All winter you’d done as he’d said; you kept one eye on the sky. Christmas soon came with its lights, carols, peace and good will and went in a flurry of glimmering wrappings, boxes, tags and ribbons. New Years followed not soon after; the bustle of people drinking, making merry and brining in the new year with a bang dwindled down to next to nothing before the first snow fall of the fresh year even blew into town, but to you it felt all to quick. To you it seemed that as soon as winter came, it went with the first wave of heat stealing with its warmth most of the hope you had that you’d see HIM again.
“Does he expect me to wait until next winter to see him again?” You mumble to yourself as a rather large pile of snow fell off the roof of the cabin you stayed in this winter season. Staring at it almost like you expected the pile of melting ice flakes to give you the answer you crossed your arms and made a face at the thought of waiting for the cold of the next winter season to bring the winter spirit back to your neck of the woods again. “That would mean waiting through ANOTHER Valentine’s Day, ANOTHER St. Patrick’s Day, ANOTHER Easter, ANOTHER Thanksgiving. Even Halloween comes before the next real cold snap!” You hollered at the snow but the only response to be heard was the echo of your voice against the walls of the sun room you stood in.
With a heavy sigh and a roll of your (eye colour) eyes you resigned yourself to your fate and traipsed backs inside the main house for your outerwear. Once outside again you threw your hands down to your sides and trudged off into the woods for one last look at the place before you returned to your home back in (town of residence) for the usual rigmarole of you and your families lives (and secretly because you hoped to bump into Jack again...).
Glancing from left to right you tried to imagine what would happen if you saw him now, this spirit of winter and fun. Would you be happy to see him one last time before spring or angry that he made you wait so long? Would he remember you? And worse still, would you still even be able to see him?
“What if I can’t see him anymore? What if he’s come back already and I just didn’t know it?” You mumbled a little disheartened. You always knew that people found it a little odd for a (your age) year old to still believe in things like magic, the Sandman and even Jack Frost despite everything they always told you to try and contradict what you thought you knew. However it hadn’t occurred to you until just recently that maybe you were starting to believe THEM over the magic; even if only on a subconscious level. At this you stopped dead in your tracks and turned your head skywards, the grey clouds looming overhead like a vulture circling its prey echoing your now gloomy mood.
“Jack, where are you...?” You whispered into the wind like you awaited an answer. But all around you the air was still and the clouds simply rolled by leaving nothing but the sickening silence of the creaking old woods behind the cabin. Sighing you closed your eyes and let your head fall as a single salted drop escaped from under your lids. “Maybe something happened because he ki...”
Before you even had a chance to entertain the idea in your head a strong gust of icy wind blasted its way through the thicket before the tear had even reached your jaw. The force caught you by surprise and nearly knocked you off your feet, the blistering cold sent several shivers up your spine from the wind having brought with it a flurry of snow in a sudden raging blizzard. The next thing you knew you were caught in a white out so thick you could hardly see your hand in front of your face.
Was this him?
“...Jack...” You whispered again as you looked around frantically for the winter spirit amid the surge of massive flakes. “Jack!” You called louder. Almost absentmindedly you started running in whichever directions your instincts told you to go in this angry blizzard but... No, not angry. That wasn’t it; this storm was upset. Something was upsetting and confusing about this storm which lead you to only one thought.
Something was wrong with the spirit of winter.
“JACK!” You hollered above the roaring wind. “JACK!!” Echoed your shriek as you came to a clearing in the forest. Almost as if on cue a light thud carried itself to your ears and you whipped around, heart racing and practically leaping into your throat once you saw the silver haired male crouched down on a boulder. “Jack...”
You ran to him and skidded to a halt when he lifted his head and his dimmed glacier eyes met with yours, the eyes that once held such a light to them. “Jack? What’s wrong?” You asked him. Jack shifted his weight and sighed shaking his head. “You’re not a very good liar.” You said trying to convince him to crack at least a small smile but instead he simply closed his eyes and eased himself off the rock ushering you into a hug; his icy embrace echoing the worry you saw in him.
“I’m sorry...” He finally said before letting you go. Worried as well now you tilted your head to the side and looked him over intently.
“For what?” You asked. When he said nothing you asked him another question. “Jack, where were you? I waited for you but I was starting to wonder if I’d ever see you again... What happened?” Now Jack looked guilty and he hung his head a little.
“Yeah about that...” He started. “Truth is I did come back. A few times actually, I just...” He paused and looked to the ground, the wind whipping his silver hair around as much as your own.
“You just what?” You urged him to continue.
“I was afraid.” He turned away feeling more embarrassed than before.
“Afraid? YOU?” You were honestly shocked. What in the world could possibly scare Jack Frost? “What were you afraid of, me? That I might not believe in you anymore or something?”
“No.” Jack looked back to you. “I wasn’t worried about anything like that... I was afraid FOR you.” Now it was your turn to bare most of the upset. What on earth could Jack be so worried about to the point he was afraid for YOU? “(Your name)?” Jack called but you were far too stunned to speak. The winter spirit placed a hand on the side of your face and planted a soft comforting kiss to your forehead in an effort to ease your mind. “I wasn’t trying to upset you (Your name), I’m just worried.”
