Disclaimer: not mine

Chapter 3

Harry smiled as he watched an awed Jack carefully open the present North had left at the lake. Inside was an intricately carved chess set.

Jack laughed and held up a piece. "It's me!"

Sure enough, what should have been the white King was done to look like Jack, staff and cloak included. Then he held up the Queen and Harry chuckled, it was him and rather well carved too. It was all very high quality materials and the board was decorated with snowflakes. In the package was a small carved amulet with a note, if Jack was in trouble all he had to do was let a little magic into the amulet and it would alert North. That was a very big display of trust and Harry saw a single frozen tear fall. He knew Jack had been worried North would hate or despise him because of what he'd done.

Harry was surprised to also receive a gift, the same amulet and also a nice pair of boots. He hadn't realised he'd been observed so thoroughly as to notice his boots needed repair, now he had a new pair that were of the best quality.

They hadn't celebrated Christmas before, but he had the feeling they would be from now on, he didn't mind, especially when it made Jack so happy. They were taking things slowly, they had forever after all, and he didn't want Jack to do anything he wasn't ready for. Part of him still figured Jack had only latched onto him like that because Harry was the only one he interacted with regularly. Maybe in a few decades he'd really believe that Jack wanted him like that and not just because he was the only option.

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Jack grinned as he entered their house, spotting Harry relaxing. He flew over as quietly as possible, hovering over him, before dropping down on him, kissing him. He felt Harry's hands grab his waist as he let out a quiet oomph before relaxing again, gently responding to the kiss.

Jack knew why Harry was so tentative and it hurt a little, but he knew Harry didn't actually doubt him, he knew enough to know he'd never had any luck with relationships and was understandably wary. Jack didn't know if he'd been with anyone as a human but for him this was his first relationship and he only had what he'd observed among humans to go off.

"Have a good winter send-off then?" Harry asked when Jack sat up a bit, straddling his waist and Jack grinned.

"One last good frost," he answered before kissing him again. He was very glad that being half-dead didn't stop him enjoying things like kissing. In Harry's realm, he might as well be fully alive, it was when he left that things changed.

Out there he didn't need to eat or drink or even breath, though he could do it. He couldn't even drink a full cup or eat a whole sandwich and there was barely any flavour. Harry had taught him all about the human body and Jack knew his nerves had to be rather fried from the icy dip, which was why sensation was muted. It had its good points, he could last a lot longer in a fight, take injuries most other Spirits couldn't. But…it'd be nice to really feel the grass under his feet, the sun on his face; he could feel it all here at home, but since he knew it wasn't 'real' it wasn't the same.

Even if there was a way to 'fix' him, he wouldn't take it, this was his home.

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Jack sat on the rooftop, watching the happy crowds below, grinning as he felt Harry drop down beside him to watch, taking his hand. He'd missed the turn of the century last time; hadn't been aware it'd passed till he had left home. This time they were watching as the people celebrated the start of the twentieth century. As the clocks struck midnight, Harry kissed him, a hand in his hair, the other on his shoulder and Jack smiled, kissing him back, holding on to him too.

"Happy New Years!" Jack laughed and then leapt off the roof, Harry following him, weaving in between the streams of golden Dream Sand. Jack occasionally let his staff trail across buildings, spreading trials of frost about the city. Other Spirits were out and about too, some working, some celebrating but none could see them.

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Harry stood on the battlefield, staring at the rows of trenches that littered the landscape. He'd heard of the Gallipoli campaign before but as a child had never imagined seeing it with his own eyes. He thought he had become immune to the horrors of war, to what humans could do to each other, but he'd been wrong. It wasn't all bad, the battles also brought out the best in some people as they gave their lives for their comrades, ignored personal danger to help another, but he was glad Jack was nowhere near Europe at the moment. Jack had seen enough death without having to deal with this, even though Harry knew the next war would be even worse, especially since there would be a Wizarding war at the same time.

