement. 

They were all thinking the same things: The First Princess is going to be Queen today. Arendelle is going to return to what it used to be.

Anna couldn’t fight the smile threatening to light up her whole face. And with good reason too, because for the first time in forever, the castle gates were open.

“Ah…” A light sigh escaped her as she stepped over the threshold of the grand castle doors. “How long has it been?”

She danced around the eager guests, waving back and forth, right and left. She greeted and interacted with people of all kinds and ages—as if to make up for her time in isolation. 

She hummed a tune to herself as she made her way over the bridge, fighting the crowds of people going the opposite direction. 

“Greetings Princess Anna!”

“Oh, how nice it is to have seen you again!”

“My, look how much you’ve grown?”

Anna waved and acknowledged all the inquiries and greetings from her people, trying her best to divide her attention.

“Anna?” And then she heard a call amongst the crowd. She skipped to the direction she heard it from, picking up her pace and dress as she went. 

She knew this voice. 

 

“Mary?” A pause. “Jack?”

Chapter Text

(Queen Elsa)

 

“Jack!” Mary yelled her brother’s name as she jumped around their house in anticipation and excitement. 

“Top of the morning to you too, sis,” Jack groaned from under his blanket.

“You know what day today is, right?” Then she got closer to him. “Right?!”

He nodded. “How can I not? The whole kingdom won’t shut up about it.”

“Now what’s with the attitude, Jackson?” The pair’s mom interrupted the two with a frown. “It’s a very special day for Arendelle, you know.”

Jack only rolled his eyes at that. 

“We’ll all be going to her coronation right?” Mary asked, ignoring his visible sign of ignorance. “Princess Elsa’s coronation?” 

Jack looked to his mom who vehemently nodded. “I guess we are.”

“Come on, Jack,” it was now Mary’s turn to roll her eyes at him. “Aren’t you excited to see her again? Weren’t you guys close friends?”

He started, “We were.” Then added, “but not anymore. I doubt she even remembers me.”

Mary raised her eyebrow at him. “I highly doubt anyone would forget Jackson Overland.”

Jack faked a scoff and backed away in offense, “And is that a bad thing?”

A bubble of laughter erupted from Mary, “No.” She then brought a hand up to her face and wiped a tear, 

 

“I even dare say Princess Elsa liked you.”


“Oops, I’m sorry—I meant Queen Elsa.”

Chapter Text

(A Glimpse of Her Too)



The sun was beginning to set, signaling the end of another day. But in Arendelle, the partying and festivities were far from over. And although the palace was now restricted to only nobles and foreign ambassadors and people of privilege, no one seemed to really mind.

Jack looked around the castle square and saw dozens of people gathering in anticipation—waiting to see the Queen of Arendelle for the first time in a long time. And to be completely honest, he was also hoping for a glimpse of her too.

He wanted to see her.

“Jack,” Mary tugged his left arm from her place beside him. “When do you think Elsa will show up?” She asked in anticipation, eyes glowing from excitement and the light in the square.

He shrugged. “I wish I can tell you when.”

“Jack!” 

He turned to the voice of the sound and saw Tooth waving as she stepped over the threshold of the front gates. Bunny, Jamie, Sandy, and North were right behind her.

“When did you get here?”

“Tiana! Everyone!” Mary exclaimed excitedly as she ran over to them. 

Jack followed right behind her. “Since this morning, actually. Mary and mom wanted to be here as soon as possible.”

“So Jack?” Aster asked from behind the group. “Did you get to see her?”

Jack shook his head from disappointment a little. He noticed the look of concern and worry Tooth gave him. So he smiled and spoke, “but it’s fine, I’m sure we’ll all get to later this evening.”

“I hope so!” Mary added. “My feet are killing me.”

 

A series of laughter surrounded the group.

Chapter Text

(Monster)

 

The sun was very much gone now and the only light in the castle square was that from the torches lined up against the castle walls. There were now twice as many people here than earlier. 

Jack’s ears rang with excited laughter and chatter. He could almost hear everyone’s thoughts: ‘I can’t wait to see the Queen.’ He was thinking the exact same thing.

“Jack,” Tooth made her way to him from the rest of their group. She took a seat beside him on the ledge of the fountain. He was sitting close enough to the splashing water to feel the tingling of cool eating away particular spots of his back.

“We were thinking of getting dinner after this.” She then motioned to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “Do you want to come with us? Mary’s coming too.”

He turned to her and smiled, like he usually does, “Sure, that sounds great ac—”

“Ahh!”

A frightened scream erupted from the front of the square, in the direction of the castle doors. Almost simultaneously, Jack and Tooth jumped up from their spot on the fountain. Tooth thought to reunite with the group but Jack beelined straight to the front, excusing and apologizing to the people he had to push and squeeze through to get there.

Just as he reached the front—

“Queen Elsa!” Jack turned to the man beside him and then to the person he was referring to.

His eyes widened—and tears nearly made their way to the corners of his eyes. 

Elsa.  

He was looking at her from where he stood, silently pleading for her to meet his gaze, for her to somehow turn his way. He wanted to call for her, to let her know that he was here—that after all these years and everything that’s happened—that he still thought of her. And his hope was answered.

Her terrified eyes scanned the crowd before her. And eventually, blue met brown.

“Elsa!” On cue with their eye contact, he called out to her and waved.

But she didn’t say anything. Instead, she looked even more terrified. And then Jack heard it: the yelling and running and clanking of what he presumed were the royal guards making their way to the castle entrance.

Elsa noticed it too. So she ran down the few steps before her, onto the square, and into a series of applause, whistles, and cheers. Very soon, she was engulfed by her own people, crowding around her—and backing her towards the fountain.

Naturally, Jack followed, curious, wondering, concerned. 

“S-Stay back!” He heard her say. And the fear and uncertainty in her voice pulled his heartstrings. 

“Please, I don’t want to hurt you!” Now, he was trying his hardest to reach her. He shoved and pushed through the crowd before him until—

“You monster!” A series of terrified screams and gasps followed and the crowd around her was no longer. 

Jack squinted to recover from the sudden push of the crowd. 

“Shit,” he swore to himself as he took in what was before him: the fountain was frozen, with spikes—fatal flesh-piercing spikes—sticking up from every possible direction. “Elsa!”

But his call was a second too late, for she was already slipping through the square’s side entrance.

 

Naturally, he took off after her.

Chapter Text

(Even Until Now)

 

Jack ran as fast he could to catch up to her—and he did a good job at it too. He didn’t know how far they ran—or for how long—but the shouts and screams were no longer in his range of hearing. The castle was still very much glowing in artificial light and present behind him though. 

“Elsa!” He called out her name between breaths. 

Her royal purple cloak was no longer waving wildly against the wind running in the opposite direction, a sign that she started to slow down her pace a little; he did too.

And in the dark of night, he saw her hesitantly turn around. “Jack?”