“About what?” You finally managed to ask; quite glad that Jack decided to rest his head on yours in such a way that your beat red face wasn’t in his line of view. He was silent for a moment longer before he said anything else.
“I’ll tell you, but not now. First things first.” He said as he scooped you up in his arms like he had when you first met causing your already flushed face to practically glow a new shade of red. “I need to get you out of this blizzard before I give you more than frostbite....”
Now you couldn’t help but snicker to yourself. “Frostbite...” Coming from the man that invented the condition you found that statement more than a little amusing...
It concerned you that he seemed to take his time getting you back home. His eyes kept darting from one shadow to the next like he was expecting them to jump out at you both and you couldn’t deny that it was making you a little nervous. You were glad when he set you down in the comfort of your own room and locked the window before leaning against the wall.
“Thanks for the lift...” You said lightly. Jack nodded and leaned on his staff.
“Are you alright?” He asked. You snorted a bit at this and sat down on your bed.
“I’m OK. I’m a little more concerned about YOU though...” You grabbed a blanket and settled yourself into a comfortable position as Jack came and occupied the spot just to your left, the chill of his body already bringing an edge to the room. “So.... What are you so afraid of Jack?” Jack took a deep breath before responding.
“Are you afraid of anything?” He asked. You had to admit, it irked you a bit that he answered your question with his own question but you gathered he had his reasons for doing things this way.
“Well...” You thought for a moment as your eyes wandered the room. “I’m afraid of (Your fear – other than not remembering Jack).” Jack smiled and chuckled a bit for the first time since his return then shook his head.
“I don’t think you need to worry TOO much about that while I’m around.” He said. “But I was talking more about... Something else.” You pondered over his words for a moment longer but came up with nothing and took to searching his face for an answer closer to what he had in mind. That’s when it came to you.
“I...” You tried to word this so you didn’t come off as a weird stalkery type or clingy. “I’m afraid I’ll forget you...” You lowered your gaze and fiddled with the (favourite colour) fabric in your hands. “My biggest fear now is that I’ll give in to what everyone always tries to tell me and I’ll stop believing in you... I don’t know if I could go through another winter without being able to see you again Jack.”
“So it’s your memories then... Your memories of me.” He confirmed with a small nod. You were happy to see that smile crawl across his face at your words and had a hard time keeping your hands to yourself when he leaned in for another kiss, his frosty hand caressing the left side of your face as his cool lips danced across yours. “Hang onto those then.” He said in a soft tone, but there was something else behind what he said.
“There’s more...” You coaxed. The winter spirit nodded and his look took on a more serious tone.
“How’ve your dreams been lately?” He inquired narrowing his eyes. You looked him dead in the eye making absolutely sure he was serious about what he was asking you before you answered.
“Alright I guess.”
“You haven’t been having any nightmares at all?”
“No...” Jack made a face at you; he knew you weren’t being entirely truthful with him. “I mean not ALL the time. I have a few but they’re not that bad really!” You thought about Jack’s question for a second longer before deciding to pry some information from him. “Why do you want to know about my dreams Jack?”
“That’s what I was worrying about.” He said rather matter of fact. “When did the nightmares start?”
“Not that long ago but why do you need to know? What’s there to worry about?” You replied.
“Would you say they started within the last month?” Jack continued. He was really into asking questions right now wasn’t he?
“Yes, but Jack I don’t un-...”
“How about the Boogeyman...?” Jack’s last question caught you off guard. He really was bringing up the oddest subjects today. Come on, The Boogeyman? Why would he be asking YOU about the Boogeyman?
“What about it?” You asked seriously concerned about him now.
“Does he scare you?” Jack seemed to press the matter and sighed for the hundredth time when he saw your confused expression. “I know this seems silly of me to ask you all these questions (Your name) but I’m only doing this to protect you...” You sighed lightly and decided to give this BOOGEYMAN some serious thought for Jack’s sake. What harm could come of at least humouring him?
“I don’t THINK I’m afraid him.” You said after a moment of deliberation. “I mean I haven’t really thought about it in a while but I don’t think I’d be afraid if I saw him now, I’m (your age) after all. People my age aren’t usually scared of things like the Boogeyman anymore Jack.” When Jack nodded he drifted off into his thoughts leaving you both in a silence you couldn’t stand. Feeling a little awkward and wishing to break the silence you decided to crawl into his lap and rest your head against his chest quite smitten when he adjusted his position to accommodate you. “Why did you ask me about the Boogeyman Jack?”
“I beat him almost a year ago now...” He said, his voice rumbling in his chest against your head. “He was trying to destroy all belief in the Guardians by replacing it with fear. The children were having terrible nightmares just before he made his first move against us.”
“So what you’re saying is you're worried the Boogeyman is coming back is that it?” You confirmed.
“Exactly...” Jack said distantly. Then you really registered the last half of his previous sentence.
