Author's foreword: The first I heard of the Elsa-Jack Frost ship was in a YouTube video released in 2014. It was merely mentioned in passing, only on the screen for a few seconds, but it was enough to leave me perplexed. While I at least knew of these two characters' existence (by this point I'd seen Rise of the Guardians, and while I had little interest in Frozen, I was aware of it), I didn't understand why anyone wanted this. So they looked rather alike and both had cryokinetic abilities – so what? Shared powers hardly make enough of a foundation for a romantic relationship. Though it hardly kept me awake at night, for the next few years, it did linger in the back of my mind, occasionally popping up. Was this really a couple people were interested in, even though they come from different creators who will most likely never get along? If so, why was it so popular?
I would get my answer in late 2019, when a coworker lent me their kids' copy of Frozen for the weekend of December 7th and 8th. My questions about the Elsa-Jack ship resurfaced, and I decided to do an experiment. I rewatched Rise of the Guardians the Saturday night of that weekend, then saw Frozen for the first time the following evening. Though I would enjoy both movies on their own and in no way compare them, I would finally see if the Elsa-Jack ship held any merit. Would I get attached to this nonexistent couple, as I suspected so many others had, without even trying?
By the time I went into work the following Monday morning, I had my answer; yes. Elsa and Jack Frost could make an amazing couple. And while at this point, I still wasn't sure why (I still didn't see them having much in common), I had fallen in love with this couple that wasn't and would probably never be. But on the internet, they could be...
So unsurprisingly, it wasn't long before I found myself scouring the net for a good crossover fanfic. To my shock, I was to be disappointed. Over five years had passed since I heard of the Elsa-Jack ship, and nothing stood out to me as having any real value. So much of it was what this site would categorize as "Fluff"; small scenes that had no point but to illustrate how cute they are together, without even establishing how they met or what lead to them becoming a couple. While some of it was nice to read, this wasn't all I wanted. Yes, I wanted to see them get together, but "get" is the keyword here. I wanted drama. I wanted meaning. I wanted conflict and chemistry that ended in the most beautiful of unions.
I might have found these things in other works, but they all failed to captivate me even more than the fluff. In these fanfictions, the authors made what I consider an even worse mistake; altering the source material. These works made so many changes to the settings and characters, they were barely Frozen or Rise of the Guardians anymore. In the worst cases, these were entirely different people who just happened to share the names of the canon characters. If that's what Elsa-Jack fans wanted to see, then that's fine... but I wouldn't be hopping on that bandwagon. With all due respect to the authors and audiences of such fics, I didn't want to see Elsa and Jack as twenty-first century teenagers. I didn't want to see them as ordinary people with no powers. And I most certainly didn't want to see them go to Hogwarts. (Again, I say this without wanting to antagonize or insult anyone.) I continued my search for a while, but eventually, all I was doing was re-reading some of the fluff I'd liked, knowing I wouldn't likely find anything I really loved.
But the more I found what I didn't want, the more I thought about what I was looking for. I started to get a general idea what would make, in my mind, the perfect crossover between these two stories and characters. What really mattered to me, I realized, was that the original stories be honoured. Frozen and Rise of the Guardians may not be perfect, but both are amazing movies, and to change too much of their lore would be to disrespect them (at least, I think so). That was what was most important to me; for these two universes to come together while remembering the stories told and lessons taught in their respective movies.
From there, the ideas started coming, and they didn't stop for a while. And the more the ideas came, the more I strung them together in a way that made sense to me. But the problem – that this ideal fanfiction seemed to exist nowhere on the internet – remained. At last, I legitimately began to consider just writing and posting the thing myself.
I had a lot of mixed feelings about this at first. For one thing, I was a film school graduate who'd gotten their name on both the Honours and President's Lists, not some unqualified amateur writer who spent all their time on Tumblr. My skills were approved to make movies and TV shows that might entertain millions; it would be a waste to spend them on stories that far less would ever see and would bring me no profit. Fanfiction may be a free country where anything qualifies as fair use, but because it's free, it doesn't pay the bills. I wanted to become a successful and famous filmmaker who could make money off of doing what I love (and I still do), not tell stories for free in between shifts at a dead-end job.
For another, I have never posted anything of this sort online. Though this is hardly the first fanfic I've ever written, the most I've ever said or shown on the internet is a comment on the occasional YouTube video. What can I say, I enjoy my privacy. And until this point, my fan works have existed to entertain only myself, and that was enough. Why should I share my fanfictions if I didn't get paid for them, whether anyone enjoyed them or not? (And frankly, I doubted anyone would enjoy them.)
But in the end, there was one fact staring me in the face that I could never escape; there is a market for this sort of work – a free market, but a market nonetheless. I've at least seen dozens, maybe hundreds of fanfics and fanarts bringing Elsa and Jack together in the non-canon land of the internet. There may be thousands of people who want to see these two become a couple, even though Disney and Dreamworks will never make it happen. And somewhere in that crowd, someone had to want the same kind of crossover I wanted. Maybe it's time I try to entertain someone other than myself.
My films thus far have not been met with good reviews or turned a profit; perhaps I can find better appraisal here, just until my films do better. Who knows? Maybe I can even build a fanbase out of this; use this fanfiction to earn people's praise and, once that's done, use this site to promote my next "real" work. I've heard of filmmakers doing crazier things to get this kind of attention; this won't violate social norms and make national news as a result. My mind is made up.