He willed his best smile given the situation they were in. “The one and only.” He had so many more things he wanted to tell her—almost a decade’s worth of things—but for some reason, the rest of the words were stuck in his throat, clogging it up to the point where breathing was becoming a bit hard.

Elsa spoke first, “It’s been a while, Jack.”

His eyes softened and he nodded glumly, “It has.”

“Are you going to stop me?” She asked, almost too fast. “From running away and leaving my people behind?”

Jack didn’t really know what to say to that. It all happened so fast he—he didn’t nearly have enough time to process it all, even until now. 

Elsa was the first to speak again, “I’m sorry, I—” She stifled a laugh in between. “Forget I said anything.” A pause. “Back then and now… You probably hate me too, right?”

Jack felt like throwing up. “I—W-What? Elsa how—”

She lifted a hand up, motioning for him to stop. “It’s fine Jackson. I understand.”

In the background, Jack could hear the voices and shouting of the others now, catching up to them. Jack’s eyes widened in alarm. There was nowhere they could go—the pond was before them.

Elsa only smiled and turned around though, unperturbed and unphased. “I’m sorry Jack. Then and now.” She put out her hands and a series of blue light came from them, freezing the surface of the pond. 

Jack was left admiring her as she took off over the water. 

Only then did he finally find the courage to say something. He took a deep breath, brought his hands up to his face, and shouted after her,

“Elsa! I can never hate you! Because...” He paused and took in another breath—he could feel the crisp air in his lungs this time—a sign of Elsa’s magic. 

 

“Because only when you’re an unreasonable monster, would I be able to hate you.”

 

He whispered this time, “And you’re neither of those.”

Chapter Text

(Questions)

 

When it was time Jack returned to his group, he was met with a lot of questions. Here were the ones he thought to answer:

 

“Where did you run off to, Jackson?! We were looking everywhere for you!” - His dear mother.

“I escaped the crowd by going through the side door over there.”

 

“Jack… Are you okay?” - A very concerned-looking Tooth.

“I—I really don’t know.”

“If there’s anything I can do to—”

“It’s fine. I’ll be fine.”

 

“Did you see that mate? Elsa’s a—she’s a—” - Aster, annoying as always.

“Shut up.” 

 

“Jack! Will Elsa be okay? Why are people screaming and shouting and calling her a monster?” - A very confused Mary.

“I can’t say why but… But I can assure you, Elsa’s not a monster.”

 

“What’s gonna happen now?” - Jamie.

This time though, it wasn’t Jack who answered, but North instead. “There’s nothing we can do but hope everything will turn out alright.”

 

And he hoped they would be.

Chapter Text

(Winter in Summer)

 

“I-Is everyone okay?”

Jack could hear the crack and uncertainty and doubt in Anna’s voice. He also noticed the gloved hand the noble gentleman has on her shoulder—which was something he cringed at.

“If anyone needs more blankets or food, then please don’t be afraid to let us know!” The gentleman said as he worked with the royal guards to pass said commodities around.

“Can you believe our Queen?” 

“Why is it snowing in the middle of summer?”

“Jack? Do you think we’ll be okay?” Mary shivered next to him as they stood in line, waiting for their turn.

He leaned down and put his brown cloak over her slim shoulders. “It’s going to be fine, sis.” And he took her hand in his.

“Next!” 

“Jack! Mary!” Anna’s face lit up when she saw the siblings. “How are you guys?” She then proceeded to learn down to Mary’s height and whispered, “How’s that guy you’ve been seeing?”

“What?” Jack interrupted them. “Mary’s seeing nobody, Anna.”

Princess. Anna,” the gentleman beside Anna corrected him. “Blankets or food?”

What a shitty jerk. Jack rolled his eyes and wondered, what would Elsa think of him? He seemed awfully chummy with Anna.

“It’s fine, Hans,” Anna elbowed him between giggles.

Wow, she really has it bad for Hans, huh? And, since when were you so involved in royal love affairs, Jack?

But instead of wondering about the two before him, he opened his mouth, “So what are you gonna do about Elsa?” Jack asked her without knowing what he really asked her.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Anna turned her attention to him.

 

“I’m going after her.”

Chapter Text

(Lingering Thoughts)

 

Jack swallowed down his saliva as he watched Anna, Second Princess of Arendelle, ride away on a horse and into the mountains.

Should he have gone with her? Yes, yes he should’ve—but he ended up not doing so—but that wasn’t to say that he didn’t offer.

The fact was, he did offer, but Anna shot him down just as fast. She convinced him he had duties to attend to her and that she was more or less responsible for her sister. 

He groaned to himself as he replayed the memory of rejection in his head.

“Are you okay, Jack?” Mary tugged at his shirt to bring him back to reality—she had sensed that he was elsewhere.

Jack looked down at her and patted her head. “I’m fine.”

He was met with a raised eyebrow. 

He followed up with a chuckle. “Was just thinking of some stuff.”

“Penny for your thoughts?”

Jack cracked a genuine smile this time. “Can I opt to not share?”

Mary was skipping a few steps ahead of him now. “Alrighty.” And then a cheeky smile found its way to her small face, “but I already know what you’re thinking of anyways.”

Jack could do nothing but roll his eyes and encourage them to hurry home.

Mary was probably right on the dot, with what—or who— was on his mind, but he doubted she could comprehend the rest of it. 

Some of his lingering thoughts included the guilt of being powerless. The idea of being incapable and unable to help her tore his head apart. Was it because he didn’t try hard enough to understand? Wasn’t trustworthy enough? Or was it because, even with knowing, he still wouldn't be able to change anything at all?

 

Or maybe it’s because he cared more than he should’ve.

Chapter Text

(Wait)

 

Jack glanced out his window for what must be the millionth time the following afternoon. It was then followed up with a light sigh. 

After what happened two nights ago, his head was filled with questions—at least—more questions than answers. But since when were there ever more answers than questions? Regardless, the point was, Jack hated all of it.

He hadn’t heard anything definitive about Anna or anything about the situation at all, only baseless rumors and uncertainty. He can’t blame them though; it’s not everyday your queen-to-be turns out to be someone with ice powers. And it wasn’t like he didn’t try to find out intel either, he spent his whole morning around town, visiting all the gossip hot-spots and lurking around the castle.

Ah yes, the castle. He noticed the Hans guy was running the castle and ordering the staff around. And to be honest, he doesn’t know how he feels about it. Anna’s type was… interesting— to say the least.

Just then, Mary opened the door and ran through the entrance. “It’s freezing out there.”

“Well,” Jack handed her a towel from where he sat at their kitchen table. “The world’s full of odd and unexpected surprises, right?”

Mary only shivered and shrugged as she took his hot chocolate from under his nose. 

“Let’s just wait it out. Because I refuse to go outside again.”

“Say… why were you even outside today? You didn’t have any errands to run—

 

Wait…”

Chapter Text

(Irregulars in all the Normalcy)

 

And then before Jackson Overland could say the word “Shit”, Arendelle was back to normal—at least weather-wise.

