A/N: I'm aliiiiiiive! MonochromeBlue's request really made my inspiration skyrocket, and this oneshot is basically me fangirling about how beautiful the piano is. As a pianist myself, everything that Jack thinks about the instrument are basically my own thoughts, and how I would react. (I will admit, though, I'm not as big a fan of classical music as Jack is. ^^;)
MonochromeBlue, I hope you and everyone else enjoys this! (And also, no promises about a close update in the future—classes are honestly insane. I'm neglecting my huge pile of homework for you guys! You should all be thankful. xD)
Music is the Voice of the Soul
Chapter Summary: A journey through Jack's past, and how music plays a "key" role in his life after.
Year 1720—8 years since Jack emerged from the lake
It intrigued him.
Jack pressed his fingers against the cool glass, frost curling on the window at his touch. A look of wonder was on his face as he watched the man's fingers fly across the keys, and Jack cocked his head as he absorbed the music coming from the . . . the pianoforte, he believed it was called.
When the man left the room, Jack cautiously opened the window and landed lightly next to the instrument, placing his staff on the side. He reached out his hand, pale fingers ghosting over the ebony and ivory keys. Filled with a sudden urge, Jack pressed down on one of them, delighted when the note sounded throughout the room. A smile threatening to overtake his face, he eagerly sat down at the bench and placed both hands on the keys, his fingers dancing across them. More "music" filled the small area, and Jack sighed, staring longingly at the sheets propped up on the stand. There were symbols and lines and other words (and was that Latin?) scattered throughout the paper, and Jack hadn't the vaguest idea what any of it meant.
He promised himself, though, as he flew out of Padua, Italy, that he would learn.
Anything to keep his mind off of the loneliness that he had begun feeling.
Year 1850—138 years since Jack emerged from the lake
The years went on, and Jack was now proud to call himself "proficient," if not excellent, in playing the pianoforte—now simply known as the piano. He had hung around more in Europe after his firm resolve to learn how to play the beautiful-sounding instrument, and lucked out, managing to find a "willing" teacher named Leopold Mozart in Austria.
(If Jack hadn't spent an odd number of years learning random languages out of boredom, he probably wouldn't have been able to benefit as much as he did from these lessons—because it turned out that they spoke German in Austria.)
About a century ago, Leopold had spent much of his time instructing his two children, Maria Anna and Wolfgang Amadeus (which were honestly mouthfuls compared to his own Jack Frost) in the art of music, and Jack was enthralled. He would sit in the lessons, and he learned as quickly as the children did. Besides music, Leopold would teach them a variety of other subjects, and as a result—Jack received a better education than when he first came out of his pond.
When the youngest Mozart died in 1791, Jack left Austria and began traveling again. He had met the spring seasonal, Flora, a few years after his birth, but only met the summer seasonal, Kasai, in 1796. Meeting the two of them made Jack's heart soar, as he realized that he wasn't really alone, but had two older sisters watching out for him.
Jack discovered that he had a great ear for music, after being exposed to it for so long. He could sight-read practically any piece (though Jack preferred making up random songs), but there were a few that he dedicated to memory. This range would expand as more and more composers created music that Jack liked.
Also, he was pleasantly surprised to note that the little boy he took piano lessons with was a famous name in the musical world. Jack felt a great deal of pride for him, even though the man had no idea that Jack even existed.
But around this time was when Jack caught wind (haha pun—Jack loved puns) of the idea of the Guardians—four immortal beings that protected the children of the world. He practically idolized them, because like them, he loved children as well. He would do anything to keep them safe, happy, and having fun.
It was hard to see the Easter Bunny, because his holiday was in the heart of spring, when Jack would be the deepest in slumber. He promised himself, however, that he would try to see him one day.
The Sandman and Tooth Fairy, however, were even harder to catch a glimpse of. Jack had attempted to talk to the little baby fairies flitting about, but had only gotten a hurried—albeit warm—chirp in return. And the dreamsand showed up every night exactly on time (9:00 p.m.), but he had never seen the maker himself.
So what was a curious young winter spirit to do? Well, to go see the Guardian whose holiday took place in his very own season!
And Jack, being the perfectionist that he was, planned this visit for about a week as he sat next to his pond in Burgess, Pennsylvania. He idly laced another layer of ice over the surface (a habit he'd gotten into), and thought. Should he walk through the front door? Did Santa's workshop even have a front door? Maybe sneaking in through a window and surprising him would be a good idea . . . Jack had heard that Santa was friendly.
