AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hey everybody! Welcome to this fic! Just so you know, this starts off a bit slow, but things pick up by the end of Chapter 2. Also, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT GENRE THIS IS. It kind of has everything, but there's a ton of humor (at least, people are increasingly telling me so in the reviews!) and it's technically a romance, so I put that. I'll explain more later.
You should also know that—except for shifting ROTG back to take place in the same year as Frozen—I make a great effort to STAY AS 100 PERCENT TRUE TO THE CHARACTERS AND SETTINGS AS POSSIBLE. Despite the fact that we are taking a page from Disney's and Dreamwork's books and flinging historical accuracy out the window, it is now 1842. Earlier this year, in March, Jack Frost became a Guardian, and in July, a young woman named Elsa was crowned the Queen of Arendelle. Skip forward to the following December, and our story begins.
1: THE NICE LIST
A gust of icy wind tore through the Workshop, sending a shudder through the Guardians as it swept past, rattling the silver lids against their platters. North slapped his hands down onto the table, rising from his chair and letting out a hearty laugh as the gangly, white-haired figure shot up past the globe, flipping over the Control Station balcony and tumbling forward through the air in a flurry of snowflakes.
"JACK FROST!" he boomed, his stomach shaking. "COME! Sit down at table and eat!"
Jack laughed as he dropped onto the carpet, kicking his staff onto his shoulder. "I was kind of surprised to get your summons," he admitted, a wave of confusion sweeping over his face, "Um—what's all this?"
"I can see that," he chuckled, eying the banners hanging from the rafters above the table. "But—um—what—are we celebrating? Exactly?"
There was a faint whirring sound, and Jack raised his eyebrows, glancing back to the other end of the table. Toothiana was hovering above her seat.
"You, Jack," she smiled. "We're celebrating you."
Looking down to his feet, Jack smiled sheepishly, giving an embarrassed little shrug and sticking his free hand into his pocket. North beamed, beckoning to yeti standing at attention by the fireplace, and the yeti snorted, shuffling forward to meet him. Handing the Guardian of Wonder a scroll, it then stepped back, standing at attention as North unrolled it, holding it up in the air.
"For the first time in three hundred and nineteen years," North announced, pausing to raise a bushy eyebrow in Jack's direction and clear his throat, "Ahem—three hundred and nineteen YEARS—an individual currently known by the name of Jack Frost has made the Nice List."
Trumpets blared, and Jack's eyes widened as a pair of yetis regally stepped forward, draping a garland over his shoulders. "Now—wait," Jack laughed, "Seriously?"
"You're not the only one who's surprised," a gruff voice scoffed. "I couldn't believe it either."
The Youngest Guardian arched an eyebrow, looking back to the table. "Thanks for that vote of confidence, Bunny."
A distinct, golden shimmering glimmered through the air as the Sandman, floating a few inches above his seat, silently laughed at Jack's retort, seeing the Guardian of Hope's expression. Grinning eagerly, Jack then pulled out one of the old wooden chairs from the table and scrambled into it, dropping the shepherd's crook in front of him with a clatter.
"So," Jack said, reaching across the table and taking a chicken leg from one of the silver platters, "Less than a year of the Guardian gig, and I get a celebratory feast? Nice!"
"Not just a feast," North chuckled.
He shoved his chair back from the table across the stone tiles, and then smacked his enormous thighs. "COME! Sit on my lap! Tell me what you want for Christmas!"
"Sit on your—wait. No way. No—AUGH!"
CLUNK. The chicken leg dropped back onto his plate, and with one yeti taking each arm, Jack yelped as he was helplessly yanked up into the air, kicking out his legs in shock and knocking over the wooden seat. As the other Guardians burst out laughing, Jack heard it fall to the side with a crash as he passionately protested, yelling and struggling as the two yetis calmly carried him across the room. Reaching the Guardian of Wonder's chair, they held him up for a long moment, then unceremoniously dropping him into North's lap.
Before he could jump off, North lunged forward, seizing the back of his hoodie.
"Put—me—down!" Jack gritted.
"But you need to tell me what you want for Christmas."
"Seriously?" he groaned, "Couldn't you just ask me?"
"I HAVE to be sitting on your lap?"
"Reasons." North leaned forward, gazing deep into Jack's eyes. Jack flinched at the awkward closeness. "Now tell me," North whispered, "What—do you want—for Christmas?"
Jack's breath caught.
He opened his mouth to say something, but then glanced to the side, quickly shutting it again. He quickly shook his head, forcing another laugh. "I—I think I'm good," he stammered. "There's nothing I want. I've got everything I need."
North's eyes narrowed. He then sat back, a pensive expression on his face.
"Jack Frost…" he said quietly. "You know that you can—"
"Seriously! There's nothing I want!"
Jack shoved back North's arm, leaping down off his thigh. He spun around and took a step back, inching towards the table again with his hands in the air. "I've got everything, okay? I have ice powers, there are a lot of kids who believe in me, I know my center, I help people have fun, and," he added, leaping to the side and snatching it up off of his plate, "I have a chicken leg. Which is really good, by the way."