There were just a few things irregularities compared to before (at least from what he heard from the gossipers and had seen with his very own eyes):

  1. Elsa was officially declared Queen and was ready to take up the responsibilities and whatnot. And Jack couldn’t be more proud of her.
  2. Hans was banned from stepping onto Arendelle soil for the rest of his life and eternity. (Relations with the Southern Isles have also considerably worsened, but—from what he heard so far—no one can give fewer shits.)
  3. In Han’s place beside Anna was this one ice farmer named Kristoff. Jack had seen him around when they were younger, but he always found Kristoff a peculiar person. The dude talks to his reindeer for god’s sake! Really, it sometimes felt like Kristoff was raised by trolls rather than humans! But no one was more genuine and hard-working than him—and Jack was proud of Anna for rethinking her taste in men.
  4. There was a talking snowman now. Like… a talking snowman walks around town with a snow cloud above his head.
  5. And the castle gates were finally open again, for real this time. 

 

These were changes Jack could get used to.

Chapter Text

(News of a Ball)

 

It was a sunny day in Arendelle; the sky was cloudless and the weather was just right. Jack thought it would’ve been a perfect day outside—and it seemed like Tiana thought so too—that was why she asked him out today, he presumed.

“You know, Tooth,” he chuckled. “If you hold your tea like that, won’t your hand burn?”

From his peripheral vision, he saw her rolled eyes. “And if you drink hot chocolate in the middle of summer, others might think you’re weird.”

He faked a groan to which she giggled at. “It’s not that weird, is it?”

“I guess it’s not, considering it is you after all.”

Jack shrugged and smiled a little. “I guess. But I’m not that weird Tooth. I’m sure there’s someone else who drinks hot chocolate in the middle of summer.”

“I wouldn't bet it on it though.”

“Jack! Tooth!”

Tooth and Jack turned to the call.

“Mary? What are you doing here?” Jack asked, a little too presumptuous and judgemental. “It’s not to see him, is it?” He gave Tooth his drink to hold and unknowingly motioned to raise his sleeves. “Because if it is—”

“Jack, calm down.” Tooth tried to calm him down but Mary only rolled her eyes at him. 

“I was with Anna, Jack.” And then she stopped to correct herself. “Anna and Olaf actually.”

“Olaf?” Jack calmed down a little—but still wary. Because really, he didn’t think Anna was that great an influence on Mary either.

Mary giggled, seemingly reminiscing of her memories prior. “The talking snowman.”

Tooth’s eyes lit up in recognition. “I’ve seen him around!” 

Mary nodded and smiled. “Oh, by the way, Anna asked if you guys will be going to the ball Elsa’s hosting.” 

“There’s a ball?”

Mary nodded impatiently at him. “Yeah, and the whole kingdom’s more or less invited. I think it’s to celebrate her becoming Queen and Arendelle returning to its former glory.”

To the news, Tiana turned her gaze excitedly to Jack. “We should go, Jack! Us and everyone else!”

Mary joined in on the convincing.

 

“Yeah, you should! You might be able to see her again!”

Chapter Text

(Evening of the Ball)

 

And the truth was… Jack did want to see her again. Hence why he agreed to go.

It was the evening of the party and he was to meet his friends on the bridge connecting the town to the castle. 

“My my, look at you all dressed up,” Bunny mused as Jack made eye contact with the lad. “First time for everythin’, huh?”

Jack said nothing but winked at his long-time friend. “Feel free to keep drooling.”

“You look nice, Jack,” Tooth said instead as Aster rolled his eyes at his friend’s cocky attitude. Jack felt sorry for him—but not enough to apologize for it.

“We’re all here right?” Jamie interrupted (only because he felt the tension between the three was getting thick). “Shall we get going?”

Sandy motioned a thumbs up and nodded in agreement.

~

Upon stepping through the castle entrance and into the great hall, Jack could feel the distant memories coming back to him. And to think he had buried them all those years ago only for them to come back so easily—the human brain was a weird concept that Jack could never work to understand. (It’s not like he ever tried though—or will.

“Jack, I’m gonna find Anna,” Mary said to his left as she was already walking away from him. But then she thought to come back— “You should go look for Elsa too.”

Jack only rolled his eyes, “Just go already.”

Mary raised her left eyebrow at his boring response. “Promise me.”

“How about…” He brought his index finger to his chin and avoided her hazel eyes boring into his. “No.” And then he patted her light brown hair, but careful enough not to ruin it for the occasion. “It’s fine.”

“But—”

“I said it’s fine,” Jack was now working to tuck in the loose strands. “You should go, Anna’s waiting for you.”

 

He pointed to the Second Princess’s direction and waved as Mary walked away.

Chapter Text

(Olaf and Kristoff)

 

It wasn’t even half a quarter-hour later when Jack found himself alone in one of the corners of the grand room. People were dancing and enjoying themselves all around him but he hadn’t the will to do the same.

Maybe he shouldn't have come, after all. Damn Mary for convincing him.

And where the hell was Elsa, anyway? The ball was more or less in full swing and the host hadn’t even thought to show herself… Seriously, how lame was that?

He looked down at his dress shoes and swirled the juice in his wine glass a little, hoping to achieve nothing from it but a little entertainment. 

“Any sign of Elsa?” 

He turned to his right in surprise; Mary had more or less found her way back to him.

“You don’t seem to enjoy it very much,” she pursued, then, “Where are the others?”

Jack shrugged. “Too busy getting wasted I think.” And then he shuddered at the thought. “Especially Aster. That guy never passes on free drinks.”

“Oh? Maybe I should do the same.” Mary giggled. “Free is a very good price after all.”

The amusement in Jack’s eye left as quickly as it came. “Don’t. You. Even. Think. About. It.”

“If you won’t see Elsa, at least come say hi to Anna. She’s been wanting to see you. She also said something about introducing Olaf and Kristoff to you.”

Jack returned to looking at the half-empty glass of juice in his hand. “Must I have to?”

“Don’t be such a party-pooper,” and then she laughed a little. “And it’s not like you’ve been literally standing since I left you.” And then to add some salt to the wound, “You seem a tad lonely.”

His face contorted into a wince. “Ouch, sis.” 

 

And then he smiled, “I hope Olaf and Kristoff are what the rumors said they are to be.”

Chapter Text

(Introductions)

 

“Jack!” Anna stopped what she was doing and waved at him just as he caught sight of her. “How are you?” Her strawberry blonde hair was in a loose bun, but somehow it looked perfect on her. She was wearing a green dress with a pastel yellow shade for her sleeves. Jack thought she looked pretty; everything suited her well.

“Jack, this is Kristoff and Olaf!” Jack was only just a few steps away from her but she had already started the long-awaited introductions. “Kristoff, Olaf, this is Jack, my childhood friend.”