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Jack pushed himself up shakily on his arms, looking around, they were gone. He'd…passed out? That wasn't good. He tried to open the way home, but his magic was all but gone and he was having trouble focusing. He had to…he flopped onto his side, shaking fingers gripping the small amulet.

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North looked up as the door opened, grabbing a sword and following Phil out to the main room, seeing the flickering light. He frowned and then his eyes widened in alarm, it had been decades since he had seen the Winter Spirit, though he left gifts at the lake every year and had even found one in return when he would leave them. It was very thoughtful, no one ever thought to give him a Christmas gift outside of the other Guardians.

He went and grabbed his coat as well as a snow globe, using the spell tied to the alert to get the location. The first thing he saw was snow…some of which had an odd tint to it…like old blood. He shifted his grip on his swords and made his way forward. "Jack!" he called in alarm when he spotted the familiar cloak among the snow. He knelt and carefully rolled the boy over, grimacing at the sight of the burns and other wounds. As carefully as he could, he lifted the limp body and used another snow globe.

As soon as he appeared the Yeti saw and went to work, getting the infirmary readied and then they began tending to Jack. His clothing was removed as carefully as possible to avoid further harm and all North could do was watch as they did their best to heal him. This was not the way he would wish any Spirit to come and visit the Workshop.

Since they had it under control, he returned to the scene of what had obviously been a fight, trying to work out who had harmed Jack. the burns told him it was not another Winter Spirit but as it was winter currently, no other seasonal should be there. A Fire Spirit? No…Jack was too strong, but perhaps a group? Anyone could be outnumbered.

When he returned, Phil met him, explaining they had done what they could to heal him and that the rest was up to Jack. He also mentioned the fact Jack did not seem to breath or have a heartbeat and North frowned.

"Perhaps a method to conserve energy when badly injured?" he suggested, and the Yeti shrugged.

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Waking up hurt. He wasn't home, he was still in the realm of the living, he could feel it. What had happened?

"Ah! Good, you're awake,' a voice called, and Jack slowly forced his eyes open, blinking.

"N…North?"

"You used the amulet, a good thing too. Who did this to you Jack?" He held up a glass, but Jack shook his head, trying to sit up, and then North was there, easily lifting him so that he was sitting up against the pillows.

"Don't know…" he grimaced slightly, how badly had he been hurt to be actually feeling it and this long after the fight? Honestly, he hadn't been entirely sure the amulet would work…that North would actually come for him, would ever want to see him again. If he'd had his cloak closed then he wouldn't have been hurt but it'd been open and the hood down, leaving him vulnerable. "Sorry?"

"For what? Getting hurt? Calling for help?" North shook his head and then reached out to gently clasp his shoulder. "This is why I gave you that gift. You are a good boy Jack Frost, not like other Winter Spirits. Ah, and since you are here, I can give you your Christmas present early but in person and you can take Harry's when you go."

"Thanks," he whispered, and North patted his shoulder.

"Rest more," North told him before leaving and Jack closed his eyes. It was funny, he was mostly dead, but he could still sleep in the living world, especially if injured.

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Harry walked through the halls unseen, worry driving him forward. He walked through the door and found Jack asleep in a comfortable bed, staff and cloak propped up against a chair, the window open to keep the room cool. He walked over and ran his fingers through soft white hair, seeing the bandage peeking out from under the loose nightshirt he was wearing. Jack shifted, blue eyes opening slowly.

"M'okay," he mumbled.

Because North had found him. The odds of Jack actually fully dying were so slim as to be all but impossible, that didn't stop Harry from worrying about it happening. "How do you feel?"

"Sore, tired."

"I'll take you home," Harry whispered, and Jack nodded sleepily.

"North left…presents," he drifted back off to sleep, after indicating the dresser and Harry saw the packages. He sent them and Jack's things home before conjuring paper and pen to write a note explaining he had retrieved Jack, that he would heal faster at home, and giving his heartfelt thanks to North for his aid. He lifted Jack from the bed, and they vanished.

