The first time it happened, you were in a cafe, a victim of a rough shoving by an impatient customer that sent your cup of coffee flying out of your grasp and your frame keeling towards the ground. In the next second, there was an undeniable breeze of cool air and you were righted once again, cup falling perfectly in your hand as if something had just pushed you forward to safety.
The second time, you were nearly hit by a car that decided to plow through a red light while you were in the midst of crossing the road. A shriek of horror flying from your lips, the screeching of tires, your eyelids clenching shut, your feet locking in place on the frozen tar of the road was all you processed. But the impact you were expecting never came, and you found yourself only looking back at stilled car with tires, quite literally, frozen onto the ground. Long spars of ice wrapped and licked up the expanse of the onyx rubber, sealing its fate in its place on the road and far, far away from you.
By the third time, you were completely suspicious. You found yourself treading through hills of white powder in the midst of a snowstorm, curses flying from your lips at the sting of the cold on your flushed skin. You greeted the chilly air with muttered words of your hatred of the winter, of the impersonal dark clouds and icy sidewalks and troublesome winter coats and, most importantly, your greatest hatred of the snow.
And then everything stilled, as if the blurs of hail that had whipped past you and pelted the buildings just a moment ago had never existed, as if the obsidian clouds themselves sucked in a breath in anticipation as they watched you and everything all around fall quiet. You didn’t even notice you had been walking on black ice the entire time, since you never thought twice about the absent danger of slipping.
The fourth time it happened, you were in the park, your bright eyes tracing the trees that were a beautiful sight when they were bare and raw and asleep until the spring would grant them their petaled progenies. For now, however, icicles dripped precariously from their sturdy branches and you, unfortunately, had been so utterly careless as to walk underneath one.
In the next second, you were on the ground, the air sucked out of your lungs only to be replaced immediately by the minty, icey scent of whatever was top of you now. Or rather, whatever had just pushed you down.
You stared back at widened coffee eyes, at the silvery strands of hair that framed them, and the pretty mouth parted slightly open in surprise as if he realized just what he had done.
You glanced behind him to see a long icicle broken on the ground, the remnants of a beautiful shard that should have claimed your life, or, at the very least, your head. You nearly groaned at this ridiculously familiar sequence of events before your eyes turned back to the boy who seemed to bleed cold.
He was now scrambling to get up with apologies falling from his mouth, stopping only when your numb fingers curled around his shirt sleeve.
“No, you’re not going anywhere.”
He froze at your firm words as you struggled to sit up on the ice-coated grain of the sidewalk, pushing him only a small distance away to sit in a similar fashion while still in the confines of your grip.
“You’re the one who has been saving me, huh?” You narrowed your eyes, trailing the face that was almost too handsome in the glow of the winter afternoon, and the ivory skin that was being tinted slightly pink under the weight of your stare.
“I …uh…um…yes?” His eyes darted anywhere except towards yours.
“How did you do that? Save me all those times? Especially during the cold? Are you some ice prince or something? With powers?”
His eyelids fluttered at every insistent question, as if each were an incoming attack, and his mouth parted open as if to provide a long, detailed explanation, before he was slumping, eyes averted to a pebble on the ground, pink now blooming all across his features.
You stared speechlessly at him, obviously not having expected that answer, noticing only now that he wore a simple shirt and did not give the slightest hint of a shiver under your grasp, despite the fact it was well below freezing out here. You could even feel the extent to which he sucked in the heat around him, having already greeted your fingers well with the sting of his freezing aura that had you retracting them with a hiss.
His eyes suddenly darted to yours.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! I shouldn’t have gotten this close to you, it’s not very safe,” he rambled with concern twisting at his features, butt scooting a small ways backwards across the ice in alarm.
“Wait…why did you save me?”
He stilled entirely, eyebrows furrowing as if your question was all he needed to let him pour out a flood of ranting words. “Because you were so clumsy, it was nearly killing me. You could be more careful, you know? Especially when going out in the middle of a snow storm like that. Or walking under icicle trees. Or walking in front of cars. It’s not easy to keep you safe every second if you keep these doing things.”
His lips froze their rambling then, as if realizing his words should have never met your ears in the first place, and his head came to be buried in his hands.
“I’m sorry,” came his muffled words from his fingers. “You shouldn’t have seen me in the first place.”
Your lips quirked at his embarrassment, remembering how he had straight-out tackled you to the ground only moments ago. “You didn’t make a good job of making it subtle.”
His lips spread into a sudden smile at that, hands falling away from his face to make known a laugh that reminded you of the softest piles of snow on a cold day.
“Yeah, I didn’t, did I?”
He looked on at you warmly, and this time, it was your turn to flush pink. “So, a guardian of ice, is it?” You successfully managed out.
He smiled once again in affirmation, eyes warm and taking the liking of crescents. “Yes, I guess so.”
You found yourself huffing loudly to cover the smile brewing on your lips. “Good, so you can help me up. I think my butt is frozen to the ground.”
Surprise flitted across his features before he was letting out another laugh the color of sunshine and moved to stand up, hand wrapping around yours to pull you forward. His touch would have been uncomfortably cold if not for the pleasant tingling sensation it left spreading through your palm.
“And you should join me for coffee, I need saving from loneliness, too, Guardian,” was all you muttered as you trudged past his silent frame to return to the walk you had been so violently interrupted from. You didn’t need to look back to know he was following; the immediate sounds of his feet carefully filling the prints of yours in the snow was enough.
And, suddenly, you were sure you didn’t seem to mind the winter now.