Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of any characters or trademarks named in this work.


"Hey guys, it's me." The boy looks down at the chipped rock.

"I know it's been a while." He grimaces.

"Yeah, a loooong while. Sorry about that. I know you love punctuality, Tooth." He looks at his toes.

"Sorry that I didn't accept those shoes you made for me, North." He scratches the back of his head and grins.

"They were pretty lame." He looks down again.

"I guess I could have at least tried them on. I bet you worked hard on them. Some lucky elf got them though, so at least he was happy." His face broke out in a grin.

"And you Cottontail, sorry about that last Easter. I just couldn't resist, you know? Old habits die hard." He spreads his arms wide, staring directly at the rock with a grin.

"Besides, old Sourpuss Phil told me I still had 6 weeks! You expected me to give that up? What do you take me for?" He laughed.

"Yeah, I should smile more, shouldn't I, Tooth? You always loved my smile. The girls went nuts for it, just like their mama." He chuckles a bit.

"And Sandy…" he smiles sadly.

"You were a great pal. I know you were the busiest of everybody, even Tooth, but you were one of the best friends I had. I miss your dreams." His smile drops with his gaze, to the ground, eyes darkening.

"Sorry I couldn't bring you back. I didn't know how." Shadows cover his eyes. "I'm so sorry…everyone." The tombstone is silent in response to the spirit's words.

"Ohana means family. I learned that from a kid once a long time ago. You guys were my only family. But I haven't had a family in so long…and I only had you guys for what, five years, twenty max? Ha. It's been so long now, it's hard to remember stuff like that." His hand falls from his face.

"Maybe I shouldn't have let myself get so attached, if I knew anything like this would happen…" He feels himself treading familiar path.

"But if I hadn't hung out with you guys during the time we did…I wouldn't have known how cool people could be. How nice people could be. I had nearly forgotten what a family was like." The smile returned, and he grinned at the stone.

"So…maybe it was better to at least know what having a family really felt like. I can hold on to the memories forever. I wouldn't have had any memories at all if it weren't for you guys anyway. I have you all to thank for that. So…thank you." A drop of water rolled out of one eye. Reaching his chin, it hung and began to freeze. A moment later, a frozen teardrop fell onto the grassy ground at the base of the monument.

Later he would stand and move the shard of ice to an open area of the stone; the teardrop-shaped ice piece would join a thousand others, exact replicas in beautiful pattern adorning the rock face.

A thousand tears for a thousand years without the ones he missed the most.

A hundred thousand nights alone with only the silent moon and restless wind for company.

A million thoughts to occupy his time in his lonely existence.

A/N: This is a teaser for a large Rise of the Guardians project I am working on. I hope you enjoyed the scene, and that you look for the full plotline in the future.