There is one more thing I should do before the story begins, and that is establish the setting. I know I should let my writing do that for itself, but these are two vastly different stories coming together; some explanation is warranted. The time period is 1839; Frozen's time period, according to Disney. And because time travel is something I don't want to tamper with in this fanfic, that means the only real change I'm making to Rise of the Guardians' lore is to have it share the time period; some hundred and seventy years before the official movie takes place. (On a side-note, I'd like to point out how easy a change this is. Rise of the Guardians, I've noticed, is surprisingly timeless. It's not filled with pop culture references or revolving around twenty-first century technology. The kids don't spend hours playing on their computers or reading gossip magazines, they do much the same thing kids probably did centuries before; they play in the snow, look for chocolate eggs on Easter morning, and socialize in person. I'm pleased to say that changing the time period of Rise of the Guardians doesn't majorly change the story or characters. Well done, Dreamworks.) Also, I don't care what the internet says; between his physique and the voice of Chris Pine, there's no way Jack was just fourteen at the end of his human life, and that that's his physical age now. I'd give him seventeen at the youngest and, when reading this story, I recommend that mindset.
As for the Frozen side of things, I think it goes without saying that the changes are even less pronounced. The time period remains the same, as do all the events of the film. But here's the thing; as of the writing of this fanfiction, I have yet to see (or even hear many spoilers about) Olaf's Frozen Adventure or Frozen II. And while I have seen Frozen Fever (and personally think it's a little better than most people give it credit for), I started work on this story well before I saw it. Therefore, none of them has any relevance here – both are retconned by my work. And I think it goes without saying that all the storybooks, comics, or video games related to these two franchises are also irrelevant to this story.
With that said, I won't pretend that this is what I think happens, or even what should happen, in a future film. This isn't my rendition of Frozen II or Rise of the Guardians 2; this is Snow & Frost.
Hope you enjoy.
CHAPTER 1: WINTER & WEATHER
Him. He stood on the icy coast, looking out onto the ocean. In one hand, he held his trusty wooden staff, its top twisted into a shape vaguely like a rune. Today saw his hood drawn over his head, though not for any particular reason. Besides that, he wore nothing more than a light sweater and short, brown pants. He didn't even have a pair of boots, or anything to protect his bare feet from the chilling ice. He didn't seem fazed by the subzero temperatures, though.
And it was cold. Blisteringly so, there was no denying that fact, but not so cold that the water had frozen over. Regardless, it was very still. Barely a ripple disturbed its surface, and even the chunks of ice all around hardly moved. A breeze could be heard somewhere nearby, but couldn't be felt. If any living creature besides him was around, they were staying as motionless as the water.
That water... it put all other such bodies to shame. He had seen many lakes and bays in his time, but more often than not, he could see one shore even when standing at the opposite one. The ocean was a different story. Try as he might, from here, he could see no other end. The sea stretched all the way to the horizon, suggesting that it went on forever. But he knew better. The water did have an end, and there, the world really began. He knew that if he were to go there, he would see things that he couldn't here; homes, warmth, plant life, movement... and people. Sadly, they probably wouldn't see him.
Jack Frost had not been here, at the southernmost part of the planet, in some seven months – not since encountering Pitch Black and retrieving the memories of his human life. Somewhere around here, he realized, probably still stood the strangest ice sculpture anyone would ever see. Warped, jagged, and ending in razor-sharp spikes, it was a mixture of the Guardian of Fun's ice and the Boogeyman's darkness; a reminder of their clash here. If Jack saw it now, he would probably smash it to powder and stomp out the last of Pitch's shadows. But at the moment, he couldn't remember exactly where it was, nor was he interested in searching.
After that brief showdown, Jack's life had changed forever. Setting free his friend Toothiana's little helpers and tracking down the last boy in the world who believed in the Guardians (his name was Jamie), Jack finally accomplished what he'd failed to do for nearly three-hundred years; he got someone to believe in him. For the first time in his life, a human believed in him, and so could see, hear, and touch him as well. It was all Jack had wanted since the Man in the Moon chose him. It was everything he'd hoped it would be, and it wasn't over yet.
In the following final battle with Pitch, all of Jamie's friends learned to believe in him as well. Jack had gone from being ignored left and right to making some half-dozen friends for life. Though Jack had had to leave shortly thereafter (winter was over by this point), he promised to return before the end of the next autumn. So he had ventured back out into the world, with renewed faith that he could get people to believe in him.
Now he wondered if he had been too optimistic. Try though he might, Jack had not been able to get a single child to believe in him since that final showdown in Burgess. Jamie, Sophie, and all their friends were still the only kids – heck, the only humans – in the world who believed in him. True, the passing of the seasons had confined him to chillier parts of the world for the last few months, but there were still kids there for him to work with. But it wasn't working, not anymore. He didn't know what he'd done right last April that he was doing wrong now. He'd even used the same trick he'd used on Jamie that fateful night, but it had failed to convince anyone that he existed. The things he did still mesmerized and delighted children everywhere, but they just weren't connecting the dots – not to him, anyway. As a result, Jack had been rather lonely since leaving Burgess. He may have had human friends in one place in the world, but that didn't mean he enjoyed being invisible to everyone else.
Realizing how discouraged his train of thought had become, Jack shook his head, gathered his strength, and took to the air. There, he angled himself to face north, and soared away, hoping to leave those thoughts behind. As much as Jack was tempted to go see Jamie and his friends, he knew it was still a little early for Burgess to get snow. Instead, he was heading to Europe; Denmark or Norway, if he wasn't mistaken.
Whichever it is, he thought with a mischievous smirk, I'm sure they won't mind a little early winter.
