Disclaimer: Nope still don’t own them and probably never would.

 

AN: So I realize that Christmas was over a week ago but I was out of town and just got the chance to finish this up. So I hope you consider this a belated gift. I also realize that this isn’t my usual couple but really this idea was so suited for them and there are so few stories about this pairing. So I hope you enjoy it, I sure had fun writing it.

 

Huge thank you’s to Pink_green_white_forever and Angel. I love you both for all your help!

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Cold, it was never cold in Briarwood, even at four in the morning; this was California after all, the temperature stayed pretty moderate, except for this morning. He guessed it was the weather trying to get into the spirit of the season, much like everyone else around him. It was now December twenty third, two days before Christmas and normally he was always so happy during the holiday season but this year something was different. He just didn’t feel as cheery as normal and he had an inkling as to why; it seemed that everyone around him had someone to call his or her own for this Christmas.

It had been a mere few months since they’d all served as protectors of both the human and magical realms, and it had been a year full of changes for them all. He’d gone from a believer to an actual sorcerer, and now he was training to be a knight. When he thought about that, he knew he should be grateful for everything he had, magic, great friends, a stellar family, and a job he loved. But there was still a part of him that longed for what everyone seemed to have but him.

Nick had come home a month after he’d left, taken up residence in Rootcore with Udonna, Lienbow, and Clare, and had finally asked Maddie out on a date. That he’d seen coming a mile away, and when it had finally happened, he’d been happy for them, especially now that they were getting so serious. What surprised him the most had been when Xander and Vida had announced that they were a couple, and when everyone actually saw them together, it seemed to work out. The two were serious about making it work despite the fighting and making up they did. Which made him smile; he was happy they had all found someone, but he, Chip Thorn still had no one.

He knew that people would think he was insane for walking into the forest at this hour. Magical protector or not, it was still far too early for normal people to be up, but he wasn’t normal. His training didn’t begin until six but he liked to be there early, to watch the sunrise, to think, and most importantly, to visit the resident sorceress he’d come to call one of his closest friends. So he walked towards Rootcore in silence, huddling into himself in an attempt to keep warm until he got there.

XXXXXXXXXX


At Rootcore, Clare tried to keep her eyes open, wanting to finish this last page before going to bed for a few hours. She’d wanted to go to bed earlier in the night but had found herself thoroughly engrossed in the book Chip had lent her. This made her need to stay up until she was practically falling asleep on the table she was at, curled in a blanket, hair braided, an empty mug of tea in front of her. It seemed that this book was a means of escape, a way of seeing that there was still hope in the world for her to find someone on this lonesome holiday.

Christmas was going to be here soon and while she was normally one of the most chipper magical beings about the holiday, this year was so different and she knew why; almost everyone around her was taken and happy with their significant other. Udonna had Lienbow back for their first holiday in almost twenty years; so of course the two engaged in all rituals sweetly, lovingly, as did Nick and Maddie, who’s relationship seemed to be unbreakable, were also very much into the holiday rituals. Even Xander and Vida had each other, a shock to her at first but now she saw how well the two matched. Even Daggeron had someone to call his own in Itassis. The two were a strange pairing but like Xander and Vida, they worked together, challenged the other, and Clare was happy for them all. Really she was, except she couldn’t help but want what they all had, for herself.

Everywhere around her they all acted so loving, so couple-like with the spirit of the season in them that at times she and Chip, the only two not with anyone had tried to escape the mass amounts of affection around them. She smiled drowsily as she thought of her best friend, the two of them had really become so close in the past few months, talking constantly, visiting, they even had code words for when they needed to escape. It was a good friendship; one she treasured and knew was special because he was special to her.

Yawning she glanced at a nearby clock and grimaced at the time, knowing that deciding to stay up and read all night would come back to bite her in the butt later today, but still she couldn’t help herself, she wanted to finish the book. Yet as she turned her blury eyes back to the pages she let her head rest on her arms and a second later was drifting off into the sleep she’d been denying herself.

