Disclaimer: don't own Guardians
Jack landed on his lake and smiled, tipping his head back to just enjoy the breeze. He stretched, feeling so much more relaxed. He loved it when he could get away and just be Jack Frost for a while. It meant no one could see him but that didn't bother him as much as it used to.
Even after close to four hundred years, it was still his lake, the place he had been born…or reborn. According to Skaði, he had been human once, brought back as a Spirit by the Man in the Moon who had given him his name and then nothing else. He didn't care, he had a family now, he had a purpose. If it wasn't the one he'd been meant for then too bad, not like the Moon had ever spoken to him. Still, he needed time away sometimes, he did like to have some space. So then he would simply be Jack Frost and come back to his lake or travel.
Unfortunately, he wasn't just there to relax. Everyone had heard of the latest clash between the Guardians and the Nightmare King. Jack had come as soon as he could because Burgess was his and they had dared to use it as their battleground.
The wind danced around him, whispering to him and he began walking through the snow, coming to an open area where he found the remains of people having had lots of fun. There were snowmen, signs of snow forts…and a snow bunny? A closer look at the snowmen showed that several were far beyond the skills of a child and those were made to look like the Guardians. That was rather interesting. He tapped the rabbit on the nose with his staff, chuckling when it turned to ice.
"Hello?" a young voice called, and Jack looked over to see a boy staring at the now ice rabbit, wide brown eyes staring around. "Are…are you a Spirit?"
That definitely got Jack's attention. The boy couldn't see him, eyes squinting as he looked around, but he knew enough to realise a Spirit was likely there. Jack hesitated, no one had ever seen him, not as Jack Frost. Could this kid maybe come to see him? He hesitated but then decided to try. He tapped his staff on the ground lightly, watching the frost pattern form, swirling around where he stood in a very deliberate way, see the kid's eyes light up.
"Wow, that's cool. So you make frost?"
Jack wondered if he could communicate more. Something had always stopped him before but maybe because he seemed to already know about Spirits? He carefully drew on the snow, grinning when the frost formed into an exclamation mark and the kid laughed.
"I believe you exist and are there, but I can't see you. Do I need to know your name to see you?"
Jamie moved closer, exited to meet another Spirit, even if he couldn't see or hear them. There was a little nervousness after Pitch but how dangerous could someone who made such pretty frost patterns be? He hadn't seen any of the Guardians since the battle which made him sad, he knew Sophie really missed Bunny too. "My name's Jamie," he offered and grinned when a smiling face was carefully drawn. "Maybe I can guess who you are?"
The exclamation mark seemed to shimmer, and he nodded.
"Right. You turned the snow to ice?" the mark shimmered again, and he grinned. "You can make frost too. Can you do anything else?" he asked and then watched as it began to snow. "That's you?" he asked to be sure, seeing the confirmation. The wind suddenly picked up, swirling around him, ruffling his hair and making him shiver. "Well, you're definitely a Winter Spirit…" that got another confirmation and Jamie laughed as the snow seemed to dance around him. Right…winter… he tried to think of anything but could only come up with one…because his Mom had mentioned the name, but what were the chances? "Well, my Mom mentioned one last week and he's the only one I can think of right now."
A question mark formed in the snow.
"She mentioned Jack Frost." Jamie told the Spirit and then his eyes went wide as he found himself staring at an older teen with white hair and really bright blue eyes, his skin as pale as the snow around them. "Jack Frost?"
The teen grinned. "He said my name," he laughed.
"You're real…" Jamie grinned back, and the teen froze before leaping up to perch on top of a Shepherds staff that somehow stayed upright, blue eyes wide.
"You can hear me?" he asked, sounding hopeful and Jamie nodded, staring up at him. "Can you see me?"
"Your eyes are really blue," Jamie told him, and the teen laughed, springing into the air, flipping back to the ground.
"He sees me!"
Jack was in shock; the kid had heard of him! He...he could see him! He really could! How else would he know his eye colour and the boy…Jamie's eyes were following him.
"You're not really going to nip my nose are you?" he asked, and Jack laughed, shaking his head.
"No, I don't know where that comes from either, especially since no one's ever seen me before." It was true, no one ever saw him as Jack Frost. He took a step towards Jamie who didn't flinch, he just watched him curiously. Jack reached out his hand, would he go through him? The kid lifted his hand as well and then Jack felt warm skin under his. Jamie grinned and shook his hand.
"It's nice to meet you Jack Frost."
Jack grinned at the formal greeting. Jamie didn't flinch from the chill of his skin like most non-Winter Spirits would. "You're not scared?"
"Why would I be?" Jamie asked him. "You don't work with Pitch do you? Cause the Guardians kicked his butt."
"You know about that?" well, that worked out well.
"Uh huh," the kid shifted, beginning to look a little nervous and Jack smiled at him.
"I definitely don't work with Pitch, can't stand the drama King," he told him, and the kid laughed. Jack wandered over to a slush covered bench and wiped it clear, sitting on it, patting the seat beside him. "I won't hurt you," he promised, happy when Jamie joined him on the bench. It felt weird to sit on it, but he wanted to put Jamie at ease, to be more on his level. The more human he acted the better.