Her. She stood in front of the mirror, her reflection staring back at her. In minutes, she would stand before her subjects, announce the result of the vote, and potentially act on it. Were someone to see her now, they might think she was mentally preparing herself for this public address; anyone would be daunted at the prospect of facing so many at once. But in truth, she wasn't fazed at all.
At that thought, Queen Elsa of Arendelle once again felt proud of herself. There had been a time when public appearances of this sort would have sent her into a state of anxiety; anxiety that she would lose control of her powers with so many around her, potentially hurting someone and being persecuted as a menace to society. It had happened before, after all, and could again. That incident had instilled these fears in her. It had taken an even greater one to banish them at last. Involuntarily, Elsa's thoughts turned to the past.
The evening of her coronation, her younger sister Anna had announced that she wished to wed Hans, a man she'd only met that very day. Elsa had sternly refused, leading to an argument in front of everyone that ended in her worst fear being realized; her powers bursting from her like an icy blast, revealing to the world what sort of danger she was.
With everyone around her so frightened, Elsa had fled, sure that the only place she would find peace of mind would be in solitude. She did this not realizing she had plunged Arendelle into an everlasting winter. This she only found out when her sister, accompanied by an iceman named Kristoff, his reindeer Sven, and a living, talking snowman named Olaf, had come looking for her. Even back then, Anna had had such faith in her older sister, sure that she could stop the deep freeze spreading throughout the kingdom with just a snap of her fingers. If only she had heeded Anna's words, Elsa now realized, the worst that was yet to come might have been avoided.
But she had not. Still so afraid of herself, Elsa had refused to come back – to try to fix her mess and only make it worse. Her vehement refusal resulted in another outburst of her winter powers, this one mortally wounding her own sister!
From there, everything spun out of control, especially Elsa's powers. As if the ice threatening to bury the land wasn't bad enough, Hans tried to turn the situation into a power grab. He left Anna to succumb to her injuries, faked a marriage between the two of them (effectively crowning himself king), and made an attempt on Elsa's life. Only Anna's selfless intervention had made all the difference; she put herself between her fiancé's blade and her sister, revealing his lies and saving them both.
It had taken all of this, every last bit of it, to make Elsa see the truth; shutting people out wasn't the answer to controlling her powers – letting them in, accepting their love and support, was. This was again proven when she easily banished the ice across Arendelle shortly thereafter. Hans was sent back to his kingdom as an attempted murderer, the events of Elsa's coronation were memorialized as the "Great Thaw", and life seemed to go back to normal in Arendelle (though with Elsa's icy powers now open knowledge).
But while the rest of the world may have returned to much the same way it used to be, Elsa had not. She wouldn't shut out the lessons she learned in the Great Thaw; she embraced them, and applied them every day. The castle's gates were no longer shut, a number of its windows (particularly that in Elsa's bedchamber) were changed so they could be opened if it seemed too stuffy, the once-minimized staff grew for the first time in years, and anyone with something to say to the kingdom's ruler was encouraged to say it in person instead of writing a letter from a safe distance. Arendelle now enjoyed a time of prosperity unlike anything seen in over a decade.
This was just a taste of how Elsa let people in, but she didn't stop at doing so professionally. Her personal life was also vastly different from the solitude it had once been. Between Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven, she now had friends she could rely on, voice her concerns to, get opinions from, and most of all, just spend time with. Her sister in particular had taken the new openness to heart, spending with her all the time she could spare. At work, she helped Elsa in her royal duties as Queen of Arendelle, whether it was going through paperwork or meeting with ambassadors of some other kingdom. In her free time (assuming she wasn't with Kristoff or Olaf), she was still often with Elsa, trading stories, seeing the sights, or simply ice skating as both loved to. Looking at them, one would never guess they had grown up practically as strangers; they seemed like they had been close all their lives. In just a few short months, Anna had gone from being the one Elsa pushed away the hardest to being her closest friend.
These few months had also allowed Elsa to settle into her new, less guarded life. It hadn't been a jarring change, but a change nonetheless. Making public addresses now came as easily to her as ice skating. How far she'd come from being the princess who hid from the world. She had good reason to be proud of herself.
Despite how things might look, she wasn't using the mirror to mentally prepare herself for the challenge of public speaking – it wasn't a challenge for her anymore. No, she was using the mirror for its much more typical purpose; to examine her appearance.
There was a knock at the door. Elsa knew who would be there even as she turned to look; her best friend in the world, the Princess of Arendelle, Anna.
"The door is open." Elsa said with a smile. "You don't have to do that anymore."
"Force of habit." her sister responded with grin of her own. "I'll get over it one day."
Elsa couldn't help but laugh at the inside joke, even if it did relate to less pleasant memories. But those times were behind them now.
"Is everyone here?" she asked. Anna nodded.
"All waiting in the courtyard."
"And the ballots are in?"
"Counted them myself. I think you'll be... surprised." Anna replied. Before Elsa could ask her to elaborate, Anna held up a sheet of parchment; the results.
"Should I tell you, or just let you read them for yourself?" she asked.
Elsa scrutinized her sister. Though Anna couldn't mask her excitement, she could at least disguise its meaning. It was impossible to tell whether she was happy or apprehensive about the results of the vote. Worse than that, this inscrutability was deliberate; now being as close to Elsa as she had been in as a child, Anna enjoyed keeping her in suspense at times like this.
Elsa wrestled with the decision for a few long seconds before her impatience got the best of her. She held out her hand, accepted the parchment, steeled herself, and read it.