“Wait, what?” You lifted your head to look at him. “Who’s US?” Now Jack bore the confusion and he blinked owlishly at you.
“You know about the Guardians don’t you (Your name)?” He asked like he suspected you were simply joking around with him. But when you shook your head his jaw dropped in disbelief. “You don’t know about the Guardians... At all?” Again you shook your head so he decided to try and ask you differently. “Do you know who the Sandman is?”
“He’s supposed to be the one that brings you your dreams right?” You asked sheepishly.
“That’s right.” Jack turned his head and smiled a little mischievously now. “Do you still believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth-fairy or the Easter Bunny?”
“Uhh... Would you be mad if I said I didn’t know?” You hid part of your face with the front of his sweater a bit feeling a little put on the spot but Jack’s grin just grew wider and he started laughing to himself.
“Man I wish Bunny were here to see this...” He muttered to himself.
“Uh Jack?” You called to him bringing his attention back to you, that same self satisfied grin still plastered on his face.
“I guess it’s not unusual that you don’t know who the Guardians are.” He said gently sliding you off him. “At least you still believe in some of us.” As you were opening your mouth to respond the sound of the front door closing cut you off but it wasn’t until you heard your (mom/dad/aunt/uncle/sibling/caregiver) calling your name that you started to panic.
“We should go. NOW.” Before giving Jack a chance to reply you shoved him over to the window, unlatched it and pushed him out after which you turned around and bolted out the door and down the stairs.
“Hey (Your name)!” Your (mom/dad/aunt/uncle/sibling/caregiver) called as you rushed passed (him/her). “You forgot to lock the door. You know you’re suppose to lock the door while you’re here on your own.”
“I know I’m sorry, won’t happen again!” You shouted as you dashed out the front door and immediately took to searching for the winter spirit you had just shoved out your window moments ago. You were just glad he’d let the storm subside. “Jack?”
“You know a little more warning before tossing me out your bedroom window would be nice...” Came his disgruntled voice. Smiling you spun around on your heel and gave him a quick and rather harsh hug.
“Sorry, I was panicking a bit...” You laughed when Jack just rolled his eyes.
“Oh it’s fine I love being tossed out windows about as much as I love being thrown in a sack and tossed through a magic portal.” Jack chuckled.
“Far as I know that only happened once mate.” Bunny’s voice startled Jack and he whipped his head around to face the agitated rabbit behind him.
“Bunny!” He said excitedly. “What’re you doing all the way out here?”
“Lookin for you actually.” Bunny replied stepping towards him. You on the other hand were beyond confused now because as far as YOU were concerned, Jack was talking to thin air.
“Jack? Who are you talking to?” You asked causing the invisible rabbit and Jack to turn to you a little stunned.
“She’s joking right?” Bunny asked looking back and forth between you and Jack. “Please tell me she’s joking...”
“You really can’t see him?” Jack asked you. You shook your head slowly, VERY slowly, before you even entertained the idea of replying.
“No. The only person I see is YOU Jack. Just you.” You said bluntly.
“Wait just a second here...” Bunny growled. “D’you mean to tell me that she can see YOU of all people but not me?” Jack just smiled at him while you continued to stare at him utterly confused.
“I’m starting to worry about you Jack Frost...” You muttered more to yourself than him.
“OK, remember when I asked you if you still believed in the Easter Bunny?” He asked.
“Yeah but...” You started.
“What if I told you he WAS real.” Jack continued.
“Oi, I’m standin right here!” Bunny hollered at the winter spirit.
“OK?” You said skeptically. Jack playfully rolled his eyes at this.
“Well he IS real and he’s one of us.”
“Us? You mean the Guardians you were talking about?”
“Yes! Me, Bunny, Sandy, North and Tooth we’re real. We’re all real.” Jack stopped when he realized he had you by the shoulders. “We’re all real (Your name), we’re the Guardians and we’re here to protect you and the others who believe...”
“Speaking of believers, Jack.” Bunny interrupted. “We’ve got trouble. We need you back at the pole mate.” When those words left Bunny’s lips Jack’s look became steely and he turned to the rabbit.
“What kind of trouble?” He asked.
“They’re getting worse...” Bunny replied just as serious. Jack sighed and thought this over for a moment before he turned to you and said.
“(Your name) I have to go...”
“What?” You gaped. “But Jack you just came back!”
“Hey,” Jack placed his hands on your shoulders again and gave you a soft smile. “You believe in me right?” He waited until you nodded before continuing. “Then trust me when I say I’ll be back soon, and this time I really mean it.” Reluctantly you nodded and gave him one last hug before watching him depart, shaking your head as he started talking to the ‘Easter Bunny’ apparently beside him. It was then you decided to take yourself for that last walk in the woods before you and your family left for town again.
Unfortunately for you both, neither you NOR Jack were counting on the fall that was about to change everything when HIS smooth and dark voice slithered out of the shadows and startled you down the hole and into the shadowy lair of the Boogeyman himself.
Pitch Black was back with a vengeance indeed...
Are you ready, Jack?