“Aunt Punzie! Can you tell us a story, please?” With pleading eyes the seven-year-old boy asked. The boy beside him, who was two years younger, nodded and looked at her expectantly.
Rapunzel laughed. “Alright, alright. Why don’t you go sit by the fire with Alva first?” she suggested and the boys excitedly ran towards Alva, who was the two boys’ six-year-old sister. Rapunzel wiped her wet hands on a piece of cloth and walked towards them. She sat on an armchair and smiled brightly at them. “Now, what story would you like to hear?” she asked, just as two adults entered the living room.
“Mom! Dad!” The three kids shouted as they ran towards the newcomers, who greeted them with delight. Rapunzel stood up and looked at them with a small smile. After much hugging and greetings, the trio of kids returned to their seats. Merida and Hiccup approached the blonde woman and greeted her.
“Did they cause you any trouble?” Hiccup asked, and a warm laugh escaped her lips.
“Nothing I couldn’t handle. I’ve had a lot of practice when the four of us used to go on adventures together,” she replied and Hiccup laughed.
“Yes, well, they do take after their mother, after all.” Merida shot him a glare, but a warm smile was on her lips.
“How was the trip to DunBroch?” she asked, and Merida shrugged.
“All right. Was a bit hard, with the snow and all, but we managed. Thanks to Toothless, of course,” she replied. Hiccup nodded in agreement. “Now, what were you guys doing?” Merida asked as she kneeled beside her eldest son, who sat on the floor with the other two. Devlin, the oldest of the three, looked up at her and answered,
“Aunt Punzie was about to tell us a story about fighting and magic and-”
“No,” Alva cut in, “She was going to tell us a story about how mom and dad fell in love.” Merida and Hiccup both looked surprised and turned to Rapunzel questioningly, eyebrows raised.
“No she wasn’t! She was going to tell us about how mom and dad and Aunt Punzie and Uncle Jack fought off the boogeyman with mom shooting them down with her arrows and dad flying on Toothless and-” As if to emphasize the point, Casey, the youngest of the three, made whooshing noises and occasionally a few explosions.
“Now, now. Settle down.” Rapunzel laughed at their antics, and Merida and Hiccup joined her. The three kids calmed down and looked at her expectantly as she sat back down on her chair. “What story do you think I should tell them, Mer? Hic?” she asked the other two, and they both shrugged.
“Well, since it’s almost Christmas…” Hiccup began, and the three adults all shared a knowing look.
“You should tell about the time we defeated Pitch during Christmas,” Merida finished.
“I told you she’d tell us a story about them defeating Pitch!” Devlin stated, sticking out his tongue. Alva pouted.
“But Aunt Punzie!” she whined. “I don’t want a story about fighting. You always tell those stories!” she exclaimed, and Rapunzel chuckled.
“Don’t worry, dear. This story has both action and romance in it.” Alva smiled at that and looked at her aunt expectantly. “Now, it all began at your Uncle North’s workshop. You see, Pitch was gaining power at the time and Christmas was approaching. We knew that Pitch would launch an attack to make the children stop believing in Santa Clause, so the four of us decided to help out with the presents. Your mother and Uncle Jack were fighting, as usual, because Jack was teasing your mom about the toy she had helped decorate. Meanwhile, your father and I were trying to stop them, which wasn’t really difficult since they fought all the time.”
“Hey, it’s not my fault he was a jerk,” Merida cut in, making Rapunzel and Hiccup laugh.
“Now, now, Merida. It’s all in the past,” Rapunzel said, earning a huff from the redhead. Rapunzel shook her head slightly and turned her attention towards the three kids. “As they fought,” she continued, “there was a loud cackle coming from the globe. All of us stopped talking immediately and looked up to see Pitch Black laughing maniacally on the globe,” she paused, adding to the dramatic effect. ““Pitch!” Jack exclaimed, grabbing his staff and pointing it towards the dark spirit. The rest of us got into our fighting positions too.
““Well, well, well. It seems you have been busy,” he said in a deep voice. Pitch dissolved into a shadow and moved swiftly around the room. Our guards were up and our weapons were ready, but truthfully, we were all quite scared, though your mother would never admit it.”
“Hey!” They all laughed.
“Sorry, Mer. Where were we?” Rapunzel hummed. “Ah!” Clapping her hands together, she continued her story. “As we watched the shadows move quickly along the walls, there was a sudden crash behind Hiccup. We all turned towards the source of the sound and found a broken toy lying on the floor, its broken pieces scattered around.
“We then figured out what Pitch was trying to do. He was going to destroy all the toys! Hastily, we grabbed as many toys as we could, trying desperately to save them as Pitch broke toy after toy.” The three kids gasped, eyes wide.
“Did he break everything?” Devlin asked, and Rapunzel nodded sadly. The trio of kids furrowed their eyebrows and turned sad. But Rapunzel was still smiling, though rather wistfully.
“Then he left, just like that. All the toys were broken, and even the ones we had grabbed were ruined because Pitch had sent nightmares to attack us. We were all devastated,” she said and Casey tilted his head slightly.
“What does ‘devastated’ mean?” he asked and Rapunzel chuckled.
“Right, I forgot that you are still too young,” she said and laughed at her forgetfulness. “It means we were sad. We kind of lost our hope by then,” she explained, earning a nod of understanding from the little boy.
“And that was when your Uncle Jack stepped in,” Hiccup suddenly said, and the other two adults nodded.
“As much as I hate to admit it, Jack was great that time. He was the one that brought back our hope,” Merida added.
“How?” Alva asked and Rapunzel smiled.