Several long seconds passed as she went over the results over and over, reading carefully so as to ensure her eyes weren't fooling her. Anna waited quietly nearby, unable to stop her lips from stretching into a proud smile. Finally, Elsa lowered the parchment and breathed a sigh of relief. The people had spoken, and she would carry out her duty.
"I'll be right out." she promised, handing the parchment back to her sister. Anna nodded before leaving the room.
Elsa looked into the mirror once more. In the days since the Great Thaw, her wardrobe had alternated between dresses made from cotton by local couturiers, and ones woven by her own icy powers. Though the latter clothes felt more comfortable on her skin, she dutifully wore the "regular" ones a few days a week as a show of support for the local clothing businesses. Today had been one of those days, if only because she didn't know how the vote would turn out. Now she did – and it was most certainly an occasion to wear one of her ice gowns. Deciding she would get no further use out of her current apparel, Elsa triggered her power. Cold spread throughout the fabric of her dress, eating away at the fibres and replacing them with otherworldly, ice-based cloth. In just a few seconds, Elsa's cotton dress became atoms, replaced by a sparkling gown made from hundreds of ice crystals. It was much the same thing she had done when she'd fled Arendelle – the only difference was that her hair was already undone, and she had no diadem to remove (she idly wondered what had happened to it). With a final glance in the mirror, Elsa made her way to the balcony.
Anna was already there waiting, visibly on pins and needles over what was about to happen. Elsa couldn't help but love her optimistic energy.
"Let's break a leg!" she said encouragingly. Elsa smiled in return. Then together, they stepped onto the balcony overlooking the courtyard.
Before she even reached the handrail, Elsa could see most of Arendelle's citizens assembled below, talking amongst themselves. There were so many people here that the courtyard could not hold all of them; several dozen more stood on the bridge leading to the castle. As the expression goes, it was a full house.
"Queen Elsa of Arendelle!" Kai, the steward of the castle, called from somewhere nearby. At the sound of his voice, the crowd paused. "Princess Anna of Arendelle!"
Looking up, the crowd found this to be true, and adulation rose from them. The people of Arendelle loved their Queen and Princess, and now showed this with cheers and applause. Elsa and Anna's response was to smile down and wave at them. This latter action the crowd soon took as a cue to quiet once more.
"My loyal subjects." Elsa spoke confidently, keeping her voice just high enough that even those at the back would hear her. "I can't tell you how touched I am to have been so accepted by you. There was a time when I feared my gift would inspire only fear. But I should never have doubted such a wonderful people. I am not the one who deserves the ovation. You are."
With that, she raised her hands and offered her own applause, Anna quickly following suit. Before long, the citizens of Arendelle reciprocated, praising each other for the welcoming people they were. Before long, quiet took over once more.
"Wonderful, and stalwart." Elsa went on. "I think it goes without saying that this kingdom has seen enough winter this year to last a lifetime."
There were some low agreements and even a few sniggers at this, but otherwise, no one spoke up.
"That's why when I had the idea to use my powers for the good of the kingdom..." she continued. "... I had my doubts. But my loyal sister..." she paused to turn to Anna, who gave a meek wave at her mention. "... had more faith in you. She is the one who suggested putting it to a vote. Now the vote is over. The ballots have been counted, and the results are in."
Elsa paused again, barely containing her own excitement (Anna was doing far worse at this). The people of Arendelle waited in anticipation, and at last, their Queen spoke up once more.
"The majority have voted in favour of an early winter for Arendelle!" she announced, causing the crowd to burst into ecstatic cheers again, this time louder than before. When it finally died down enough to be heard again, Elsa resumed her speech. "So many of this kingdom's industries, particularly that of exporting ice, rely on our infamously fierce winters. It would be a waste for me not to use all the tools at my disposal to help, especially with all your encouragement. So without further ado..."
Lowering her gaze, Elsa triggered her abilities once more, pooling many snowstorms' worth of power into her hands. Before the people's eyes, icy power shone from the Queen's palms in a radiant blue glow. At last, she looked up excitedly.
"... Enjoy the winter!" she finished, unleashing a bolt of concentrated ice power straight up. And when it seemed to shatter against the sky... winter began.
Though the sun continued to shine through, clouds began to coalesce in the sky. Snow began to fall from them, to the crowd's glee, the children in particular. The crowd erupted into rapturous applause once more. Looking out upon them, Anna spotted one group cheering with particular enthusiasm. Though not all of them were men, they were all rugged and fit, visibly born for hard work in freezing conditions. There was only one thing these people could be.
"And to our hardworking icemen and icewomen...!" Anna added eagerly, hoping she would be heard over the people's cheers. "Happy harvest season!"
Said group responded with more cheers of adoration. Her boyfriend Kristoff, Arendelle Ice Master and Deliverer, was undoubtedly among them, but with all the faces and movement, he was lost to Anna's eyes in the crowd.
Elsa watched on as much of the crowd began the trip back home. Children were already playing in the snow, despite its poor quality for building anything. Adults were in pleasant conversation with one another. Some businesses – ones that sold warm clothing, particularly – had already begun to use the weather as a promotion. No one seemed displeased with what was happening. The vote, it seemed, didn't lie; this was what the people wanted.
Elsa felt a warm hand on her shoulder. Turning, she received a proud smile from her little sister. Anna didn't say anything as the two looked out onto their kingdom. Nothing need be said.
If the most notable thing to occur on Jack's trip up the Atlantic Ocean was the darkening of the skies, then his trip could safely be called uneventful. But this didn't please him. Whether as a human who'd always sought to entertain others or the acclaimed Guardian of Fun, nothing happening was not enough for him. If he couldn't find fun where he was, he would make it.