"I will pass on compliments to the chef," North said slowly. "But—"
"—In fact, yeah, I think I'm going to go think about my center some more right now," he snapped, his brow setting defensively. "See ya."
He ripped off the garland and let it fall to the ground, reaching across the table and snatching up his staff. Then, turning and pacing quickly across the room, Jack Frost launched himself into the air and burst out through the tall wooden doors.
And the other Guardians found themselves sitting in silence once again.
"So… that went well," Bunnymund offered.
North found Jack sitting in his favorite window, absent-mindedly creating frost patterns on the glass. Snow fell softly outside, twirling and spinning in the wind, and it had gotten dark, but Jack hadn't lit any candles or lamps, sitting all alone in the moonlight. North walked up behind him, folding his arms across his chest.
"You lied to me, Jack Frost."
Jack's back stiffened.
A few flurries of snow beginning to materialize out of the air around him, he determinately kept staring at the window. "No, I—no, I didn't."
"Yes, you did," North pressed, leaning forward. "I can tell."
"Gosh, is that so?" Jack murmured sarcastically. "I'm fascinated."
He rolled his eyes in feigned annoyance, drawing in his left knee slightly closer to his chest. North could see the edges of Jack's ears turning slightly pink, his muscles tense as he struggled to keep color from rising to his face.
North drew himself up again, towering above Jack by the window. "I always know when someone is not telling me what they really want for Christmas. I can feel it," he said casually, leaning forward and smacking his stomach. "In my belly."
Jack's eyes widened slightly, and he jolted, the flurries freezing in the air. He then let out a sharp, breathy laugh of disbelief, turning around and meeting North's gaze. "You're kidding."
"Of course not," North chuckled. "Why do you think I make you sit on lap?"
Shoooooonk. North pulled up one of the huge overstuffed chairs to the window, sitting down. Relaxing into its rich cushions, he looked back to Jack, a good-natured glint in his eye. "The belly always can tell."
Jack sighed. He turned back to the window, flicking his hand across the glass and forming an elaborate snowflake, then pulling the edges out into increasingly complicated patterns.
"So…" North started again.
Jack squeezed his eyes shut. "What do you want, North?"
"What do you want, is the question."
Jack set his jaw, looking more intently at the snowflake. North sat back in his chair.
"Aaaaah… I see," he began knowingly. "You are lonely. Some companionship, perhaps?"
"—I could arrange it, you know. There are many wonderful young women on the Nice List. Or," he laughed, "The Naughty List—if you prefer—"
"Naughty Li—wait, what? NO," Jack protested, abruptly sitting up in the windowsill. "That is NOT what I want—I mean, I wouldn't mind it if that was in my life, but—"
"Jack, it is perfectly normal," North chuckled, "There is time in every man's life that—"
"—I am not hearing this—"
"—And natural urges might begin to—"
"—NORTH! Oh my word. STOP!" Jack spun around, his face flushed.
North shook his head, laughing softly and pushing himself up from the chair. He began walking over to a table on the side of the room. "If you insist, Jack Frost. But it's really nothing to be embarrassed about."
"Auuuuurgh," Jack groaned, leaning his head back against the windowsill. "Why are you doing this to me? I know you haven't tortured Bunny about this. He would have killed you. And since when are you matchmaker?" he snorted, "I thought that was Cupid's thing!"
"Ah yes, Cupid. That little devil is only person in history to beat you on naughty list record," North chuckled. "And for Bunny—well, you know how rabbits are."
Jack paused for a moment, processing the statement. As North picked up a plate of cookies and began to walk back towards the windowsill, Jack then pulled in a long breath, squeezing his eyes shut and kneading his forehead.
"Wow," he choked. "I did NOT need to know that."
North chuckled, sitting back down into the chair. "No matter. Cookie?"
North shrugged, pulling the plate back towards himself and selecting a small, dark wafer. "You still haven't answered question, though," he said, eying the cookie. "What do you want for Christmas?"
He tossed it into his mouth, savoring its flavor as he intently watched the Youngest Guardian's expression. Jack's piercingly blue, snowflake-marked eyes were now soft with sadness, his mask of feigned annoyance beginning to weaken.
Ah, yes. There really was something.
The flurries of snow started materializing out of the air again, glinting in the moonlight as they softly fell in the windowsill, floating silently to the floor. After a few more moments of visible struggle, Jack finally sighed, leaning his head back against the windowsill. "North," he started softly, "You can't get me what I really want."
North's eyes narrowed slightly in thought.
"Try me," he whispered.
He selected another cookie, looking at it for a second before popping it into his mouth. Jack pulled in a deep breath.
"Life's been great since Jamie," Jack blurted. "I mean, really. People believe in me now, so it has been. But that doesn't change all those years of isolation. Or—well—hi, I have ice powers and I don't know why," he stammered. A smile tugged at the edge of North's mouth as Jack continued. "I could help people have fun and things, but I couldn't ever really have control over anything."
North's bushy eyebrows lifted slightly. Setting the plate of cookies to the side, he leaned forward in the chair, setting his elbows on his knees and interlacing his fingers.