“We had all given up and were just sitting around the room feeling depressed. But then, Jack stood up quietly and walked towards a table, picking up the broken parts of a toy car and putting them back together. When we asked what he was doing, he didn’t respond and kept fixing it. After he finished, he showed it to us and said, “It doesn’t matter if he broke all the toys. We can just fix them.”
“We thought he was crazy at first. Fixing millions of toys in one day sounded impossible. But he said that something was better than nothing, and we started to work on the toys again. As the day progressed, we had a spark of hope, and in the end it all worked out. We managed to fix all the toys and deliver them just in time,” Rapunzel finished and the three kids smiled.
“But Aunt Punzie, where’s the romance?” Alva asked, making Rapunzel laugh.
“Oh, I almost forgot. After delivering the presents, we decided to throw a party. Your parents were drunk and Merida-”
“Punz! I told you to never mention that!” Merida exclaimed. Hiccup was blushing hard.
“Oh, alright. I guess I’ll just tell you what your Uncle Jack and I did,” Rapunzel responded. “We decided to sneak out because everyone else was drunk and it was getting hot. We stepped out into the cold air outside. Jack and I walked outside in silence, hand in hand. We stopped at the balcony and I looked up at the sky, which was filled with stars that scattered everywhere. Not a cloud was in sight and the full moon shone brightly.
““Thank you, Jack,” I had said and he only smiled and said it was no problem. Silence fell upon us again and I rested my head on his shoulder. For a while we just stood there, undisturbed and peaceful, until the wind got a little too cold for me. We decided to go back inside, but before we did, Jack pulled my arm and kissed me. It was soft, gentle… but felt magical.”
“I think I’m going to puke,” Devlin said, earning a stern glare from his mother and sister. Rapunzel only laughed.
Turning her gaze back to her aunt, Alva asked quietly, “Is that why you never got married? Because you’re still in love with him?” Her question surprised the blonde and even Merida and Hiccup. Merida was about to scold her daughter when Rapunzel smiled and replied,
Alva nodded and smiled. “I think it’s time you kids went to bed,” Hiccup said and the three groaned. After much debate and chasing, Devlin, Alva and Casey finally went to sleep.
Rapunzel stood up to clean up the toys, and she knew that Merida and Hiccup were looking at her sadly. They didn’t know why she never married, but they had their suspicions. Rapunzel sighed as she looked at them with a warm smile. “Quit looking at me like that. It doesn’t matter, anyway,” she said, and they both sighed.
“Of course it matters, Punz,” Hiccup said and rested his hand on her shoulder, squeezing it slightly as if to give her strength. Rapunzel only nodded.
“I’m going to go outside. I need some fresh air,” she said and grabbed her thick coat. She stepped outside and before closing the door, she said, “And don’t worry about me. Go get some sleep.”
Rapunzel sighed as she wandered away from the small house where they had been staying at for Christmas. The snow drifted lazily as she continued to walk, relishing the cold air. A cool breeze blew through her hair and for a second, she thought she heard a familiar voice calling her.
“Punzie…” Her eyes widened in surprise as she realized who the voice belonged to. She turned around, and tears filled her eyes as she saw him – the love of her life, Jack Frost.
A wide smile broke as she ran up to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him into a tight embrace. Jack wrapped his arms around her waist, sighing as he closed her eyes. Rapunzel pulled away slightly to look at him, making sure not to let go.
He looked the same as he did since the last time they saw each other.
She didn’t know why she felt so surprised and her heart began to ache – it didn’t make sense. She already knew that he could never grow up, so why was she so shocked? She shook her head slightly. I guess I still hoped that maybe we could grow old together.
“I missed you,” she said as she rested her forehead on his, their gazes locked. Jack smiled.
“And I missed you,” he replied. She smiled and closed her eyes. Hearing that was enough to make her happy. She opened her eyes slowly and pulled away, taking his hand in hers and leading him to the house.
“Come on, Merida and Hiccup are at this house where we’re all staying at for the holiday. They’ll definitely be happy to see you. And their kids will be too,” she said when he asked where they were going.
“Hiccup I can believe. But Merida? I don’t really think she’d be happy.” That earned a laugh from Rapunzel, which made his heart melt. He smiled. I’m glad I can still hear her laugh again. “Wait, they have kids?” The sudden realization made him stop walking. Rapunzel turned towards him and nodded.
“Yup. Three of them,” she confirmed, and Jack stared at her in disbelief before smirking.
“So Hiccup finally had the courage to ask her to marry him. I wonder how he persuaded Merida into doing it three times-”
“Jack!” Even in the cold weather, he could see that Rapunzel was blushing hard. Jack laughed as they started to walk again.
“What brings you here, anyway?” she asked as they reached the house. Jack shrugged.
“It’s Christmas. I thought I should drop by, since I didn’t for the past few years,” he said, and Rapunzel nodded.
“Well, I’m glad you finally decided to come. Why didn’t you come earlier?” she asked and Jack laughed nervously.
“Well…” he sighed. “I didn’t want to see you guys all grown up. I just couldn’t.” Rapunzel nodded in understanding.
“What made you change your mind?”
“I missed you too much,” he replied, and Rapunzel wore a surprised expression. “And I thought that I wouldn’t care even if you fell in love with someone else and had kids. I just had to see you.” Rapunzel smiled sadly at him as tears formed in her eyes.
“Idiot.” She leaned in and kissed him gently. He pulled away quickly.
“No. I promised myself I wouldn’t do anything like that. You have a husband and I can’t-”
“I don’t have one Jack.” He looked at her, confused. “I’m not married and I don’t have kids.”
Jack furrowed his eyebrows. “Why?” The latter shrugged.
“Because I love you.” Jack’s eyes widened and she smiled softly at him.
“Come on,” she opened the front door of the house. “Merida and Hiccup would love to see you again.”