This was why he had taken to "surfing" the mammoth waves instead of flying over them. Though he still channelled his flight powers on a low level, he was essentially sliding on seawater instantly frozen by the touch of his feet. He hadn't travelled the whole way like this. When he'd been around the equator, he'd taken to the sky so as not to raise questions. But up here, if anyone was even around, they would probably dismiss his ice as remnants of an iceberg that had drifted far south.
Seeing another titanic wave lumber toward him, Jack smirked as he braced himself for what was bound to happen. As soon as he stopped sliding down, he began to ride up the mountain-like swell in the sea, higher and higher, the wind rushing by him.
"WOOOOO-HOO-HOO-HOOOO!" he cried out in delight, unable to stop himself.
The peak of the wave fast approached. Jack gathered his strength... and soared high above the wave. Looking down, he appreciated the sight of the water crashing down, the wave he'd ridden now gone forever. As the moment finally faded, Jack looked ahead to see the ocean before him was much calmer. There wouldn't be much to surf for the remainder of his trip – especially since, unless his eyes were mistaken, he could see just barely see the light of populated land on the horizon. His journey would be through the sky from here.
Those lights weren't the only things the night's darkness now allowed him to see. Looking up, Jack could now see the one who, it could be argued, was responsible for so much of what had happened; the moon.
Jack and the Man in the Moon had had a difficult relationship since night one. The celestial being had said all of one thing to the Guardian of Fun-to-be – his name, Jack Frost – then had gone silent ever since. Jack had tried to speak to him many times over the centuries, but his questions seemed to fall on deaf ears. Even now that he was a full-fledged Guardian, he had yet to hear that mysterious voice a second time. All he knew was that he had been chosen for the duty of protecting children, and consequently the future of this world. It was just too bad that he had to do so invisible, silent, and intangible. And the moon remained silent to him.
Jack's eyes narrowed in confusion. Had he just stared at it too long the last few minutes, or were the moon's beams shining in a specific direction tonight? Following what he thought was a direct line of moonlight, Jack found that it seemed to point straight ahead of him, as if showing him the way. Was that even possible? Could the Man in the Moon be speaking to him now, after all this time, without any words at all?
Jack was roused from his wonderings as he rose over another small wave, the lights of the kingdom ahead regaining his attention. In a few more minutes he would be there, amongst the humans once more. At that thought, he bolstered his spirits. Though the kids in Burgess may be the only ones thus far who could see him, he refused to be defeated. Here, he would try again to be believed in.
A breeze swept in from the land. Jack didn't stop, but he did falter when it passed over him, along with much confusion. Wait, had he overshot his mark and flown right into the Arctic? No, that was impossible, no kingdom this big would be so far north! But then, why did he sense winter-grade cold down there? This made no sense! Admittedly, winter happened where it did, with or without him; it had existed long before he was born, and his powers came from it. But it was still too early for cold of this level to have struck this far south – not without him!
Cold wasn't all he found as he drew closer. Thick clouds peppered this kingdom's sky, vaguely reminding Jack of how a sad person might have a figurative cloud over their head. Powder snow fell from these at a steady pace, already beginning to blanket the land. Even the seawater had begun to freeze over at the shores. It was as if this place was living a few weeks in the future.
His curiosity now piqued, the Guardian of Fun decided to investigate. Of course, investigations didn't typically work if the investigator's questions couldn't be heard. What Jack would do would be more akin to spying, and he could only hope someone around here would be in the mood to talk about this unusual weather.
Banishing his flying ability, Jack let himself gently fall to the streets of the mysterious kingdom. Despite the day's end, people were still milling around on business or pleasure. There were plenty of people who could have seen him – if only they believed – but as it was, if anyone noticed this young man drop down from the sky, they didn't react.
Turning around, Jack yelped as someone walked right into him. There was no time to step out of the way; the man strode right through him, not noticing him in the slightest. Jack faltered, waiting for the feeling to fade away. The feeling of passing through someone was one he would never enjoy, not even if he lived for a million years.
Nearby laughter brought him back to the present. Looking, he saw a few children playing in an alley nearby. They had gathered enough of the powder snow and seawater to make a small hill against some wooden crates, and were now using planks to sled down the icy ramp. When they slid down, they laughed like they were having the time of their lives. When they waited their next turn, they talked excitedly amongst themselves. As he drew closer, he thought he heard one of them mention "the Queen" in relation to the snow, but they didn't go into detail.
"Hey, guys." Jack called amicably. "Looks like winter came early this year, and I missed the memo, huh?"
He received no response. Of course they hadn't heard him. Jack might have felt discouraged if it weren't for the laughter of a little girl as she slid down the small hillside. Her joy was infectious, and Jack couldn't stop himself from giving in. Unleashing just a bit of his winter powers, he conjured up a mirror image of the snowy ramp against the wall opposite the original. The children were taken aback, but the sledding girl took it in stride, riding all the way across the alley, up the new ramp, then back down. She continued to sleigh back and forth until her momentum ran out, though her delight hadn't. All the other kids were eager to try it themselves, and Jack decided to name his new invention a "halfpipe".
"Okay, okay, now, no pushing, you'll all get your turn!" Jack said as if he was carnival ride operator. "For the all-time low price of answering one little question, you can enjoy-"
"Jen! Chris!" a man's voice called from a house close by. "Time to come in!"
Two of the children (presumably Jen and Chris) groaned in disappointment. Before Jack could react, they headed back to their house, walking right through him. Once again, he was visited with that uncomfortable feeling. He shivered, though of course it had nothing to do with the cold.