“Oh! Howdy, Jack!” Olaf was the first of the three to exchange greetings. “I’m Olaf!”

Jack couldn’t help the laugh that made its way to his face at the snowman’s outstretched wooden hand. What can he do but take it in his? “Hi Olaf, I’m Jack,” he said as he shook it carefully.

He noticed Kristoff hadn’t said anything. “Hi Kristoff. I’m Jack,” so he did the talking first. Kristoff said nothing and only smiled and nodded his head at Jack’s effort though. 

Okay, so he wasn’t really the talkative type. 

“How are you liking the ball so far, Jack?” Anna piqued in. 

But that was alright, Anna does enough talking for two people sometimes.

Jack smiled, “It’s going well so far.” 

Anna frowned, “But how are you enjoying it?” 

Jack smiled again a little and brought his drink up to his mouth, “You know I’m not one to socialize and enjoy fancy events like these.”

“Well, maybe you just haven’t been to the right ones yet.” Anna said smugly, maybe even a little tipsy already. “The party’s just begun.”

And then she beckoned the group onto the center of the room. And even though Jack should’ve followed, he opted not to.

 

Instead, he made his way towards the open balcony on the second floor of the ballroom. 

Chapter Text

(Edge of the Balcony)

 

Upon stepping foot on the balcony, Jack sucked in a breath of fresh air—but for some reason—he felt a chill go down his throat. Even if it was just late summer. 

“I thought I asked to be left unaccompanied for a little bit more,” a familiar voice spoke at the edge of the balcony. 

Jack didn’t need to see the person to know who they were. And when his vision was focused, he only confirmed his suspicions. 

“I’m not company,” Jack sighed in between a chuckle. He didn’t know why he chuckled, but it was just an instinctual response. “I’m Jack.”

He felt her smile in between her next words, “I know who you are.” Then, “Jackson.”

She turned towards him now, “How can I forget the only friend who knew of my secret before anyone else.” She raised her drink up to her mouth—even when drinking—she was poised and elegant as ever. “How are you enjoying the ball?”

Jack took her raised drink as an invitation to join her at the edge; so he did. He leaned a bit over the ledge and crossed his legs to adjust for his height. “You must know they aren’t really my thing, so it’s been so-so I guess…. Your highness.”

“What about Mary and your friends?” 

“They’re actually having the time of their lives. Free alcohol and food and such. And Mary, Mary’s been with Anna and them.”

“Oh! Have you met Kristoff and Olaf?” 

“I have… you guys are quite the odd bunch.” 

Elsa was giggling a little now. At what, Jack cannot say. “And I thought you would’ve liked Olaf for sure.”

Jack shrugged and joined her. “For a talking snowman you created, he ain’t half bad.”

The laughter soon eroded into the quiet night and for a while, neither of them felt the need to say anything. At least not until the tension got a bit thick,

“I’m sorry Jack.”

“You don’t have to apologize, Your Highness. You don’t owe it to me.”

“But I do,” Elsa’s voice was now strained, traceless of laughter and light. “I should’ve at least told you something. Agreed to see you at least.”

“Your Highness,” Jack’s voice was now also ridden of any fun and laughter. “I said it’s fine. Really. I wasn’t really all that into royal affairs and stuff. Then and now.”

Elsa looked like she wanted to say something. Hell, she looked like she had something to say. He could see it in those blue eyes of her, as persistent and determined as always. He’d always thought they were eyes fitting for someone as great and smart and elegant as her. 

 

But for the sake of both of them, she chose to say nothing more. 

Chapter Text

(An Invitation to Dance)

 

“And…” his voice found its way back to him. “I’m sorry for not doing anything to help you.”

It was now Elsa’s turn to be surprised. But she was quick on her feet and words as always, “There is nothing for you to be sorry for, Jackson!”

Jack laughed a little, he didn’t know if they were both half-kidding or not, “You know for someone who knew about your powers when no one else did, I did little to nothing to be of help.”

“Only because you were in no position to.” Elsa’s bare hand found its way to his bicep area. “And as you said, royal affairs are not really your priority.” And then she smiled, a little prideful this time, “And Anna’s got my back.”

Jack closed his eyes and took in another deep breath, he didn’t feel the chill down his lungs this time though. “I guess we’re even now.”

The laughter returned to Elsa’s voice. “I guess you can consider it that.”

“But really, a talking snowman?”

“Hey, he was something Anna and I created when we were younger.”

“And I wasn’t let in on it?” Jack felt hurt a little, “and I’ve known you guys since we were how young?”

Elsa rolled her eyes a little. “Well now you know.” She sent a glance in his direction, “you know I wasn’t kidding when I said you would like Olaf.” 

“And I did say that I liked the fellow.” 

He noticed Elsa was now looking down at her drink resting on the ledge and cupped between her hands now. And he must’ve been dreaming it—or had too much to drink—but he thought he saw a tint of pink on her cheeks. 

It must’ve been the alcohol and her tolerance for it—or in tolerance.

“Will you be d—” she coughed a light cough. “Dancing later?”

Jack looked at her quizzically. “N—No, I’ve got no plans for a dance.” Then, as if to back up his boring response, “And plus, I don’t even know how the hell to dance.”

“That’s fine with me.”

Jack wasn’t stupid. He was many things, but stupid wasn’t one of them. Was this Elsa’s way of asking him for a dance? Of course, it was, this was such an Elsa thing to do. No way would she let her pride drop further for the sake of asking a commoner like him for a dance.

He knew what she wanted him to say next—or rather— ask.

 

But he didn’t think he could.

Chapter Text

(Just A Dance)

 

“I don’t think I’m suited for that,” he pursued. “Your highness.”

“Jack,” Elsa interrupted hastily. “It’s Elsa. Just call me Elsa.”

“But you’re a Queen now.”

“And I’m your friend as well.”

Friend. Her response replayed several times in his head. He laughed a little, “Right. Friends.”

Elsa looked like she wanted him to continue talking—it looked like she was still waiting for him to ask—hoping and believing that he would ask her for the first dance of the night. 

He held his ground though. 

“Queen Elsa?” A voice interrupted the established quiet solemnity between the two. And in the blink of an eye, Elsa returned to her queenly self; and Jack only tightened his grip around his drink. 

“The people… They’re waiting for you.”

Elsa smiled her queenly smile at the servant before her. “So they are.” Jack hated that smile—it was always laced with pretentiousness and elegance. And Elsa was so much more than that. 

“And…” the servant continued nervously, “The First Prince of Ellesmere asks for your first dance.”

Jack’s eyes widened a little and turned to Elsa. He gripped his drink tighter as he waited for her response. 

Elsa hesitated a bit, but she never once made eye contact with him. “Tell him I’ll be there in a bit.”

And—And even though she had agreed, Jack couldn’t help but think her moment of hesitance was because she waited for him to say something—to ask her instead.

 

But it was just a dance anyway. It didn’t—wouldn’t—mean anything. 