Would the elves be kind, too? Jack wondered as he stood up and stared at the moon. As he looked into the starlit sky, a feeling of bitterness made him bite his lip. Although he'd never admit it aloud, Jack's true intent in visiting the North Pole was to see if Santa knew that he existed. To see if someone besides his seasonal siblings (who were seen rarely) cared.
When Jack woke up the next morning, he untangled himself from his brown cloak and began his flight north. He was feeling quite excited, actually, and he spurred Wind on, to make him go faster. Jack whooped in delight, the feeling of the cool, thin air rushing into his face and filling his lungs intoxicating him.
In what seemed like no time, Jack found himself floating nervously above the North Pole. No matter what anyone said, Jack Frost was not scared of meeting Santa Claus (or North, as he was more popularly known in the spiritual realm) and screwing up his first impression.
Not at all.
Jack dove down toward one of the windows near the top of the building and pushed it open (he really had a lot of luck with windows). He had to squint a little bit as his eyes adjusted to the darker environment, and he gasped in surprise as he realized exactly what kind of room he had broken into—
A music room.
His staff clattered to the floor as bright blue eyes drank in the sight of what must be a piano covered in a beige tarp in the middle of the large room. Not wasting any more time, Jack rushed to it and pulled off the tarp, coughing at the dust that flew into his face. But as the dust settled, a large grin formed on Jack's features as he took in a gloriously polished, midnight black grand piano.
Because of the protective tarp, the piano looked brand new. And—after lifting the cover and pressing a G—was somehow thankfully in tune. Jack wasn't entirely sure how to tune a piano, so this was truly a godsend. The sound of an untuned piano made Jack want to cringe.
Jack lifted the lid of the grand piano (they were his favorite kinds because of the beautiful sound that they emitted, but uprights were okay, too!) so that the sound would be louder and less dampened, and sat down on the soft leather-cushioned bench. Jack felt like a giddy schoolgirl as his mind whirled with what song he should play first.
He was very partial to Mozart—since he had learned from his father—but he had grown to appreciate other composers' music overtime.
And soon, the sound of the piano began to fill the room. The music swelled, the dynamics giving it life and emotion, letting Jack just let everything out in this one piece. The notes morphed into another, more somber and quiet, and then into one filled with joy and mischievous staccatos. Jack played on, a soft smile on his lips, until the door flew open with a bang.
Jack flinched, his fingers slipping from the keys, and he turned to face the door. To his surprise, there stood what seemed to be a yeti with a stern look on his face. It (he? She?) growled something unintelligible, and Jack cursed himself for getting so distracted. His main mission was to try to meet one of the Guardians, but had been too caught up in the wonder of playing to realize how much time had passed.
"H-hey," Jack said, slowly standing up and closing the cover over the keys. Backing away to retrieve his staff, he smiled sheepishly and crouched at the windowsill, already poised to take off. "I'm not looking for any trouble, honestly, I just wanted to meet North."
The yeti seemed to understand, but shook its head no.
Jack's heart fell slightly at the dismissal, but kept the bright grin on his face. "Oh, um, okay! And you have a great piano by the way, maybe I can come back sometime?"
A nod was sent his way by the yeti, and Jack's smile became less forced. "Really?" he asked hopefully. "Thanks so much!" As he turned to leave, Jack asked another question. "Oh, hey, what's your name?"
The yeti mumbled a series of indistinct noises, but the only thing that Jack could catch was something close the name "Phil."
"All right, thanks, Phil!" Jack called cheerfully. "I'm Jack Frost, but you can just call me Jack. I'll see you soon!"
The newly dubbed "Phil" shook his head and sighed, then padded over the window and closed it, but still keeping it unlocked.
Jack Frost . . . Phil frowned and wondered why he'd never heard of such a spirit before.
Year 1935—223 years since Jack emerged from the lake
Jack broke into the North Pole at least twice a month since that first attempt, most times just to play the piano in the top floor of the workshop. The other half were dedicated to avoiding Phil and finding North. Of course, Jack never succeeded, but Phil always gave him small treats and carried him to the piano room after being caught.