"So, you want to get beyond the past?" he asked quietly.
"No—well, yeah, but that's not it," Jack sighed. "I mean—the past will be there, but as long as the past is in the past, it's okay. It's only an issue when its effects are still lingering in the future."
North nodded, saying nothing. Jack bit his lip, and North watched as he hugged his knee slightly closer into his chest, then shaking his head slightly. "I just—every time I'm just trying to do the right thing, still just trying to get used to this whole Guardian business, and then someone will just walk through me—honestly?" Jack choked. "It kills me."
A silence fell over the room.
Seeing the pain in Jack's face, North pulled in a long breath, calculating his words carefully. He looked down to the floor, opening his mouth to say something, and then closed it again, glancing back up to the gangly young man in the window.
"Almost no one believes in us forever, Jack Frost," he whispered.
"Oh, I know that." Jack leapt down from the windowsill, sticking his hands into the front pocket of his hoodie and starting to pace the room. "I just—what I really want is to have a friend—sorry, a friend my age," he corrected, spinning around as North raised his eyebrows, "Who might understand what this is like."
The statement took North completely by surprise.
"Three hundred and nineteen years old?" he asked.
Jack blushed. "I meant my frozen age. Like—nineteen. Or so."
North became quiet, leaning back into the chair as Jack turned away from him again, walking to the other side of the room and picking up his staff. North's eyes narrowed slightly in concentration, he stroked his beard, glancing upwards in thought. Then, the Guardian of Wonder leaned back in his chair, counting on his thick fingers, as if he was remembering something he hadn't thought of in a long time…
A pensive expression on his face, North's bushy eyebrows lifted slightly in the realization. "Twenty-one…"
And he fell quiet again, a hint of a little smile tugging at the edge of his mouth as he resumed thoughtfully stroking his beard.
After a few more moments of silence, Jack let out a bark of bitter laughter.
"My point," he snapped. "See? You can't get me what I want. I want someone who understands, and they don't exist. Are you happy?"
Jack, holding the staff, folded his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall, glaring intently at North across the room. North laughed softly, planting his hands on the arms of the chair and pushing himself up out of it.
"Adults are so easy," he chuckled, slowly shaking his head. "If they won't tell you what they want, you guess money or sex. Either you are right—and you can't give it to them—or, they will be offended and tell you."
Jack's face flushed.
"Okay. You win," he mumbled, staring at the ground. "But now do you at least see why I didn't want to tell you?"
North shrugged, walking towards him. "That what you really want is a friend, about your age, that understands—let's see," he said, pausing and counting on his thick fingers again, "Ice powers, isolation, loneliness, wanting to be appreciated, getting used to new position of power, and struggling to control anything in surroundings while people don't notice efforts to do right thing—to help you get beyond the past?"
"Right. Doesn't exist."
Jack shook his head, his shoulders slightly hunched in embarrassment as he slunk past North towards the door. Unmoved, North crossed his enormous arms over his chest.
"You so sure about that?"
North chuckled and began walking over to an enormous chest of drawers on the other side of the room. Reaching for one of the knobs, he pretended not to notice Jack's stunned expression at the statement. "Have you ever heard of Arendelle, Jack Frost?"
"Arendelle? You mean that place in Norway?" Jack asked. "No, no, no. I only go to places that actually NEED snow. I mean, that place has gotten creepy in the last couple decades. I don't understand it—it's always snowing now, or having weird summer storms, or small-scale ice formation, or—"
North raised one of his bushy eyebrows, a hint of a smile cracking out of the side of his mouth. Jack's breath caught.
"Wait—are you saying that," he stammered, stumbling back a step, "In Arendelle—there's someone like me?"
"Well—in some ways, a little more powerful than you, but yes. Why you think they get such crazy weather patterns there?" North chuckled, pulling out a sparkling transportation globe. He turned back slowly to Jack, smirking. "Would you like to meet them?"
"Would I like t—of course!"
Jack's stumbled back another step, his face a whirlwind of emotions. North smiled, seeing the new glint of hope in the Youngest Guardian's expression as he nervously ran his fingers through his hair, gripping the staff so hard that his knuckles turned white.
"Arendelle," North whispered into the globe. He then stooped down onto the floor, rolling it across the wood as it grew and started spinning itself into a portal.
He turned back to Jack. "Oh—I should tell you," he chuckled, "This person—you should be respectful."
A wave of confusion swept across Jack's face. "What do you mean?" he asked, "Is he some sort of warlock, or royalty or something?"
North paused. He then threw back his head, gripping his shaking belly as his booming laughter filled the room.
"What? What is it?" Jack demanded anxiously, "What's so funny?"
North stopped laughing, shaking his head and looking back to Jack. "Well—you are half right."
"He's a warlock?"
"No—about the royalty," he said. North then leaned close into Jack's ear. "But you should know that she—is the reigning queen of Arendelle."
Jack's eyes widened. "Wait, WHAT?"
Before he could say anything more, The Spirit of Winter was snatched up into the air by the back of his hoodie and a belt loop on his pants.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS, JACK FROST!" North boomed, and he pulled back and flung Jack headfirst into the portal.