At this point, the rest of the group began to break up as well. If it was late enough for Jen and Chris to head home, it was probably time they did so as well. One by one, Jack watched them all go, having no more answers than when he first arrived.
Sighting two women talking on a nearby street corner, he decided to try again. Even as he approached them, he knew they were even less likely to see him than the children. But logically, they were more likely to talk about the weather.
Or so he thought. He waited several minutes, completely nonexistent to them, listening to them talk, and all he found out was that one of their uncle's neighbour's children's godmother was looking to be a home decorator. It was several minutes of his eternal life that he would never get back.
"Come onnn..." he groaned. "Talk about the snow. The snow, lady, the snow!"
They just kept talking, having not heard him. His frustration rising, Jack stepped back, then swung his staff right in front of their faces. In response, a brief wind kicked up, blowing snow right into one woman's nose.
Take the hint! Jack thought irritably.
"How about this weather, huh?" one finally said as she wiped her nose.
"Thank you!" Jack shouted, his voice heavy with sarcasm.
"My husband is so pleased about it." the other responded. "With the season off early this year, they think it might even double the gains from the last harvest."
"Thank goodness the vote swung in their favour." the first woman answered.
"Thank goodness Queen Elsa had the idea to put her gifts to good use."
The two got onto a different topic from there, but Jack didn't try to influence their conversation again (he doubted that trick would work a second time anyway). He was sure that he had the clues he needed, though their meaning still eluded him. Vote? Queen Elsa? Gifts? None of this made sense. Were they implying that someone here had the power to control the weather, thus summoning this winter chill – not unlike he could? Impossible! In almost three-hundred years, he'd never heard of a human with magical abilities like a Guardian's! Or was there more going on here than met the eye?
Only one thing was clear to Jack; no matter how informed the locals here were, this Elsa would likely be even more so. If he wanted answers, he had to go to the source. He didn't know for sure where he would find her, but he had one clue; one of these women had referred to her as "Queen", likely the Queen of this kingdom. Jack looked northwest. Ten bucks said he would find a queen in the luxurious castle over there.
The throne room doors opened.
"Elsa!" a man's voice called. The Queen turned to her visitor.
He was tall, and well-built from years of manual labor. Despite this, he looked anything but imposing. His face was open and friendly, his brown eyes soft. His blonde hair was somewhere between long and short, as well as neat and unkempt. There was a time when someone as informal and casually dressed entering the castle would have raised some questions, but in the last few months, Elsa and the castle's staff had become used to his visits. From his neck hung a silver medal with a multicoloured ribbon, designating him as the kingdom's Ice Master and Deliverer.
"Good evening, Kristoff." Elsa greeted him. "How are you? And how's Sven?"
"Sven's good, he's just outside." Kristoff answered. "And I could not be better, thanks for asking."
"Glad to see you wearing our gift to you." she observed, gesturing to his medal. "It suits you."
"Meh, I figured if there was ever a day to wear it, it's early winter day." he said with a shrug.
Elsa gave a soft laugh before changing the subject.
"Anyway, if you're looking for Anna, I think she's in the ballroom..."
"I'll be looking for her in a minute." Kristoff cut her off. "It was actually you I was looking for."
The Queen tilted her head quizzically. In the darkest recesses of her mind, doubt raised its head, sniffing the air searchingly. Had she done something wrong? Was the weather not cold enough, or too cold? Was it too early after all?
"What is it?" she asked, keeping her voice curious instead of concerned.
"Well the guys 'n' gals of the harvesters' association have this crazy idea that I'm good friends with Arendelle's royalty. Dunno what gave 'em that impression." he said casually, pretending to adjust his medal without even realizing it. This brought a smirk to Elsa's face, her doubts banished. Kristoff grinned as well, his joke having produced the results he'd hoped for.
"Anyway." he went on. "They figured I should thank you for kicking off the season early. So... yeah."
To Elsa's surprise, Kristoff amicably extended his hand to her, his face confident.
"On behalf of the icemen and icewomen community... thank you so much." he said with all formality he could muster.
Elsa was surprised at this sudden custom coming from the typically carefree young man, but she reached out and grasped his open hand nonetheless.
"You're very welcome." she responded, shaking hands with him. "I'm just glad I could help."
Kristoff smiled, but then furrowed his brow as he looked down at their linked hands.
"Oh, dang." he remarked. "You're a little chilly, aren't you?"
Elsa's gaze turned questioning as their hands parted.
"No wonder they refer to you as the Snow Queen down in the village, huh?" he said jokingly, all traces of his prior etiquette now gone.
To his surprise, Elsa didn't laugh, didn't even chuckle. Her smile did remain on her face, but it had gone from warm to confused. Kristoff suddenly realized how his comment might have come across as offensive.
"Fondly, of course." he added hastily. "They fondly refer to you as that."
"Kristoff!" a new voice exclaimed from somewhere close by.
Both turned to see Anna had entered the room and was now running up to her boyfriend. Kristoff walked a few steps to meet her halfway, and when he did, he took Anna into an enthusiastic embrace. After a few seconds, Kristoff broke the silence.
"How was your day?"
The two finally parted just enough to look into each other's eyes.
"Not bad, but getting better every minute." Anna responded sweetly. "How about y- Oh!"
Anna all but jumped back as Kristoff leaned in to press a kiss to her lips. Both he and Elsa were visibly surprised by this.
"Kristoff, not in front of my sister!" she murmured indignantly.