Sighing in relief, he finally reached the dragon’s head and quickly stepped inside, glad to have the rush of warmth overtake his cold body. He quickly took his cape off and threw it on the coat rack Lienbow had made weeks ago, glancing around the room for some sign of Clare, knowing that it was highly possible she was still sleeping. She rose early but rarely was she ever up at this hour. Which was why he was surprised at seeing her familiar blonde hair on the table nearby. Upon walking closer, he smiled softly at the sight of her asleep there, curled into her favorite purple blanket, book beneath her head as she breathed evenly in her sleep. Chuckling, he walked over to her and decided to move her to her bed, wanting her to wake up comfortably after probably only sleeping for a little while.

Gently he slid his arms travel underneath of her body and grabbed ahold, lifting her into his arms and settling her there. He felt her shiver and burrow into him, a whimper escaping her lips.

“You’re cold,” she murmured, slowly opening her eyes to look at him.

“And you’re exhausted,” he countered back. “Did you stay up all night reading that book?”

“I blame you, you’re the one who lent it to me,” she responded before cuddling into him again. “Why are you an icicle?”

“It’s freezing outside. But I’ll be fine, let’s get you into bed.”

“No, go to the couch, it’s closer. I’ll let you share my blanket with me.

“You sure?” he asked, already moving to the couch on the other side of the room, receiving a look from her.

“No, I’m not sure at all, I’m only offering to let you warm up with my nice blanket, already warm because of me,” she remarked sarcastically getting a grin out of him.

“You’re spending to much time around V,” he remarked playfully as she just raised an eyebrow at him.

“And you’re just saying that because you know she’s not around. Now get me over to the couch so I can use you as my pillow.”

“Oh I see how it works, you’re just offering me warmth in exchange for a human pillow, how devious of you Blondie.”

“Learned from the best Magic Boy,” she replied playfully as he set them on the couch. “And you’d better be kicking those shoes off if you’re planning on laying down, I will not have dirt on this couch.”

“Yes m’am,” he mock saluted as he took his shoes off and settled himself back on the couch, letting her unwrap the blanket and settle it over them both before settling down beside him, cuddling into his body, her head resting on his chest.

“So I’m guessing you liked the book I lent you?”

Mmmhm, especially when he fought off the snake.”

“Oh I know! It’s just the best when that happens. I knew you’d like it!”

Shh, clam down, too early. I do like it, but some of those spells…so inaccurate.” Chip chuckled and held her to him, reveling in the warmth and happiness she’d managed to instill in him after he’d been feeling so lonely just a few moments before.

“What do you expect Blondie, it’s fiction. Can’t expect Harry Potter to be all-accurate but it’s a seriously great work of literature. I’ll give you the third one when you’re done with this one. But I promise, I’ll make sure its when you don’t have anything to do the next day,” he murmured as he looked down to find her fast asleep against him, breathing even as she huddled closer to him. Chip smiled and held her to him, letting his eyes close as he enjoyed having her in his arms, feeling for the first time in quite a few days completely and utterly whole with her.

When Udonna entered the main room of Rootcore she immediately felt something different about it. As her gaze wandered around the room she immediately noticed what, Chip and Clare, lying together on the couch together, contentedly asleep in the others arms. She noticed the way Chip held her niece, tightly to him, as though if he let her go the world would come to an end. Clare burrowed into him, her ear just above where his heart beat. Udonna smiled at the sight, glad that the two were finally seeing what she had been seeing in the time she’d returned home.

Silently she began to back out of the room, wanting to leave the two in peace for just a while more but stopped when she heard the dragon’s head opening to reveal Daggeron walking in.

“Udonna, have you seen Chip we’re supposed to be….”he trailed off when she put a finger to her lips and motioned to the couch. She watched as Daggeron’s eyes widened slightly at the sight before turning back to her a wide smile on his face already.

“It seems they are starting to get the picture when it comes to each other. I think that I shall ‘cancel’ training for today. Tell Chip Itassis needed me and I shall see him on Christmas for the party. If Lienbow doesn’t kill him first,” he chuckled when she did and slowly backed out of the room, intent on going back home for the morning.

Udonna smiled then and walked over to the two of them, tucking the blanket around them tighter, grinning when she heard Clare muttering in her sleep.

“Chip, hold me,” she murmured sleepily and to Udonna’s joy Chip did so, unconsciously bringing Clare closer to him. Her head snapped up when she saw Lienbow walking out of their room and over to her, his eyes widening at what was before them.