Jamie swung his legs, staring at him, obviously curious. "Do you live here?"
"Not all of the time. You know the frozen lake?" he asked, and the kid nodded. "That's where I was made."
"You were made?" he asked in confusion.
"I don't remember anything before waking in the ice. I've been told that I was human once, but all I know is being a Spirit. I died in the lake as a human and came back as a Winter Spirit."
"Are all Spirits dead humans?"
Jack shook his head. "Not all, some were never human, others became Spirits without dying." He didn't mind the questions; it wasn't like the information could be used against him. "The way I've heard it, North…I mean Santa, he was human but didn't die while the Easter Bunny was never human, not sure what he is honestly."
"His boomerangs are cool," Jamie grinned, and Jack laughed.
"Wouldn't know, I've never seen them, so I'll take your word for it," he offered, twirling his staff. He tapped it on the ground absently, spreading frost trails.
"That is cool too," Jamie told him, watching and Jack smiled.
"Thanks. So for you to have seen Bunny's boomerangs and to have asked about Pitch…you didn't actually see the fight did you?"
"I was there, Pitch came after me. They called me the Last Light?"
Jack felt a flash of alarm. He wasn't old enough to have been around the last time Pitch had caused trouble, but he'd heard about it. He'd heard the stories of other worlds and the war that destroyed them…and watch Pitch did to people, especially children. "You weren't hurt were you?" he asked.
"The Guardians protected us," Jamie told him.
Jack didn't have much faith in them, not that he would say that to a kid. Still, Jamie was the first to ever believe in him, not his position. He reached out and gently tipped his chin up, inspecting his face, looking into his eyes, searching for any sign that Pitch had gotten his hooks into Jamie. Surprisingly the kid stayed still, letting him inspect him. He was amazed the boy was shivering at his touch, he had to feel cold to him.
"I'm okay, right?" Jamie asked nervously when Jack let go.
"As far as I can tell."
"Why were you worried?"
Jack took a deep, unneeded, breath but began to explain what he had heard about Pitch over the years but trying to keep it kid friendly. "If you start having lots of nightmares or feeling funny then you need to get a Guardians attention somehow, even if you have to yank a tooth out and leave a note with it. Okay?"
Jamie nodded seriously and Jack reached out to ruffle his hair, getting a laugh. "Do you want to know what happened?"
"If you want to tell the story," he agreed, leaping off the bench to sit in the melting snow in front of it with crossed legs, looking up at Jamie who laughed again.
Jamie fell into bed, cheeks red from so long outside and around Jack. He kind of radiated a bit of cold but it wasn't too bad. He was different to the Guardians, more…relaxed? He was fun but also serious. Why hadn't the Guardians told them what Pitch could do? Maybe he couldn't anymore so they didn't think it necessary? Jack only knew about him from old stories after all.
He liked Jack and he hoped he'd see him again. Though probably not this year since it was Spring already. He didn't want him to get in trouble visiting him during someone else's season or something.
Jack set his staff in its place and dropped onto his bed. Despite not technically needing sleep he liked just relaxing in a bed from time to time. There had to be some perks to being King of such an unruly bunch. His day had gone better than he ever could have imagined! Not only had he found out far more about the scuffle with Pitch than he had expected to, he had his First Believer! Being believed in as just Jack Frost was amazing and different to being believed in as the Snow King.
He would make sure to visit Jamie as regularly as he could and not just to hopefully have his friends believe too. There was just something about the kid that lifted his mood. He was so wide eyed and curious about everything. He remembered being like that when he'd first come out of the ice, everything had been new and exciting. He knew Jamie would be expecting to not see him again until next winter but unlike many seasonal spirits jack did not sleep through the other seasons. He could stand even summer heat for a time if he needed too. It wasn't like it would actually hurt him, just tire hm out. It was why the Palace was in the wilds of Siberia, placed there by one of his predecessors thousands of years ago. Technically he could move it but why bother? Wasn't like people could see it unless they believed and if they did, well there was only one reason to go looking for the place.
And he should have kept thinking about cheerier things as he felt something tug at the edge of his senses. He sight but got up and changed from the clothing he had woken as a Spirit in into clothing fit for the Snow King, silks and furs in purest white. He vanished in a swirl of snow, reappearing on an almost empty street, seeing a child huddled by a park bench. He knelt before the child who looked up at him with wide, beseeching, green eyes and held his arms out. The little boy scrambled into his embrace and he stood with the child in his arms, vanishing as silently as he had come.
He pressed his lips briefly to ones almost blue with cold, numbing the child so that he didn't feel the cold anymore, feeling the small body go limp in his arms. He walked into a bedroom decorated for a child and gently settled him into the warm bed, brushing his fingers through fine black hair. "Sleep well little one," he murmured before leaving the room, passing Fuyuko in the hallway. She was one of the Yuki-onna who lived in the Palace and she cared for any children who came for as long as they remained, either until they joined the Winter Court or were given to a new human family.