"Anna, I've seen you two kiss before." Elsa spoke up. "The innocence of my eyes is still intact."
Embarrassed, both Anna and Kristoff were actually speechless for a moment, exchanging awkward looks with both Elsa and each other. The Queen sighed, rolling her eyes.
"Ready to go?" Anna finally asked Kristoff.
"When you are." he answered.
"All right, you to have fun tonight." Elsa said. "But be back home at a reasonable hour?"
"Yes, mama." Anna responded sarcastically.
With that, she turned and headed for the exit, side by side with Kristoff. As Elsa watched them go, she saw their hands find each other. It was at times like this that she caught glimpses of her little sister's relationship with her boyfriend. Sometimes, like now, it was handholding. Other times, one would try to steal a kiss from the other when they thought no one was looking. Most often, it was just the way they looked at each other when they talked, even if it was about the most casual things. These moments always brought a smile to Elsa's face. After all the years Anna had dreamt of finding "the one", it seemed that she had. She was happy, and in turn, Elsa was happy for her.
Tonight, though, something felt different. She still smiled, but her joy didn't feel like it usually did. It now shared her heart with another feeling Elsa wasn't familiar with. Her eyes were again drawn to the couple's linked hands. Kristoff didn't remark to Anna how her hand felt. He didn't find her cold to the touch – unlike Elsa.
Despite his attempt to recover the situation, the damage of what Kristoff had told her was done. Elsa was suddenly very self-conscious of her temperature, even touching her cheek with the back of her hand. She didn't feel very cold to herself, but then, she realized it would have made no sense if she did. Unfortunately, she had few others to consult on the matter. Kristoff had already made his opinion clear. Olaf, on the other hand, wouldn't find her cold, having been made of ice himself. But what about Anna? They'd hugged a number of times now, but she'd never said anything. Was she just trying to be nice by not bringing it up? Did she, in truth, get chilly from her touch as well? Would anyone else be repelled by her that way?
That thought made Elsa's gaze upon their clasped hands turn ever so slightly longing, though she wasn't sure why right away. She didn't want to steal Kristoff from Anna; just the idea made her uncomfortable in a number of ways. Nor did she wish to be rid of her powers so no one found her cold; she had long since accepted and embraced them as a part of herself. But seeing their casual intimacy, Elsa found the thought of holding hands with someone, knowing they were as comfortable as she was, to be strangely welcoming.
She shook her head. Where had these thoughts come from, all of a sudden? Perhaps creating a winter for Arendelle (on purpose this time) had tired her more than she'd realized. It was more than time she headed to bed.
Still, as she made her way to her bedchamber, Elsa felt more alone than usual.
From just outside, Jack watched the young woman through a window, suspecting that he had found "Elsa". She was now on her way out of the room, and he would not be able to see her from here. As she entered a hallway, Jack swooped off in search of another window.
He had arrived just as Elsa was shaking the young man's hand. He couldn't hear what they were saying, but whatever it was had put a strange look on her face; still pleasant, but curious. That look had returned as the man and a second, younger woman (he guessed she was Elsa's sister) were leaving the room. Slowly but surely, her smile faded away. Jack found himself oddly interested to know what was going on in her head in that moment. Why didn't she look as happy for her two friends when their backs were turned? Why did she just stand there, seeming lost in thought, for so long after they'd gone? Why did she raise a hand to feel her cheek that way?
Jack stopped and peered into another window, but found no one there. He was really beginning to wonder why he hadn't snuck into the castle when he had the chance. It wasn't as if there was anyone here who could see him. And had he been in the room while those people were talking, he would have heard them and might have a better understanding of the situation – or at least Elsa. But regardless of his invisibility, he'd stayed in the darkness of the other side of the window, trying to learn on the spot to read lips and failing impressively. He'd even drawn his hood back over his head, as if trying to make himself feel more like a spy. Why all this clandestineness?
Jack caught a flash of blue in a window nearby. Soaring over to it, he found his quarry walking down another hall, this one with enough windows for him to follow her all the way to the end. From the look on her face, whatever she'd been thinking before seemed to have been dismissed.
Elsa's thoughts weren't the only thing he was trying to figure out. The people down in the village had been grateful to her for the winter weather they were now enjoying, which still didn't add up. How could a human be responsible for the untimely changing of the seasons? She couldn't possibly bear control over the elements that way, could she? Was she some sort of witch with a magical spellbook? Did she have some other winter-wielding mythical being at her beck and call? In three centuries, Jack had seen a lot of weird things, but he'd never run into either of his unlikely theories.
But the idea of a human with powers like his seemed even more unlikely. He wouldn't believe it until he'd seen it. Don't get him wrong, Jack had all the respect in the world for humans. They were strange, incredible, and had such potential to create. But this just struck him as beyond them.
Elsa turned left, disappeared through an open door, and closed it behind her. Refusing to lose her again, Jack changed course and flew over the roof, sure there would be a window on the other side. To his surprise, not only was he right, but said window was open, allowing the late evening air to permeate the room. Despite this opening, he remained hovering just outside. He scanned the room, quickly finding Elsa. She hadn't gone far into the room, still standing by the door
she'd shut. She seemed to be getting ready for something – and when Jack found out what, his jaw dropped.
Extending her arms to either side of her, Elsa summoned her ability. It was only as it began to radiate with pure, wintery power that Jack realized her dress was made entirely of ice. Even as it changed shape, he couldn't help but admire the craftsmanship behind it. Snow and ice, forming hundreds of strings and fibres that delicately wove into pieces of cloth, all of which came together to form a gown with a unique design. The amount of precision and detail that went into it amazed Jack – he himself had never created anything so minutely – yet it seemed effortless for the young Queen. In just a few seconds, her long dress had diminished into a modest nightgown.