The most recent venture resulted in Jack's cloak being ripped after it got snagged on a pole, and in apology, Phil offered to sew it up. Acquiescing, Jack now found himself sitting patiently on a small wooden stool in his white shirt and vest, watching Phil sew the tear in the aged fabric. And when he got it back, Jack couldn't tell that it had been ripped in the first place.
But it seemed that this wasn't the only gift that Jack was to receive—Phil also held out a simple blue hoodie, gesturing for him to put it on. So Jack did, smiling at how soft and warm (though Jack didn't really need warmth) it was against his skin. The familiar frost patterns began to coat the sleeves, front pocket, and hood the longer it stayed on his body, and Jack found himself liking it more and more. Beaming, he threw his arms around the yeti in thanks, then rushed upstairs on the well-trodden path to the room he loved best in the workshop and placed the repaired cloak on a music stand, where it would stay for quite some time.
But when Jack wasn't visiting his music room and Phil by extension, spreading snow in various countries and giving snow days, or just simply lounging by his pond in Burgess, he was constantly learning new pieces to play.
Sometimes he would go and drop by Carnegie Hall in New York and watch a performance, and when it was over, Jack would go and play the piano himself. He had to be more careful here, though, because—even though it hurt Jack a great deal to think about it—no one was able to see him, but they would probably still see the keys moving on their own and hear the phantom music in the air.
Jack, though considered a prankster by most, was still very kindhearted. A part of him thought it funny to freak the unsuspecting performance-goers out with his piano playing, but the other part of him felt guilty at the thought.
And now that Jack was older, he knew what most of the other spirits thought of him. He had met the Sandman a couple decades back, and Sandy was now privy to the knowledge of seasonal hibernation. Sandy seemed to like Jack, and Jack adored the Guardian in return.
Others, however, resented Jack and his season. As a result, his playing had become more somber, reflecting his dampened mood. Even after being alive for more than two centuries, the Man in the Moon still refused to answer Jack's pleas of why.
Why was he never satisfied with not being seen?
Jack hated being lonely, but there was still a small spark of pride in his independence, a stubborn streak a mile wide. These feelings made Jack increase his efforts to be seen by the children he played with, but still to no avail.
His name had somehow been released into the world, often being used as a silly moral, but no one ever gave the thought that the "Jack Frost" they talked about was ever real.
And it hurt.
Year 1968—256 years since Jack emerged from the lake
It was the Saturday before Easter, and for some strange reason, Jack was still awake.
Well, no, Jack knew the reason why he was still awake, but it felt weird to see the bright pastel colors of Easter decorations hanging outside of houses instead of the red and green of Christmas.
A week ago, Mother Nature had sent Flora and Jack a double message through Wind, instructing Jack to extend winter, and for spring to begin later. Jack didn't like this, as he knew that the blizzard that Mother intended to happen would fall right on Easter Sunday, but Mother knew best. And it didn't matter what the other spirits thought—the wellbeing of the Earth took priority.
Night fell, and Jack sighed heavily and floated high into the sky. He felt it, the shift in the air that signaled the need for change. With a deep breath, Jack closed his eyes and expelled all of his energy through his staff. Heavy gray clouds quickly formed, promising a few feet of snow. And it delivered. So once all of the necessary elements were fulfilled, and Jack's store of magic was depleted, he fell unconscious, landing in the snow.
Later, Jack was woken up by the shifting of snow, and quick, light footsteps. He quickly got up and hid, bright blue eyes peering from behind a picket fence. His eyes widened upon discovering that it was the Easter Bunny, and that he looked angry.
Guilt pooled in Jack's stomach upon seeing the furious expression on Bunny's face, and he had half a mind to go and apologize, but the hateful words that were spat out of the Easter Bunny's mouth made Jack's heart plummet like a stone.
"I'm gonna throttle the kid when I get my hands on him. Jack Frost's probably laughin' after ruining my holiday . . . Now I've lost believers 'cause of that stupid spirit."
Unwanted tears pricked Jack's eyes at the hurtful statement, and once Bunny had left the area, Jack fled as well. He needed comfort, and only Phil and his piano could do that for him.
But to Phil . . . Jack's newest composition had never sounded so heartbreaking.
Years 1969-2012—a tumultuous time for Jack
Jack's cheerful personality was dampened after the Blizzard of '68. Phil was a little worried whenever he heard the depressing strains of music floating through the floorboards of the workshop, and would often come by to offer support (along with a slice of cake). He wasn't entirely sure why Jack had suddenly become so upset, but Phil would do his best to look after the distressed teenager.