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North read the note and smiled, glad that Harry had come for Jack, though he wished the solemn young man had stayed long enough to say hello. He had his theories on just who or what Harry was but no proof and it changed nothing, they were both good boys who had incredibly difficult jobs, especially at the moment.

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Harry sat beside Jack's bed, watching as his wounds healed even faster now he was home. Part of him wanted to go after those who had dared to harm Jack and teach them to fear Death before ending their existence…something he hadn't felt in a long time, not since Sirius... Jack had changed him as much as he had changed Jack but that was how life was meant to be, people grew and changed, often influenced by those closest. He still hadn't expected it though, neither of them was really alive after all. He gently took Jack's hand, holding it in his.

He had barely seen Jack since the war broke out, kept very busy in Europe. He hadn't wanted Jack to see what was happening there but… Jack deserved to make the choice for himself, Harry could not protect him from everything. It just hurt to see Jack in pain from so many deaths, but Jack could also bring them peace and happiness.

He felt Jack's hand twitch in his and then blue eyes opened, Jack smiling when he saw him. "Feeling better?"

"I'm okay," Jack tugged on their joined hands and Harry looked down in confusion. "Get up here," Jack told him, and Harry stood, carefully laying down beside him, smiling when Jack curled close, resting his head on Harry's chest. "Better."

Harry chuckled and kissed the top of his head. "Jack…"

"I didn't see them," Jack cut in before he could ask. "I…I didn't have my cloak done up and I dropped my staff with the first hit," he admitted, ashamed.

"It isn't your fault," Harry told him firmly, running his fingers through soft white hair. "They had no reason to attack you and from your wounds they are the ones who were in the wrong part of the world out of season." They lay quietly for a while. "Do you want to come to Europe with me?"

Jack sat up, straddling him, staring down at him with wide eyes. "I thought…you didn't want me there?"

Harry reached up, resting his hand against Jack's cheek. "I would keep you away from the horror of war forever if I could but…that isn't fair to you. I can't control you, I hated when people kept things from me for my own good. I don't want to do that to you. You're more than old enough to make your own decisions."

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Jack stared down at Harry, he ached a little but that was fading away thankfully. Did he really want to see what the war was doing to people? But…if he could give them even a little happiness or peace…how could he not? He leant down and kissed Harry, balancing with his hands on Harry's shoulders even as he felt Harry's hands move to his hips. "I love you," he whispered against Harry's lips, feeling the hands on his hips tighten before one moved to the back of his neck, the kiss deepening.

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It took a few weeks, but Harry eventually tracked down those who had attacked Jack without provocation. People died every minute of the day, worldwide, and it gave him information beyond what most others could dream of, the dead able to see and hear Spirits and Sprites, eagerly telling Harry all they heard. He did not kill them, Jack wouldn't want him to, but he made sure they learnt their lesson and would never dream of harming another. He didn't care if killing them would upset Mother Nature or anyone else, except Jack. Death was a part of life and some beings were beyond redemption, something Dumbledore had never understood and so many good people had died because of that.

He sent North a note to let him know Jack's attackers had been dealt with and that Jack was fully healed and off spreading winter joy. There was also a thank you note for the gifts and one for North in return.

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The second World War was far worse than the first. Jack had worked hard during the Depression to brighten lives, especially for children but it wasn't easy. And then the war had broken out, making them both exceedingly busy. This time, Jack was involved from the start. It hurt to see but he was determined to do what he could. It was also his first real introduction to Wizards. He wasn't impressed which amused Harry. They were no more able to see Jack than any other living being which saddened him a little, if anyone could believe in him, surely it'd be someone who could do the impossible themselves?

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Harry watched, invisible, as Albus Dumbledore duelled Gellert Grindelwald in what was to be the final battle of their war. He'd kept an eye on his old Headmaster since he was young, and he hadn't liked what he saw all that much. The Elder Wand knew he was there, it was a part of him, and he could sense that it hadn't fully taken to the man wielding it, then again the man had stolen it, not won it in a duel. He wished he had never had to create the thing, but he was trapped by the creation of the Hallows as claiming them was what had made him Death. It was in a way a self-fulfilling Prophecy, a paradox in time. Without their creation, he never would have become Death, and then never given them to the brothers so long ago.