Before he could even utter a word Udonna turned to him and gave him something all Ranger woman have mastered-‘the look’-one that told him that he was to, in no uncertain terms, disturb them or he would suffer dearly. He gulped slightly and backed away, instead choosing to head for the kitchen and start preparing breakfast for everyone that would be arriving soon.

Udonna smiled as he left, checked to be sure Chip and Clare were warm enough and went after her husband to help prepare breakfast for the others when they arrived.

An hour later a very awake Maddie was heading into Rootcore, shaking off the cold with Nick grudgingly trailing behind her. “I still don’t see why…”he grumbled out but stopped as soon as she turned around and gave him a look.

“Nick, I know you aren’t a morning person but your parents asked us to help finish decorating. It’s not going to kill us to help them do this.”

“I know, I know,” he sighed and helped her out of her coat. “Its not that I don’t mind helping them, it’s just so early. The last time I was up this early I think we were going to bed,” he said as she just blushed at the implication, causing him to grin.

“Oh you’re evil Russell.”

“I know and you love me for it,” he smirked and leaned into kiss her. “Mmm that helps wake me up. Now all I need is some coffee and I’ll be good to go.” Maddie rolled her eyes and leaned into kiss him again but found herself stopping halfway at the sound of a snicker.

“Oh look it’s the two lovebirds canoodling. Why am I not surprised?” Vida teased as she hurried inside with Xander right behind her.

“You know just because Nick and I can actually be affectionate this early in the morning, unlike you two. does not give you the right to make fun of it,” Maddie countered with a grin, only to receive an eye roll from her sister and Xander.

“Oh yes it does Sis, you make fun of us all the time. This is merely payback,” Vida countered as Xander grinned and pulled her into his arms.

“Besides mates, we were affectionate, just before we came here,” Xander remarked, chuckling at the looks on both Nick and Maddie’s faces.

“Xander, too much information. I don’t want images of you and Vida getting freaky in my head. Too early to instill that torture,” Nick warned as his best friend simply grinned.

“I’ll stop with that if you two stop being so sugary sweet.”

“Deal,” the former Red and Blue Mystic Rangers said in unison, causing everyone to laugh.

“Alright now that we’ve all been roused out of bed at this ungodly hour might I ask where in the hell is Chip? He’s usually here way before any of us. How he does it I will never know,” Xander asked, his eyes searching for their friend.

“I don’t think any of us ever will but speaking of being up early, where’s Clare? She and Chip are always up together. This is strange,” Nick muttered as he joined Xander in the searching.

“Guys….”Maddie trailed off, her voice soft as her eyes landed on the couch on the other side of the room. “Look at the couch.”

All gazes immediately went to the couch and at that moment you could’ve heard a pin drop as they all stared at the sight before them; Chip and Clare on the couch, curled into one another, contentedly sleeping and unawares they were not alone.

“Oh. My. God,” Xander whispered as everyone just nodded.

“When did this…how….he’s supposed to be the innocent one!” Vida said, startled, as she watched Chip’s hands brush across Clare’s chest unintentionally. “That is not my innocent Chip and Clare.”

“V, shush and calm down. They’re just sleeping, his hand was accidental I’m sure,” Maddie muttered as she looked at her sister. “I don’t think they meant for us to find them like this.”

“No really you think?” she asked sarcastically.

“All of you shut it or we wake them up,” Nick order calmly. “And I don’t want to do that and give up the precious ammunition this has given Xander and I. Chip’s always ragging on us and now….this is a gold mine.”

“Oh no you will not do what you’re thinking,” Maddie stated, rounding on him with a glare. Nick gulped at the look in her eye and immediately backed away when she leaned in and fiercely whispered, “Do it and I swear you are cut off for the next week.” He jumped at that and nodded, giving into her immediately.

Xander groaned at the sight of Nick giving into Maddie and knew it would be up to him now. “It’s alright mate, I’ve got our backs I’ll-”

“You’ll what exactly? Because I swear if you tease and taunt him I won’t sleep with you for at least a week and I will not wear that Santa outfit you bought me at Victoria’s Secret. Got it buddy?” she threatened fiercely as he gulped and nodded.

“Right, got it, yes m’am. Promise, no teasing or taunting. Please don’t be angry.”

“I’m not angry yet,” she said with a smile before turning back to Maddie and giving her a grin. “What are you planning Sis? I see that look, you learned it from me.”