But for Jack, the piano provided an escape from his overwhelming emotions. His passion was his distraction.
Jack's old self soon came back after an amount of time, but was more guarded. He became snarky and sarcastic, and took more pleasure in playing tricks on other people. His name soon appeared at the top of the Naughty List every year, ironically becoming recognized by the rest of the Guardians once his previously sweet personality had become a little abrasive. To Phil's sorrow, they thought that his cynical behavior was his true nature.
To Phil, however, that kind boy would appear. His innocence was thankfully still present, and occasionally cheerful music would play in the upper floors of the North Pole.
And Jack's music stayed cheerful (with the random emotional piece for fun) after he became a Guardian, and for that Phil was glad. The child that he had gotten to know and comfort for 162 years finally had other people to care for him, and his dream of having believers had finally been realized.
The forgotten child was now loved.
December 26, 2013—a little over a year since Jack became a Guardian
"Where is the little bugger, anyway?" Bunny asked, as he lounged in his seat at the long wooden table with the other Guardians as they waited for the yetis to finish preparing Christmas dinner.
"Jack is here," North said thoughtfully, staring at the yetis bustling around. "He has been here since this morning, but I have not seen him since."
"Have you asked the yetis?" Tooth ventured as she sipped her sugar-free hot chocolate.
"Good idea, Toothy," North said, standing up and walking to the kitchen, where he knew he would find Phil—Jack's favorite yeti.
"Phil!" he boomed as he opened the doors. "Have you seen Jack?"
"In the music room," Phil replied distractedly as he took the chicken out of the oven and turned to mash a giant bowl of potatoes. Where the yetis managed to find food, North had no idea.
But North was still stupefied by the answer he was given. "We have a music room? And why would Jack be in there?"
"I don't know. Jack's been going there for decades, though. Top floor, by the way."
"Thank you, Phil," the Guardian murmured as he stepped out of the kitchen.
"So where is 'e?" Bunny asked, the three Guardians looking up from their conversation.
"The . . . music room," North said slowly.
"Ooh, I had no idea you had a music room, North!" Tooth said, her eyes shining. "Do you know why Jack's there?"
"Maybe he's singing," Bunny said sarcastically, and Tooth smiled enigmatically in response.
"Well, we cannot have our late Christmas dinner without all of our members present," North declared, gesturing to the others to come along.
So they began wandering throughout the workshop. (North had to wrack his memory for any recollection of a music room, but eventually ended up having to ask a passing yeti for directions.)
They found themselves walking up a staircase, and then they soon began to hear something. North frowned, trying to recognize the sound. It . . . it was—
"A piano," Tooth breathed.
The music was coming from behind a closed door at the top of the stairs, and the four Guardians eyed each other, silently urging them to be the one to open the door first.
In the end, it was Tooth who soundlessly pushed open the door, and the four Guardians stepped softly in . . . to find their very own Jack Frost at the piano and playing beautifully.
"He's pretty good," Bunny admitted quietly with a look of awe on his features that he would later deny vehemently.
North wondered when he had made this room, and it must've been a long time ago because until Phil had mentioned it, he hadn't been aware of its existence. As he listened to Jack blissfully play on, though, he was glad that he was able to create an accidental sanctuary where Jack would be surrounded by the music that he loved.
"Let's go before Jack realizes that we are here," North whispered, tiptoeing out of the room.
Half an hour later, Jack joined the other Guardians at the table. "Sorry," he said, sliding into his seat. "I was just a little caught up in something. Am I late?"
"It's all right, Jack," Tooth said, smiling. "And no, you're right on time."
"Well, that's good," he said, looking relieved as he put a large scoop of macaroni and cheese onto his plate.
They all began to eat, and the Guardians silently came to a conclusion. They wouldn't ask Jack about his piano playing if he didn't mention it. It would be good for Jack to have a private escape—one that he could call his own.
"Oi! Jack, since when could you play the piano?"
Jack's spoon paused midway in its path to his mouth, and he turned to stare at Bunny with wide eyes.
North, Tooth, and Sandy inwardly sighed, sending Bunny pointed looks.
. . . Or not, North thought fondly as he watched Jack turn a light shade of pink and stammer out excuses under Bunny's interrogation.
Guest: Thank you so much! And well, here's a continuation (though I honestly have no idea when I'll have time to update again). :)