As Elsa sat down at her dressing table and went to work removing her makeup, Jack realized something else that left him dumbfounded; he'd been wrong. Here before him was a human with a gift so much like his own. Mortal flesh and blood, but with magic to make a Guardian proud. It shouldn't have been possible, but the proof was sitting right before his eyes. How had he never heard of such a phenomenon? Had the other Guardians? Where did this woman's power come from? Had she been chosen by the Man in the Moon as well? As if a closer look would somehow answer these questions, Jack drew closer, laying a hand on the windowsill and peering inside.
Elsa looked at her reflection. Satisfied that the last of her makeup was removed, she got up, turned, and started toward the bed. As she did, she glanced at the window and the invisible being beyond.
Out of nowhere, Elsa cried out in shock. Jack jumped, startled by the outburst. The Queen stared right out her window, her eyes seeming to bore a hole right through him. Jack whirled around, wondering what could be there to have surprised her so.
"What are you doing?!" she asked frantically.
Jack looked behind and all around himself, but couldn't for the life of him find whoever Elsa was staring at. There was no one around! The only one here was...
Realization struck the Guardian of Fun like a thunderbolt, and he turned back to the Queen of Arendelle. She was still staring out her window like she was looking right at him. He felt his eyes grow wide.
"Wh-who, me?" he asked, vaguely gesturing to himself.
Elsa looked confused by the response, but little less stunned.
"Yes, you." she said clearly, as if he hadn't heard right the first time.
Jack just kept getting hit by surprise after surprise tonight. He was only barely aware of how wide his eyes were and how his mouth was agape. Elsa, for her part, looked as taken aback as he felt.
"What are you doing... here...?" she asked again, this time seeming to fully comprehend that her visitor stood on nothing but thin air. She took a careful step forward, seeming to want to make sure her eyes weren't playing tricks on her.
His uncertainty getting the best of him, Jack hovered forward, coming to a crouch on the Queen's windowsill. To her credit, she didn't back away in fear. He pulled back his hood, freeing his silvery-white hair. It took him a moment to form coherent words.
"... Can you really see me?..." he asked in barely more than a whisper.
Again, confusion took another step toward conquering Elsa's features, though much of her disbelief still remained.
"Of course I see you, why wouldn't... see you?..." she responded softly.
Some small part of Jack thought about asking if she could hear him as well, but reasoned that the question had pretty much already been answered. The rest of him was too busy being astounded.
She could see him. Elsa, the Queen... could see him. Without his even trying, she believed in him, and could see him. It was as if a blizzard of emotions whirled to life inside Jack, all of it positive. There was no sense or order to it, just pure joy and excitement. His open mouth pulled up at its edges, barely starting to convey his euphoria.
"Who are you?" Elsa asked hesitantly, bringing him all the way back to the moment at hand.
"I'm... I'm... Jack Frost." he managed to get out.
Elsa blinked, as if not quite believing what she was hearing.
"Jack Frost?" she repeated. She'd clearly heard the name before, but was obviously still working on realizing its owner's existence right here at her bedroom window.
"The one and the only." he answered with a grin. "And you're..."
"Elsa." she said, uncertain how much information to give out to this stranger. "Queen of Arendelle."
Jack's smile broadened at the introduction.
"That's what I've been hearing. Nice to meet you, your highness."
Upon saying this, Jack wondered if she could touch him as well. Realistically, she probably could, but he couldn't stop himself from making sure – not after all the people who had unwittingly passed right through him, even just today. Hesitantly, he lifted his hand, Elsa's eyes following its every move. Realizing how suspicious all this seemed, he offered it to her as harmlessly as he possibly could.
"Can you..." he asked, praying his question would not be misinterpreted as anything disturbing. "... feel me?"
Elsa furrowed her brow at this question, apparently still confused as to why she shouldn't be able to interact with him like she could with anyone else. She eyed his hand unsurely, torn between the suspiciousness of this encounter and the innocence this being seemed to radiate. Her gaze went from his hand to his eyes. There was no obvious deception there, but then, it wouldn't be good deception if it was. Prince Hans of the Southern Isles hadn't seemed especially sinister when Anna had first introduced him, after all. Still, there was something different about this Jack Frost. Was she simply drawn to the magic he clearly commanded, or was he as genuinely charming and open as he seemed?
Never breaking eye contact, Elsa slowly lifted a hand to meet his. Jack's smile grew a little from her doing so, but he otherwise didn't react. Slowly, her hand drew closer, drawing her gaze again. Only a few more inches to go, and they would join. Jack waited with innocent eagerness.
Elsa's hand stopped, now parallel to Jack's. Only millimetres separated their open hands now. Her eyes flicked up to meet his again, but he remained unchanged. She wasn't a fool, though. She knew not to trust strangers as soon as she met them, especially when she caught them hovering outside her bedroom window when she was about to go to sleep. Yet now, she was giving in to this one's request without even asking why. She was confounded to explain the reason, but whatever it was, she trusted him. And giving into her trust, she closed her hand around his.
The effect shouldn't have been stunning, yet it somehow was. Elsa and Jack's hands closed around each other, but upon actually meeting, went no further than that. Her hand didn't pass through his as intangible; they met as two solid beings, able to interact as normal. If at all possible, the Guardian of Fun was ever more thrilled.
He and Elsa could feel each other's touch.