Maddie grinned and turned to Vida. “Well look at them, they look so happy together, content. I’ve always thought they were cute together, they’re so similar, and they flirt all the time. I don’t think they realize it and I think we need to help them.”

How so?”

A little….forced communication is all. Nothing serious but….boys we’ll need your help, you in?”

“Sure, why not. If we can’t tease might as well plot.”

“Good boy,” Vida remarked playfully as she kissed him briefly, stopping when she heard someone coughing in the background, turning away from Xander she smiled at Lienbow and Udonna.

“Hello everyone. Good to see you and I trust you haven’t disturbed our sleeping friends?” Udonna remarked sweetly. “Or rather the girls haven’t let you boys.”

“Of course not Udonna, we know better than that,” Maddie responded with a smile. “We actually want them to sleep because we have ourselves a plan and we need your help. Those two deserve to be happy and with each other. Can you get them up while we….set it up?”

“What are you planning first?” Lienbow questioned as Vida grinned mischievously.

“Oh well…we need the balcony.”

“And some fire,” Nick added in.

“Blankets.”

“Chip and Clare would be nice,” Xander smirked.

“And well, if we force them out there and don’t let them back in until they become a couple…..well….happiness all around.”

Half an hour later the balcony was ready to go, smiling Vida closed the door and walked over to the kitchen where everyone was trying to warm up.

 

“Oh Chip and Clare so owe us for this,” Xander gripped as he shivered and immediately walked over to his girlfriend and tugged her to him. “Warm me up love.” She rolled her eyes but leaned into him all the same.

 

“Big baby. But you’re right on one thing, they will so owe us if we pull this off.”

 

“Of course we’ll pull this off,” Maddie remarked with a grin. “This is us after all but we need to get them up, anyone want to volunteer for the job?” She asked with a grin as she looked at Nick who immediately perked up and looked at Xander who smirked.

 

“Xander and I definitely volunteer! Let’s go, we need some payback,” Nick said gleefully as he jumped up from the table and headed towards the other room, Xander smiling and following after giving Vida a quick kiss.

 

The two stepped into the room together, slowly creeping towards the sleeping pair, getting so close they were right above them. Chip and Clare slept on, completely unawares of the two above them. Looking at each other Nick and Xander smiled and counted down slowly, silently before both of them loudly shouted to the sleeping pair.

 

“WAKE UP!” Chip instantly bolted awake and almost lost Clare to the floor as she shrieked and held onto him tightly.

 

“What the hell,” he said as his eyes flew open to find Nick and Xander looking down at them, smiles on their faces.

 

“Aww look Nick, they look so peaceful now don’t they?”

 

“Oh definitely. Did you two have a nice nap?” Chip scowled as Clare glared at the two of them and pushed herself away from Chip to stare at them.

 

“Oh you two think you’re so funny don’t you, just you wait until I wake up more because I swear you will not be able to have children when I’m through with you,” she threatened, anger boiling when she saw them just chuckle.

 

“Like you really would Clare, then you couldn’t have nieces and nephews to spoil. Plus Mom would kill you,” Nick said in a sing song voice. “She wants grandchildren and if you deny them from me….well you can deal with her wrath.”

 

“Oh I’m so telling your girlfriends,” she threatened watching their smiles wane slightly; not knowing it was all an act.

 

“Go right ahead. They’re on the balcony doing something for Udonna,” Xander said, stepping back to let Clare stand up and hold a hand out to Chip.

 

“Come on Chip, I want you there too.” Chip grinned and took her hand letting her lead him towards the balcony door, turning back once to speak to the boys.

 

“You’re in for it now,” he taunted as Nick and Xander just smiled and followed them.

 

“Go and try,” Xander responded, motioning to the outside. Smirking Clare led Chip out there and before either of them could say anything the door was promptly shut and locked behind them.

 

It took the both of them all of three seconds to realize that Maddie and Vida were not out on the balcony and that they were alone. When they turned towards the door they grimaced to each other when they heard four snickers coming from the other side.

 

“Xander! Nick! Open this door right now! It’s freezing out here!” Chip bellowed only to receive more snickers on the other side.

 

“We know mate, but we made you two a cozy fire and left you some blankets.”

 

“Xander Bly you just wait until I tell Vida!” Clare shouted as she shivered and allowed Chip to wrap an arm around her waist to pull her closer.