Chapter Text

(The First Dance of the Night)

 

It was a while after Elsa’s departure when Jack decided to finally reunite with the festivities and joy and laughter awaiting him. By then, his drink was almost finished. Almost— but he didn’t know whether to finish it or not. 

Upon stepping inside, he saw Tooth already making her way towards him. And near the center, he noticed there was a crowd and that the orchestra was playing. 

The first dance had already begun.

“Jack!” Tooth chimed happily as she more or less fluttered up to him. “Where have you been? I was looking for you.”

“You know,” Jack faked his best smile. “Here and there.” And then as if to steer the topic to one that he could better maneuver, “You know the palace is great. Very spacious and luxurious.” He brought his hand to his mouth and whispered towards her, “I would know as I’ve been… exploring it.”

Tooth’s eyes glared a bit at him, but he could still make out the glint of amusement in them, “Well I hope you didn’t break anything.”

“I would never.”

Tiana rolled her eyes, “Come on, we should get a closer look at the dance. Elsa’s the one dancing.”

“Oh, really? We must see it then.” As if he hadn’t already known. 

Jack made his way through the crowd with Tooth closely by his side. He didn’t notice when, but at a point, Tooth had intertwined their hands. He minded but didn’t pull away.

So she wouldn’t get separated from him. 

Eventually, for what felt like forever, Jack was at the edge of the crowd, with front row seats to the first dance of the night. 

“Wow…” he heard Tooth whisper next to him. 

Wow indeed. 

“She’s… she’s really pretty.” 

She is. “Mhm.”

He felt Tooth’s gaze on him now, “Are you okay, Jack?” She whispered a little close to him.

“And why wouldn’t I be?” He whispered back. He gripped her hand in his tighter as he stared into her obnoxious —stop it— nosy —you don’t mean it—eyes. Under the grand chandelier just a few feet above them, they were as purple as ever. He hated how Tooth always knew how he felt—even when he didn’t himself. To her, he was an open book, at her mercy as she flipped through the pages.

Tooth hastily pulled her hand away from his—he noticed they were red. “I see…” She didn’t know where to look. Her eyes darted all over his face until ultimately settling on the spectacle before the both of them. “That’s… good then.”

 

And he thought it was wise of her to drop it.

Chapter Text

(The Voice Inside His Head)

 

“I’m sorry, by the way.” Jack started their whispered conversation again, this time to apologize. “About your hand.”

“It’s fine.” Tooth weakly smiled at him. She didn’t turn away from the dance though. 

As if to lighten the mood, he playfully elbowed her a bit, “I’ll make it up to you somehow.” 

This time, Tooth actually glanced up in his direction, even if it was just a bit. “We can discuss it later, Jack.” She motioned to the center. “How about we pay attention to the Queen’s dance instead?” 

Jack nodded and obliged—if only to please her. 

The lights were now dimmed with the pair at the center: Queen Elsa and the First Prince. The First Prince and Queen Elsa. Jack played around with their names a bit in his head to distract himself from reality.

“They’re a match befitting of the heavens!” He heard an older lady say beside him. Who the hell is she? 

And even though his mother told him not to listen to other people’s opinions—and as much as he didn’t want to—he couldn't help but agree. Whichever way he looked at it, their titles beside each other was perfect. Queen Elsa of Arendelle and First Prince Whatshisname of Elshmore or whatever. 

He scoffed a bit in annoyance.

It’s too late now to be mad, Jack. You’ve had your chance to ask her, remember? And you blew it. 

Even if I did, compared to that First Prince, I’m not worthy of her. 

You know what, Jackson. For the first time ever, I think you might be right. You are so unworthy of her. Why the hell does she still keep you around? I wonder. 

The music was now reaching its summit, the crescendo was nearing. 

Even funnier, why did you ever think you had a chance? 

Jack winced a bit at the voice—monster—in his head. 

He felt a chill run down his spine a little later only to realize it was Tiana’s hand on his back. “Jack, are you alright?”

He nodded but said nothing in response. 

And all of a sudden, the lights turned back on and the music stopped and the clapping and cheers erupted around him—all at once. It was also then that he realized the voice inside his head—Pitch—was right.

 

That he never once had a place beside her.

Chapter Text

(When All Wrongs Were Righted)

 

The music reached a definite stop. The cheers got louder. The laughter and muffled conversations flooded his ears. Movement was all around him, people were picking their partners to join in the next dance; the crowd was starting to loosen itself. But Jack couldn’t pick anymore to look—or go.

“Jack,” he felt a tug at his sleeve. “Let’s go. We’re getting in the way.”

Jack nodded and followed Tiana’s lead without thinking much of it. The next song was starting and the dancing started up once again, this time, with more pairs joining the original: Elsa and the Prince.

Jack unknowingly turned back to the dancefloor’s direction. Even without focusing his vision, his eyes found their way to Elsa. 

He had thought she looked pretty under the moonlight when they were out on the balcony, but under the thousand shades of golden light, she was at her most beautiful. Her lapis colored dress with its many intricate shades of blue looked good on her; it complimented her eyes and hair wonderfully.

His favorite color looked good on her. And apparently, all shades of it. 

Somewhere along the way, Jack noticed Tiana had grabbed ahold of his hand again. He knew it wasn’t to keep track of him so as to not lose him but he didn’t mind so much this time. Regardless, he had to let go when he noticed the others were in his line of sight. 

He didn’t want any sort of misunderstanding—especially not tonight.

“Did you guys watch the dance?” Tooth asked the group once they were reunited.

Bunny snorted from where he stood. “Barely.” Then, he took a swig of the wine in his hand.

“If you consider looking after Bunny and making sure he doesn’t do anything stupid watching the dance then…” Jamie rolled his eyes a little. “Aster, I think you should stop drinking. At least for tonight.”

“Hey,” Jack interrupted them, finding his charm once again. “Free wine is the best wine, Jamie.” And as if to make a point, he finished the last few drops of his glass, then set it on the table beside them. 

Sandy nodded and joined him as he, too, finished the drink in his hand.

“I’m going to go find Mary and check up on her,” Tooth started. “You boys try not to get into any trouble.”

“Thanks Tooth,” Jack smiled at her.

“Don’t worry about these guys,” Jamie added. “Sandy and I got them.”

And then as if to prove a point, Sandy signaled a thumbs up and smiled in reassurance in Tooth’s direction. 

After Tooth left, Jack looked back to the center of the ballroom, where the dancing continued. He sighed grimly when he spotted Elsa, who was still dancing with the First Prince. 

They’re probably going to get married. 

And for once, Jack didn’t attempt to fight the voice in his head. Surrendering was ten-fold easier than fighting—or trying.

 

Maybe in another life, he thought, when all his wrongs were righted, would he be able to stand next to her.

Chapter Text

(He Thought)

 

Tomorrow eventually came and the night before felt a bit like a fever dream. It must’ve been all the drinking, Jack convinced himself. As the night dragged on, Jack consumed more wine than he should’ve—more wine than he had ever had before. 

