Flabbergasted, Mother Nature reappeared in another blinding flash of light in front of a large three story mansion. The gardens were full of red roses, the white brick walls almost blinding. The trees swayed in the chilly breeze, some with icicles on them, others with small fireflies dancing nearby.
The grass was a deep shade of green, some areas covered with snow-most likely to cover scorch marks caused by the twins practising their control of fire. Oddly enough, the bizarre house calmed Mother Nature and she smiled. The gates sprang open for her, and thanking them, she walked up the stone pathway, towards the large French doors.
"Why, Mother Nature, what a pleasant surprise!" A voice said. Turning to the side, Mother Nature watched as Blaise Frost walked through the rose bushes, joining her on the pathway. Grabbing her hand, he kissed it.
"You look quite ravishing today," he began, "To what do we owe this wonderful visit?"
"Well Blaise, you are as charming as ever. And can't I simply pop on by to give my lovely winter sprite and her family a visit?"
He laughed, his crimson eyes twinkling, his fiery hair burning. "You always have a reason, Mother Nature. Here, allow me to escort you inside." Offering his arm, Mother Nature graciously took it, placing her hand in the crook of his elbow. Blaise had always been quite the charming fellow. His features were remarkably similar to Jack's, but much warmer as well as more ancient; filled with wisdom beyond the years of many people. It was a face weathered with time and war.
Sighing, she allowed Blaise to lead them up the winding walkway, admiring the roses. I may as well prepare myself, she thought, stopping Blaise on the stone steps of the veranda.
"How is Winter doing?"
Blaise's winning smile faltered, sadness evident in his eyes. "She's holding up. Fino and Fiera have kept her quite occupied as of late. As it turns out, Fino has prominent warlock blood, and decided to make friends with the local strays."
"You name it, he's let it in."
Mother Nature smiled. "And his sister?"
"Rambunctious, as always. She's constantly picking on him; the two of them are always poking fun."
"And how about Jacqueline?"
"She's matured her powers to no end. I think she's almost achieved a Legendary ranking."
"I'll be the judge of that." The immortals that had special powers, like the Frost family, were ranked in their mastery of the craft. Jacqueline was currently Grand-Master, second highest rank. Her siblings were Distinguished, the second rank.
Blaise laughed. "Of course, my dear. You are Mother Nature, after all. We are your humble servants," he teased, winking and bowing with much splendor.
Mother Nature rolled her dark eyes, smiling.
"That being said, I think it's best to warn you that it might be a little crazy inside. We've had a recent bout of territorial disputes out here."
"That explains the scorch marks and snow piles."
"No matter what The twins and I do, we just can't melt them. Jacqueline is something else."
Mother Nature laughed. A smile on her lips, though she looked at the pyrokinetic sprite with slight seriousness. "Jacqueline isn't following in her brother's footsteps, is she?"
Blaise looked at her, his royal lineage shinning through his cool facade. "If anything, she's a troublemaker, but she couldn't be more opposite to him."
A sigh of relief.
And then, tinkling laughter, sounding like bells, surrounded them. "Very amusing, as well. If only I knew where she learned half the things she's been showing us."
In a flurry of snowflakes, Winter appeared beside Blaise. Porcelain pale skin, almost blue, contrasted her inky black locks, pulled up into a loose bun. Her red lips smiling, she ran forwards to Mother Nature, her embrace cooling down the dark woman.
"Oh, Mother! It's wonderful to see you!"
"You as well, Winter darling." She gave the younger sprite a squeeze before letting go.
"I thought I heard you out here. What a wonderful surprise! You have no idea how crazy it's been the past decade."
"Blaise has told me, my dear."
She laughed, playfully swatting her ablaze husband, her cool touch temporarily turning the spot on his molten coloured suit blue.
"Well, let's not dally on the porch, come in, Mother! I just put on a pot of hot chocolate."
Mother Nature once again sat with her skirts pooling about her, in the comfortable parlour Winter used for entertaining. Her headdress off and placed to the side, Winter sat across from her, entertaining her with stories of the children. As usual, Father Time had been right. Winter was feeling quite chatty-a half hour had already elapsed.
"Oh, Fino is quite crafty. Poor Fiera, startled quite frequently by his little pets. You can't imagine how many racoons I've had to shoo outside."
"Fino can talk to animals then? Blaise had told me outside."
An enthusiastic nod, Winter leaned forward on the blue couch. "It shocked me at first, I won't lie. He sat in the kitchen, a fly buzzing around. He was flicking flames at it, when it buzzed angrily...and he buzzed back!"
"And from flies he went to Racoons?"
"Oh, yes. Racoons, squirrels, birds, insects, a turtle the other day when Jacqueline walked him to his friends' house. She was pretty shocked."
"Came home a little disturbed, it was hilarious," Blaise said, entering the room. Kissing Winter on the cheek, he sat down beside her, arm around her shoulders.
"Now then, love, I think it's time we let Mother Nature tell us the real reason she came today."
Sighing, Mother Nature looked at Winter's crestfallen face.
