The story takes place about 15 years after Rise of the Guardians events.
Rated T just in case. Expect mentions of blood - there are vampires in this story after all.
I do not own Rise of the Guardians.
I do own my original characters: Claire, Oriol, Mist and Adam and the plot of this story.
Chapter 1: Don't mind the strange
"You can stop calling me Jack," the young Guardian said to them both. "I am Winter. Nothing more."
A week earlier:
Jamie was stir crazy. He'd been studying the whole morning and his brain was fried. He had to get out. As soon as he stepped outside, he felt winter in the air. It stung his nose and chilled his lungs with cold freshness. It was late autumn and it had been rather mild so far but today the air was brisk. He pocketed his hands into his jacket and continued walking.
As he got to the park, a strange sight met him. One tree was completely frosted over and the one next to it was not. While most people would look at that sight with a frown wondering what could have caused such an anomaly, Jamie's face lit up immediately.
"Jack is here."
He immediately started looking for more clues. There it was again. A frozen bench. He kept looking. A frozen light pole on his left. He looked up. The wire hanging from it was frosted over from that point up until the next pole only. He looked to the right and smiled seeing that the frost continued from the wires on the right side. He could imagine Jack lightly jumping from one to the other. He'd seen him do it many times before and never tired of it. He loved watching Jack do his thing.
After following the frozen trail he finally found the winter spirit sitting in a tree. He came closer to observe. Jack scrunched his brows in concentration and gently tapped a yellow leaf with his staff. The leaf froze on the spot and Jack moved on to the next one. There were still a lot of leaves left on this tree and he'd gotten through about a quarter of them freezing them one at a time.
Jamie tilted his head and curiously observed the strange scene thinking, 'What are you doing, Jack?'
Jack didn't notice him but continued this exercise. As he froze each individual leaf he appeared to get more frustrated. Jamie gasped. Not frustrated. Angry. It wasn't concentration that he saw on Jack's face before. As a confirmation to his thought, the temperature suddenly dropped a few degrees, the wind quieted down completely and birds from the nearby tree flew away in fright. Jamie knew what was coming. He quickly turned away, threw his hood on, jammed his hands in his pockets and braced himself.
Jack let out an angry scream and it was as if a freezing bomb went off. Jamie stumbled from the impact and felt a chill penetrate his bones. He immediately started to shiver and reluctantly turned back to the winter spirit.
The frozen tree no longer had any leaves left. "What did that tree d-d-d-do to you anyway?" he asked, his teeth chattering.
Jack snapped his head to him hearing his friend's voice. "Jamie!" he exclaimed leaping from the tree and gently landing next to him. "I'm so sorry. I thought there was no one here. Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Jamie answered, "b-b-but I think I better get back in-n-n-nside."
Jack didn't waste time but grabbed Jamie and flew him over to his house.
"Get in. Let's t-t-talk," Jamie invited.
As soon as Jamie came in, he kicked his shoes off and jumped in his bed still wearing his jacket quickly wrapping himself up in the cover.
Jack stood there fidgeting nervously, not knowing what to do. Finally, he found another blanket, threw it on his friend and quickly jumped to the other side of the room to keep his coldness away.
That haunting memory flashed before him. 'Jack. I can't feel my hands.' Oh, the horror of that day. Jamie was still a little kid. They were having so much fun doing snowball target practice, he didn't notice how much time had passed. And then Jamie looked up at him with these scared eyes holding his wet gloves up. He nearly got a frostbite. Jack has been more careful with all kids since then checking if they were dressed properly and limiting play time. He thought he had a grip on his powers by now. Yeah. Losing control and releasing a burst of his icy power in the middle of a populated area was a big no-no. 'Stupid. Stupid. Stupid!' he scolded himself.
Jamie was finally warming up under the covers. He observed Jack. He wasn't his usual fun-loving spirit today and Jamie had a bad feeling about this. Jack in this mood was bad news. Not only it meant an early winter but a very cold one. Plus, he was worried about his friend.
It's strange to be friends with the Spirit of Winter. The issues you encounter are definitely not "normal" but he always felt a bit proud of his status. He wasn't just any friend. He was his best friend and his first believer - the first human to see the invisible spirit.
"What's on your mind, Jack?" he asked. His teeth no longer chattered.
Jack sighed. He was lost in thought. He silently hopped over to the window and sat in the frame staring out into the street below. He finally met his friend's eyes with an apologetic look.
"I'm really sorry you got to see that… and feel that." He dropped his gaze to the floor ashamed.
"You're forgiven. But that's not what I mean. Something is bothering you," Jamie said softly. "I haven't seen you like this in… well, maybe never. Talk to me."
Jack leaned on the window frame observing the people on the street yet again.
"Look at them," he finally said quietly after a pause. "Going about their day. Living their lives. So very human. They too will be gone in a flash."
Jamie was confused but waited hoping the spirit would open up. He was finally starting to warm up so he took off his jacket, dropped it on the floor and went back under the covers. The room was always cold with Jack around.
Jack started to absentmindedly doodle frost patterns on the glass with his finger. After a while, he finally spoke, "You know, I've been curious about other nature spirits. I've been seeking them out."
Jamie's interest peaked. No, he didn't know about this. It seemed that he was going to get something out of Jack after all.
"I found a few," Jack continued slowly. "There's something I noticed they have in common." He now moved to doodle on the other side of the window as he was running out of space. "They are pretty content with what they are."
"And you're not?" Jamie asked.
Jack took a moment to answer thinking it over.
"No, it's not that. I like what I am. I don't have regrets. It's just," he cut off looking for the right words, "it's been a long three centuries, you know? And I'm starting to wonder if all this time I've been looking at it from a wrong perspective."
Jamie had no idea where this was going but stayed quiet allowing his friend to gather his thoughts.
"The other spirits, they… They're not like me," Jack continued. He now ran out of space on the glass. He waved his hand to remove the frost so he could start all over again. "They stick to their element. And just that. All nature. That's enough for them. And what have I been doing? I've been flying all over Earth looking for the meaning behind my existence among people. And I'm starting to wonder if that was a mistake."
Jack went quiet leaving Jamie perplexed. What was he trying to say?
"I thought that once you joined the Guardians, you got your answer," Jamie finally said. "You bring winter fun to children. That's why Man in the Moon chose you. That's your meaning. Are you saying you don't want to do that anymore?"
"No, it's not that," Jack quickly replied. "I like playing with children. And I will help the Guardians when they need me. I love that part but…"
"But what, Jack?" Jamie was getting frustrated.
Jack finally stopped doodling and hang his hand limply by his side. He propped his head on the glass and closed his eyes.
"I'm saying, I think I shouldn't be trying so hard… with people." He swallowed and continued tripping over his words, "I'm a nature spirit. I'm not human. Maybe I should stop clinging to this idea that my place is among humans."
The room was quiet now.
The room became quiet and Jamie sighed, thinking, 'Great. My best friend the Spirit of Winter is having an existential crisis.'
A/N: Hey there, my beautiful readers. Here's my very first fanfiction. I plan to rewrite it eventually, so I'd love to hear your opinion on what you think could use improvement.
THANK YOU, to all of you that have already left a review. I read them all and respond when possible.