All because it was free, of course. He wouldn’t have let himself live it down if Bunny was the only one milking the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ night. At least—that was what he had to tell himself to keep him sane. 

Jack was spending today with Tooth. Apparently, from what she told him, the others were recovering from having too much to drink. 

“Even Sandy? Jamie too?!”

She nodded disappointedly, “Even them both.”

Jack whistled as he slowed down to match her pace. “That palace wine must’ve been really good then.” 

“It was.” 

“True,” Jack nodded. “It was.”

From the corner of his eye, he noticed she shook her head a bit in laughter. He couldn’t help but join her.

“Thanks for yesterday, by the way.” He spoke up again. “For looking out for all of us, including Mary and me.”

Tiana smiled at him. “It’s no problem, Jack. It’s what I do on a daily basis anyway.”

“Oh please.” Jack waved a hand playfully.

“Should we grab something to eat?” The pair was walking from Jack’s house to town to run a few errands for his mother. They also agreed to get something savory for the rest of their friends as well—to help them recover. 

“I don’t see why not,” Jack responded lightly and started to walk away, but was stopped when he felt a tug at his arm. 

“Jack?”

“What’s wrong, Tooth?”

He felt a harder tug at his sleeve. Tooth was on her tippy toes; she was grabbing on to him, bringing him down, leaning into his space, and giving him a peck on the cheek.

She also pulled back as fast as it happened. 

“W-We should get going now, Jack.” She started her walk on the road, then pointed at the sun. “It’s well past noon.”

Jack, who was left speechless and in shock and— speechless —didn’t quite know what to say. So he agreed with her, “It is. We should.”

And as he was left with Tooth’s back to look at and could still feel her lingering kiss, something came to him:

 

He could love her, he thought.

Chapter Text

(Fall(ing),)

 

Fall was approaching Arendelle and the leaves were turning orange, red, and all sorts of shades that made it feel a little more like autumn. Birds were chirping, leaves were falling, and instead of enjoying the day outside, Jackson Overland was having a silent staring contest with his little sister.

“Now Jack,” Mary started dismissively. “Please be a kind and caring older brother for his little sister.”

“Sis,” Jack cooed back. “Kind and caring have been all I ever was to you. And now, you should repay that favor.” And, “you’re an adult now.”

“You’re the older adult here, Jack.”

The man shrugged a little, “And that doesn’t make a difference.”

Mary sighed exasperatedly, “Just give me the last slice… Please?

Jack followed up with a sigh of his own then a smug grin. “No.” And then he leaned his whole body over their kitchen table and went for the last piece of pie. 

“Jack!” Mary shrieked at him and followed in pursuit. 

But she was a second too late.

“I hate you, you know that?”

“Love you too, sis.” Jack felt half-guilty and half-bad, but those emotions weren’t enough to make him surrender his victory. He’ll be a decent brother another day, he decided. 

Knock knock.

Jack looked to Mary who looked back. He motioned his head towards their entrance, “Open the door.”

She shook her head, “No, you go.”

He rolled his eyes in annoyance and got up towards the door; he didn’t feel so bad anymore.

“Hello?” He opened the door a little, enough for his head to fit through.

Two palace guards were on the other side.

Jack choked on the bit of pie traveling down his throat. “M-may I help you?”

“We’re here to relay a message to…” The guard looked back down at the scroll in his hand. “Jackson… Overland?”

His stomach did a flip. Maybe he should’ve given the slice to Mary. Maybe. “I’m… Jackson Overland.”

“Oh,” the first guard looked over to the other hesitantly. “Queen Elsa would like to request an audience with you.”

And now he felt like throwing up. “Me? Queen Elsa? Me?

“Sir, is there a problem?”

His eyes widened and he worked to pick himself up. “N-No! Not at all!” He stopped to think. “But unfortunately, please tell her I won’t be able to see her.”

The guards looked at each other. What they were thinking, Jack could not say. But as if to make his request a little more feasible, he added lamely, “Please?”

Now, it was the other one who spoke up, “Are you sure you want to decline the Queen’s request? Mr. Overland.”

Jack tried his best to hold back a snort from the title he was called. “If it isn’t an official order, then yes, I must. Sir Guard.”

“We shall relay your answer to her majesty, then.”

And just like that, they left. 

“So who were they?” Mary finally thought to approach the door. 

“Oh you know, no one of importance.”

“No one ever goes to this part of town though.” 

“You know, that slice of pie was really good—“

“Stop.”

 

“I can tell you all about it.”

Chapter Text

(To Hope You Catch Me)

 

The next time the Overland’s got a knock on the door, it was none other than Queen Elsa on the other side. 

“Listen, I—” Jack opened the door, peeking his head through the space he made for himself. “I told you yesterday I was gonna be busy for a long while. And well, if—”

“Jack.” Jack’s eyes widened at the familiar voice.

The door swung open, revealing Jack in all of his glory. He was bowing as low as he could—he’d heard somewhere that the lower the bow, the more respect there is. “Your highness.”

“I told you it was Elsa,” she said. “Just Elsa.” And then to make it seem more casual, she added, “There are no guards with me, I’m not here on official business.”

“Then why are you here?”

“To see you, Jackson.” Her blue eyes bored into his. It felt like she was looking right through him; it felt like he was laid bare before her. “But I feel you don’t want to.” He saw the flash of mixed feelings in her eyes. “Did I do something wrong to you?”

Compared to hers, Jack’s eyes were a dull brown. But at that moment, he felt they were flooded with the many different shades of emotion as well. “N—No. Not at all Elsa.”

She looked like she didn’t believe him; he felt she had every right and reason not to. He took a big sigh, “It’s not you, it’s me.” He brought his hands up to stroke the back of his ruffled hair in nervousness. “Can we not talk about this here? Or at all?”

“Do you not want to fix this, Jack?” Elsa looked hurt. “Do you not want to be friends anymore? I understand that, but I need to at least know what’s wrong .”

“Nothing is.”

She looked like she wanted to cry. 

“So why do you want to see me, Your Highness?” And that was Jack’s lame attempt at sweeping things under the rug. He hoped the rug would never be lifted.

Jack could tell Elsa was hesitant to though, but for the sake of him, she did it anyway. And he was a bit grateful for that. 

“I just wanted to see you, Jack, and even though we only just saw each other, I missed you…

 

And I don’t quite know why.”

Chapter Text

(Thoughts)

 

“So what do you think, Jamie?” Jack questioned as he brought the drink up to his lips and leaned back into North’s chair. He was currently hanging out in North’s toyshop. “Any thoughts?”

It had been a week since Jack got a visit from the Queen herself. And because his relationship with her is the most confusing and stressful situation he has going on in his boring life, he decided to consult his wisest friend about it—though Jamie was only second wisest compared to Tooth—but… 

But he decided it would be better if she didn’t hear about it. It’s not like he was keeping secrets from her or anything—he would tell her eventually. 