He shook his head when Dumbledore merely captured his enemy, if he had killed the man, Riddle never would have been able to question him on the Elder Wand and gain precious information. He turned away to deal with those who had died in the battle between Grindelwald's followers and the forces of the combined Ministries.

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Jack sat on a rooftop, watching the kids below play in the snow. It had been around twenty years since the last world war ended and the world had mostly recovered. There had been wars since, but nothing to that level, for which he was very thankful. He was glad he'd missed the American War of Independence and the Civil War because he'd been in training still.

He never tired of watching kids play, of helping them forget their worries for a while to just have fun. Kids had a lot more free time now, not working in factories or anything like they used to in cities. He liked England, and not just because of Harry's accent. There was so much interesting history and the kids loved snow days.

He glanced down to see two girls playing in the snow. They looked so different and yet from what he could hear, they were sisters. The younger girl looked up and he gripped his staff tight…he knew those eyes…Harry. How could she have the same eyes as Harry?

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"Lily Evans, born 1960…she will die October 31st, 1981, defending her only child from the Dark Lord Voldemort," Harry whispered in answer to Jack's question. "Her son, Harry James Potter, will willingly walk to his death on May 2nd, 1998."

"Harry….that was you, wasn't it?" Jack asked and Harry nodded.

"I've been avoiding England for a reason, maybe it's cowardly, but to see them, alive and happy…" he admitted and then Jack was hugging him, kissing him.

"No, it's not cowardly. To see her alive and well when she won't see you and wouldn't know you even if you did reveal yourself, no one should go through that pain. I'll visit if you'd like, give her happy winters."

Harry leant against Jack, marvelling over how much Jack had matured since his death. "I love you Jack," he whispered, holding on tight.

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Harry entered the cottage silently, cloak wrapped tightly around himself. He had told Jack he wanted to do this alone, so he was giving Halloween a frosty touch in America. He watched the happy young couple on the couch, wishing he could spare them what was coming but he couldn't alter his own past. He felt Riddle's arrival, how could he not with the way the man had mutilated his own soul, wanting to claim him there and then rather those he would have to.

He saw the realisation and terror, his Dad yelling at his Mum to grab the baby and run. He saw James Potter stand up to Riddle, duelling him, trying to buy Lily time to scape and then a flash of green light claimed him, and Harry stepped forward.

"What? What happened?" James asked and then stared in horror at his own body.

"It's time for you to go," Harry told him, becoming visible to the newly dead soul.

"Who are you?" James demanded.

"Death." It would hurt to give his name, for his parents to know. "Come, yours is not the only soul I will collect tonight," he glanced up the stairs.

"No…please not Lily and Harry," James begged, and Harry looked away even though his face was hidden by his hood.

"I do not decide who dies, I simply collect them. Your sacrifice will not be in vain, you will ensure a decade of peace for the Wizarding World."

"How can you know that?" James demanded.

"Come and see." He stepped onto the stairs and James followed. They entered the nursery as Riddle raised his wand against Lily who stood before the crib, defending her son with her life.

"Lily…" James whispered, and Harry gently rested his hand on his Father's shoulder, having to reach up to do so. Malnutrition had ensured he was shorter than his Father, though a little taller than his Mother. They watched as Lily Potter was killed, Harry moving in to help the woman's soul and then they watched as the wand was turned on the wide eyed toddler. A third flash of green and the room exploded around them. When everything settled, Harry was crying, and Riddle's soul was fleeing.

"Oh Harry," Lily whispered, reaching for her son but unable to touch him.

"It's time to go," he told them.

"Our son,"

"Will live," he cut James off. There was no point telling them more and giving them that pain. "Come now," he whispered, drawing them away from the mortal realm.

TBC…