 

“I already know. This was partially my idea Clare.”

 

“Now you two calm down. We’ll let you two back in…when you finally realize how you feel about the other. So talk, cuddle, get closer,” Maddie said, the triumph evident in her voice. “We promise we’ll let you in when that happens.”

 

“What?!” Chip and Clare exclaimed in unison, receiving snickers once again.

 

“Exactly what Maddie said; we aren’t letting you in here until you talk and become a couple,” Vida declared. “We’ll check on you in a while, until then…we’ll be helping Udonna.”

 

The laughter died then as the four walked away from the door leaving Chip and Clare outside to talk.

“Well this is just peachy keen. What are we supposed to do now?” Clare asked as she leaned into Chip, taking in the warmth he was giving her, noticing the slight racing of her heart that occurred when he kissed the top of her head.

“We’re going to go take advantage of that fire and those blankets. I refuse to let us freeze to death out here. Come on, your already shivering like mad,” he remarked as he steered them towards the fire and blankets, settling them on the ground by the fire and wrapping the three blankets they had around the two of them. He pulled Clare against his chest and rubbed her arms with his hands, hoping to warm them both up, barely registering the racing heart he now had with her so close to him.

“Any b-better?” he managed to get out.

“T-truth or lie?”

What do you think Blondie?” She chuckled then and curled into him, wanting to give him some warmth that the cold seemed to be taking away from them both all too quickly. She couldn’t remember the last time it had been this cold in the forest, she certainly hadn’t been alive, and right now she just wanted it to go away so they wouldn’t freeze.

“I’m so cold, this is nice, but it’s still cold. And you’re shivering too, I feel it. Our friends are idiots, honestly,” she muttered, smiling when she felt his chest vibrate with laughter.

“They are and they really think that we should be a c-couple I mean really, us, a couple?”

Clare looked up at him then, her eyes meeting his and it was then she noticed exactly how perfectly her body fit with his. The way he held her so close to him, the caring she saw in his eyes just made her feel so safe. She always felt that way with him, her heart always skipped a beat when they were together and here and now, despite the cold, her insides felt strangely warm; a sensation she wasn’t used to at all. Her heart felt so complete, whole, and she was happy with him because she knew that no matter what Chip would protect her.

“Y-yeah,” she softly responded. “Us a couple really…”she trailed off and just curled into him even more.

Chip smiled inwardly when she did, having her body pressed to his in this fashion made him feel completely content despite the mind numbing cold in his body. Clare was easily his best friend, confidant, and the way she clung to him, talked to him and the emotion he saw in her eyes made him feel completely and utterly giddy. He’d never felt this way with anyone else and with her he just knew it was special. No one else made him feel as though he could climb the tallest mountain because she believed in him. Inside he felt so warm with her here, knowing she’d get him through this, that she was his reason for doing so. With Clare he felt like everything was perfect in the world.

He moved his head downwards at the same time hers came forwards and before either knew it their lips were touching, freezing in shock at first and then giving in and melting into the other. Clare surprised herself when she let her lips be guided by Chips into a sweet kiss, romantic as he pulled her to him. When they pulled away they were both breathing unevenly, eyes alight as they looked at the other.

“Wow,” she whispered out. “That was…”

“Perfect?” he finished for her as she just nodded.

“Exactly, a perfect first kiss,” she admitted, her face turning red at the confession. She watched as Chip looked at her in shock and then a smile graced his lips.

“Don’t be embarrassed, I’m happy I was your first kiss, that it was special,” he said, gently tilting her chin to his. She smiled shyly and let him press his forehead to hers.

“It was and I think it’s because it was with you. Chip, I have a confession; I like the idea of us as a couple,” Clare admitted.

“Really?” he asked, a giddy grin crossing his face as she nodded.

“Really. I feel so happy when I’m with you. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather be with.”

“Well that’s good because I feel the same. I want to be the only man you ever kiss.”

“Speaking of kissing, Chip can we do that some more? I liked it, a lot,” Clare confessed, her cheeks burning again. He chuckled and nodded, kissing her cheek before slowly moving to her lips.

“For as long as you’ll let me do it, Merry Christmas Clare.”

AN 2: Hope all of you had a lovely holiday and may the new year be bright and cheery!