Eventually. Whatever. It’s a problem for future him to deal with.

Now he just wanted to figure out her feelings for him. And his for hers.

“I don’t understand,” Jamie said wryly as he leaned over North’s table and closer to Jack. “ What exactly are you having a problem with again?”

Jack looked at him incredulously. He never felt more strongly about wasting two hours than he did now. “I don’t know my feelings towards Elsa and hers towards me! Sometimes, it’s obvious she likes me but I doubt it sometimes, you know? Maybe she’s just really nice. Plus, I can’t be too sure since we’ve only started talking again after how long?! Not to mention she’s the fucking Queen of Arendelle, Jamie. And a magical queen at that.”

“Jack.” Jamie clasped his hands together. “Just say you have relationship problems.”

“I guess.” He was a bit calmer after rambling now. “But don’t sum it up to just that. Cause it’s more than that. It’s a lot of problems and things to consider.”

“Well,” Jamie started speaking his thoughts out loud for Jack to hear. “Maybe figure out your feelings?” And then he stopped to contemplate something. “But, Jack…”

“Hmm?” 

“Are you absolutely sure she likes you? That the Queen likes you? She’s the Queen, Jack. She’s no longer only your childhood friend.” Jamie seemed to like doubting Jack a lot. “Not to mention, she seemed pretty close with the Prince of Elshmore that night.”

Okay, Jack thought. He didn’t have to go that deep into it. 

“Are you doubting me? Because, for your information, I’ve always thought my intuition was good—at least above average.”

Jamie backtracked a bit. “It’s not that per se—It’s just…”

“She’s the fucking Queen of Arendelle, I know, Jamie. I know. Responsible royal person and all.”

Jamie nodded. “Plus, you said it yourself, Jack. You guys only just started talking again.”

“I guess,” Jack replied softly as he picked up one of North’s snowglobes and gave it a little shake. Winter was coming, his thoughts sidetracked.

“And—” Jamie started his onslaught again. “Were you guys even close when you were younger? For her to develop romantic feelings for you?”

Jack lost the will to reason with his longtime close friend for a while now, so he settled with a shrug of acknowledgment.

And he didn’t really know the answer to his question, but there was one thing he did know: 


That it didn’t take a lot for him to love her though.

Chapter Text

(The End of Fall and Beginning of Something New)

 

“So Winter’s coming,” Jack randomly spurted the first thing in his mind.

Elsa turned to him, eyes as curious and bright as ever; there was a glint of amusement in them. She laughed a bit then nodded as she turned back to the direction of the town. “So it is.”

The two were on top of their once familiar hill, swimming in the afternoon autumn chill and enjoying each other’s company. It had been this way for a while, Jack realized—at least—a few weeks or so already. He didn’t recall how it came to be, but he was never one to complain about coincidences and circumstances. 

He enjoyed her company. And he presumed she felt the same.

“Do you…” he strived forward. “Have any plans?”

She looked thoughtful for a second, “Aside from royal affairs and hosting the end of the year banquet, then no, not really.” As soon as she stopped, she thought to continue again, “Unless you count enjoying the season and drinking hot chocolate.”

Jack raised his eyebrow at her. “I can’t relate. I drink hot chocolate year-round.”

Elsa’s eyes lit up. “I do too! But the winter season gives me all the more reason to.”

Jack followed her notion, his own brown eyes lighting up as well. “I knew I wasn’t the only one! Mary and the gang are ruthless about the fact that I drink hot chocolate all the time.”

Elsa giggled, “Anna thinks the same. But she sometimes joins me in enjoying the beverage.”

Jack looked at her weirdly, “Then Anna has no right to tease you. How hypocritical of her.”

Elsa shrugged a bit, “You get used to the antics of little sisters. I’m sure you feel the same.”

Jack nodded frivolously, “The art of dealing with little sisters is something I am well-versed in.”

“Really? You should teach me then. I missed out about half a decade’s worth of being a big sister.”

“Hey,” Jack elbowed her. “I’m the only one who’s allowed to make self-deprecating jokes.”

Elsa raised her eyebrow and gave him a look, as sassy as ever. She was challenging him. And she wasn’t someone whom he would easily surrender to—Queen and all. 

“Oh yeah? I thought that was a good one though.”

 

And before Jack could respond with his own remark, his face was met with a ball of soft, fluffy, cold, snow.

Chapter Text

(Christmas Gifts)

 

“Elsa did what?” Jamie stopped sanding the wooden box in his hand and looked up, eyes incredibly round—from either shock or surprise—Jack deduced.

It was now the month of December and North’s workshop was as busy as ever; as long as there were kids in Arendelle, there would be parents coming to his workshop for presents. The sun was setting outside and Jack, Aster, Jamie, and Sandy were helping North prepare—though they did more talking than helping.

Jack rolled his eyes, “I said she invited me to the end of the year banquet!”

“But won’t nobles and royals and important people be attending?” Aster asked from where he sat in their make-shift circle. 

Sandy nodded to his right, golden eyes still focused on wrapping the box nestled in his crossed legs.

“Very. Important people. The most important people get.” Jamie added, still recovering from his initial shock. “Jack, are you sure about this?”

“About going?” Jack asked to confirm. “Because abso-fucking-lutely not. But I told Elsa I would.”

Jamie’s jaw dropped some more, something Jack thought wasn’t possible. “But you’re just literally just friends. Why would the Queen go out of her way and invite you to such an event?”

Jack shrugged. “I’ve been wondering the same thing, Jamie.”

“Me too,” Bunny added, almost snickering. “It’s not every day a shepherd’s boy gets invited to such an event. An invitation from Her Majesty herself, no less.”

“Ha. Ha.”

Sandy pulled at Jack’s sleeves from his left and pointed to the box in his hands. He then outlined a question mark on the back of Jack’s palm.

“What am I going to get her?” Jack questioned out loud, trying his best to understand Sandy. Jamie was always better at understanding Sandy than he ever was. “For Christmas?”

Sandy nodded. 

Jack’s eyes narrowed in thought a bit, “I don’t know… I haven’t thought about it.”

“Well, I don’t blame ya mate, it’s hard to come up with something a Queen doesn’t already have.”

“I guess.”

“How about dinner?” Jamie suggested.

“Dinner? As in a date?”

“It can be a date if you want it to. But it doesn't have to be.”

Jack didn’t quite believe that. “She’ll assume it’s a date, and then she’ll tell me she doesn’t see me that way, and then it’ll be over.”

Bunny snorted, “Before it even started, no less.” And he laughed even harder when he noticed the look Jack gave him.

“No,” Jamie intercepted. “Think about it. Dinner is probably one of the best gifts to give someone when you don’t know what to give them.”

“Oh yeah? So we can talk for an hour or two over dinner?” Jack mocked.