Jack returned to his rooms and stripped off totally before getting back into bed, closing his eyes to rest.
Jamie looked up in shock at the knock on his window, grinning as he saw Jack outside. He got up and went to open the window. "How are you here? It's Spring!"
"Yep," Jack floated into the room and settled into a crouch on his bookshelf. "You didn't think a little thing like warm weather would stop me coming to visit did you?"
"You won't melt or get in trouble or something?"
"Nope, I don't melt. If it gets really hot and I'm in it too long then I'll get a bit tired but that's it. And there's no rule about not being out and around, so long as we don't mess with each other's seasons. And it's heading into Winter down south, so I still have work, but I can stop by and visit."
"So what were you doing?"
"Homework," Jamie pouted.
"Right…that's a school thing right?"
"Did they have school when you were human?"
"Well, if I came back around the same time as I died…yes, there were schools, but the town here didn't have one, it was too small then to have a proper school. Kids here learnt in the Church and at home." He curiously had a look at the books. He assumed he had lived in the town and received the same kind of education; he'd been able to read and write without being taught as a Spirit after all. Jamie's school work though looked very complicated. His history homework was better, and Jack could tell him about it because he'd been there, he hadn't enjoyed the work during either World War, but he'd still had to do it.
Jack smiled gently at little Tommy, holding his hand as he led him to his new home. His new mother was one of the children Jack had rehomed many years ago. He found those children were always willing to take in others once they had grown up and they could still see him. You didn't have to be a child to believe in the Snow King. He knocked on the door and Marie opened it, bowing her head to him and then smiling at Tommy, offering her hand. Tommy glanced at him and Jack nodded, letting go of his hand. Tommy hesitated but then took her hand and Jack slipped away.
Jamie grinned as he read his latest magazine, there'd been a bigfoot sighting not too far away. He glanced up to see the others messing around. It had been six months since the fight with Pitch and they were closer than ever but…Pippa and Claude were saying it had been a dream or a game. How could they think that?
Jack was hopefully visiting today, maybe….maybe he should see if Jack would meet his friends? While he kind of liked having Jack to himself, was that fair to Jack or his friends?
"What're you reading?" a familiar voice asked over his shoulder and he looked up, grinning at Jack.
"Bigfoot sighting only a hundred miles away. I've seen some of Santa's yeti, one even signed my book! But this is different."
"Jamie? Who are you talking to?" Monty asked, pushing his glasses up nervously.
"Jack Frost, he's a Winter Spirit but don't worry, he doesn't melt in the heat or anything. I met him a few days after the fight with Pitch."
"Jack Frost?" Pippa asked, not sounding very convinced.
Jamie looked at Jack who stared at the kids but then tapped his staff on the ground, causing a small pattern of frost.
"Whoa!" Claude and Caleb called even as Cupcake clapped.
Pippa stared at the frost and then looked up, frowning, before her eyes widened. "Jack Frost?" she asked, and Jack bowed.
"This is so cool!" Monty cried.
Jack sat on his 'Throne', mediating a dispute that was boring him to death, again. It was coming to the end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. He'd soon be out spreading Frost, most people didn't realise that he wasn't just a Winter Spirit, frost could be found in Autumn and Spring as well.
He'd been spending a lot of time in Burgess, but not just to see the kids. He was keeping an eye on the town, in case Pitch decided he wanted payback. He may be too weak to threaten the Guardians for a few centuries, but a group of mortal children? He didn't like their odds if he moved against them. Personally, he wouldn't mind taking the Nightmare King on. And he may as well enjoy having Believers while he could. Cupcake was going to be ten in a month, Jamie would be nine in two months. How much longer would they be able to believe? The final cut-off age was usually between sixteen and seventeen, no matter how strong the belief it would end during that year. He didn't know why, and no one had been able to tell him, it seemed no one knew. Even if he told them his other identity, they would only see him as the Snow King once past that age. Magic was strange and frustrating. At most, he had seven, almost eight years left with the younger kids in the group. It would hurt when that happened, the kids had become his friends, with them he got to act the age he looked, he got to play and have fun.
Thankfully, his Court was actually well behaved. They knew better than to cross him, he may look young and scrawny, but he was powerful, and he would not stand for senseless killing. He was a different Winter to others, but they had come to see that his way worked.
Jamie groaned as Sophie landed on him. "Sophie!"
"Birthday!" she cheered ,and he sat up, rubbing his eyes.
"Thanks," he shoved her gently off his bed and got up, something on his desk catching his eye. He went over as she ran off to find Mom, grinning at the small box wrapped in blue and silver. He opened the card to find it was from Jack, not surprising because of the colours. He opened the box and pulled out a leather cord with a perfect snowflake on it. He quickly put it on, feeling the slight chill as it rested against his chest. According to the card, it'd help him not be too cold in winter and would let Jack know if he was in trouble, the note didn't mention the fact that it would remain, until he stopped believing. When that happened it would melt and Jack would know, saving him the pain of having his first Believer walk through him.
Jamie got dressed and ran downstairs for his Birthday breakfast and presents.