He was a bit surprised, really, when Jamie pointed at him as if it was a ‘Eureka’ moment. “That’s exactly why! Quality time together and the opportunity to talk and bond over free food!”

Sandy thought it could work, Jack looked just as confused as he was before, and Bunny was a second away from facepalming himself in the head. Hard. 

“As if the palace already has a shortage of good food, Jamie,” Bunny looked at him as if he was stupid.

“Yeah,” Jack agreed for the first time. Aster was right. Aster of all people. Was right. What a time to be alive, he thought. “And not to mention free food.”

Jamie looked at Sandy for agreement, to which the golden-haired man only shrugged at. So much for being a helpful friend and bringing something to the table.

“It was only a suggestion,” Jamie defended himself. “Plus, it’s not like you two have any better ideas.”

“You’re not wrong.” Bunny couldn’t argue. And then he turned to Jack. “Why don’t you ask Tooth? She’ll know what to do.”

 

Jack gulped. “Oh yeah, Tooth.”

Chapter Text

(The First Step)

 

The days were going by faster than Jack had anticipated they would. The first few days of December turned into the first week. The banquet was approaching and frankly, he didn’t really know what to get Elsa, what to do, or what would happen from now. 

But for some reason, he took the first step. Here he was, in North’s little toy shop at the corner of town, sitting across from Tiana. 

Somehow, he managed to achieve the great feat of confronting Tooth. Or—at least—willing himself to. 

“So…” Jack leaned forward from the chair he was sitting in—North’s chair—to be exact. However, the man wasn’t here and left Jack in charge—which—was probably a mistake, but he wasn’t one to point out anyone’s mistakes. (Anyone but Bunny’s.) “I need your advice on something, Tooth.”

She looked interested enough and nodded, a sign for him to go on.

“Elsa invited me to the end of the year banquet.”

Tooth’s eyes rounded a little, “The banquet as in…” She hesitated to continue. “The royal banquet?”

Jack nodded in affirmation, “The one and only.”

“That’s great, Jack.” And even though she had congratulated him and even verbalized how great the fact was, he couldn’t help but imagine a hint of disappointment in her voice. Or maybe he didn’t imagine it—the voice crack at the end gave it away.

But he pretended he didn’t and nodded, “Mhm, but there’s a problem.” And this time, he paid even closer attention to her face, to make sure she doesn’t assume anything out of line or be too disappointed in it all.

“Go on…”

“I don’t know what to get her for Christmas,” he winced at the end after rushing the sentence. “She did extend an exclusive invitation out to me after all.”

Tooth looked at him, saying nothing. Her eyes darted everywhere on his face, but they missed his eyes every time. And then a light laugh escaped her lips, “Is that why you asked me to come here?”

She stood up from her spot across North’s table and Jack’s eyes followed her figure. “Yes?”

“You’re unbelievable.” She continued a little angrier this time. “You know that, Jackson?”

Jack was a little confused now. “What? Why? How?”

“You know exactly why, Mr. Overland.” She snapped back. “You’re many bad things.” And then her eyes met his, “But stupid isn’t one of them.”’

Jack’s brows furrowed. He somewhat expected this reaction from her but—but it was still too much. Reality was a lot different than your imagination. “Is it because I never mentioned the kiss again? Because you didn’t bring it up either, Tiana.”

“Yes—No, Jack! It wasn’t…” she was standing up now, tall and cowering. The height difference scared him a little.  “It was but…”

“That was just a kiss, Tooth,” he interjected. “A kiss on the cheek. I think friends share them sometimes.”

Tooth’s eyes widened even more. By now, the pain in them was visible. He wanted to—should—apologize and take back what he said.

“It wasn’t to me,” she half-whispered. “And I think you knew it too. I had suspected so before, but—but when you started avoiding me after—it was clear. You just felt too troubled to say anything. Shame on you.” She laughed a little, if only to hide her whimper—a sign the tears were coming. “And shame on me for holding on this long.”

Jack felt a pain tear at his throat now too. “I’m sorry.” It was him that refused eye contact this time. “I should’ve said something sooner, should’ve given you a proper answer.” She was looking down at her feet now. “You should’ve.”

“So… are we good now?”

Tooth was still looking down at her feet. “I need some time.”

“That’s alright too, just—just let me know when everything can be the way they were,” he responded, a little too happy, as he saw Tooth to the door.

But she turned around to tell him something before she left, 

 

“You’re a jerk, you know that?”

Chapter Text

(Laughter)

 

“What’s on your mind, Jack?” Elsa asked from her usual spot beside him on the hill.

And despite it being winter, the afternoon breeze was a bit warm, and though Jack didn’t mind, he would much prefer it to be a bit more chilly. Just a bit. 

It was winter, after all. And what good was winter without the cold?

“Tiana,” he responded absentmindedly.

“Oh?” Elsa’s interest was even more piqued. Jack noticed her change in tone as well.

He had just processed what he said and worked to clarify himself, “It’s not like that. It’s just… we’re sort of in a fight right now.” And then he turned away, “If you can even call it that. She was right and I was wrong.” 

She looked at him, eyebrows knitted together in confusion, “If you know you’re wrong, then why don’t you apologize and make things right.”

“Well…” Jack dragged out the word to make up for what he couldn’t say. “It’s far more complicated than that.”

“That’s the thing Jack,” Elsa looked at him. He was more or less getting used to her mature and wise side by now—but he still wasn’t sure how he liked it. “It’s not that complicated once you figure it out. Nothing ever is.”

Jack’s eyes narrowed in amusement. Did she realize what she just said? “Thank you, Your Highness.” He paused. “For gracing me with the obvious.”

Elsa was amused now, but only half of what he felt. “Think about it, Jack.” And then she leaned her back down the rest of the way.

The Queen was now laying on the grass—and on her back. Her back. The Queen. At this point, Jack shouldn’t be that surprised anymore. He should’ve stopped affiliating Elsa with her royal title—because when he does—nothing she does ever made a lot of sense. 

Jack decided to join her. “What about you? What’s on your mind?”

She lifted her arm and twirled her index finger a little and little snowflakes showed. Jack noticed she does that sometimes, to entertain the both of them. And even though it happens often, he couldn’t not admire it every time. “Just some royal stuff. I’ve been extra busy with the banquet preparations. You know… making sure nothing can go wrong.”

“Well then, I hope nothing happens then.”

“I also finalized the invitations list yesterday.”

Jack’s eyebrows raised a little. “You did?” And even though Elsa couldn’t see his face, she felt him tense a little. 

“I did—but don’t worry—you’re still on the list.”

Jack laughed. “Oh Elsa, I wasn’t worried about that.”

“Then what seems to be the matter?” Elsa rolled onto her right arm to face him. “Sir Jackson Overland?”

She could now see Jack’s face tense up even more. “Don’t. Ever. Call me that again.”

Elsa laughed. A little later, Jack did too. 

 

And all the tension and uncertainty and uneasiness Jack had felt until now left him.