"Blaise, you always know when something is amiss. I don't understand why you didn't just become King all those years ago."
"Well, Mother Nature, I'm happy here. You are quite the exceptional queen, if I do say so myself."
"Well, I'm flattered. Winter, I am sorry, but your husband is right. I had been planning to come see you, but you see...problems arose within the council meeting earlier."
Despondent, Winter put her cup down, falling back onto Blaise's warm shoulder, her face saddened. She knew what was next. It always started like this.
"What has he done now?" She sighed.
Her glass joining Winter's, Mother Nature turned to the couple. "I'm afraid he's gone too far this time. The balance of nature has been completely disrupted, thanks to Jack. It's snowing in the Amazon, and there's a volcano in Hawaii frozen solid. Mexico is way below the seasonal norm and as such, all the geese have flown back to Canada for the winter."
Winter grimaced, anger and disappointment displayed plainly on her face. Blaise sighed, exasperated, his hair burning four times taller in anger.
"And, that's not all, I'm afraid." With a wave of her hand, one of Jack's 'Frostmas' cut outs appeared beside her in the light parlour. The parents gasped.
"Over three hundred of these scattered across North America."
"Oh, no. I should've felt this happen!" Winter said.
Shaking his flaming head, Blaise looked at his wife. "It isn't your fault. We've been preoccupied all month with the twins." Scratching his chin thoughtfully, he pondered. "Although, it does explain Jacqueline's strange behaviour."
Mother Nature raised an eyebrow.
"She's been jumpy lately, and tried to tell me several times that she felt as if something was off." Winter explained.
"And, If I recall, love, she also mentioned feelings that weren't hers."
"Well, Jacqueline is his Legate. They do have a connection." Mother Nature shook her head. "I need help to fix this, though," she began, "And I was going to ask-"
"MOMMMMMMMYYYYY!" Mother Nature was cut off mid sentence, as two flaming blurs ran in the room.
"Mommy, she did it again-" A little girl, dressed in a pink and orange dress, the ruffles on fire, started.
"-She went in our territory-" The boy beside her, his hair burning tall, a band aid on one knee, his overalls half undone continued.
"-There's a huge snow fort-" The young girl continued, her short hair flattened on her head, burning down her back, a pink floral clip askew.
"-No, it's like a castle!"
"And it's sitting under OUR tree."
The twins continued to badger Winter, as Mother Nature magically caused the cut out to disappear. The twins knew next to nothing about their older brother, and as far as she was concerned after the hurt his betrayal had caused Winter, Blaise and Jacqueline, it was better he remain unknown. Blaise stood up.
"Fino. Fiera. That is enough."
Instantly, the twins quieted down, their identical tanned faces looking at their father.
"If you haven't noticed, we have company at the moment. Very important company." He gestured to Mother Nature, who had stood up, emitting all her importance, headdress back on her head.
The twins turned, gasped, and Fiera curtsied, her brother following suite with a bow. "Hello Grandma Nature," they said in union, using the name they had come up with decades before for the dotting legendary figure.
"Hello, kids." With her cheery greeting ringing in their ears, they grinned, ran and hugged her.
"My, the two of you are warm!" She said.
"Oh yes, Grandma Nature. We've been practising our powers very much lately," Fiera stated.
"I can talk to animals! I think we can almost maybe be Respected level now!" Fino said.
"Well that's good news." Mother Nature pondered thoughtfully, a new idea taking shape in her head.
Suddenly, the room grew colder, and a flurry of snowflakes materialized in the area the Frostmas cut out had been in. The last member of the Frost family appeared before them. Her snowy eyes danced, pale skin blending in with her long, frozen curled hair, hiding her slightly pointed ears.
"In my defense, mom, they took my tree for their little 'flame monsters' yesterday. My fortress is in a perfect spot!"
"Jacqueline, sweetheart, we have a guest..." Winter said, gently insinuating that now was not the time to discuss territory.
She looked in the direction Winter pointed to, her face transitioning from surprise to fear to a fixed smile all at once.
"Mother Nature, what a surprise," She said, curtseying. Unlike her younger siblings, Jacqueline was neatly put together. Her icy formal dress clung to her, sleeves poofed up just past her shoulders, then tightening and draping down into a lovely wide, long sleeve. Like her, the dress was frozen-the same dark shade as her older brother's icy suit.
"Jacqueline, a pleasure, as always." Mother Nature smiled at the teenaged looking sprite. Though she was much like her brother, there was underlying warmth in her eyes, a faint rosy blush on her face. She wasn't born frozen, nor had she chosen to freeze herself like her mother had, all those centuries ago.
"Kids, we do love your company, but as you can see, we are quite preoccupied right now-" Mother Nature held up a hand, halting Winter mid sentence. She looked at her questioningly, as nature's matriarch looked at the kids.
"You may stay with us, for now. I'm going to need your help, as well," she said smiling, the idea fully formed in her head.
"In that case, the two of you go upstairs and put on your formal outfits, please." Winter requested, "Jacqueline has hers on, already."
"But she always wears hers," Fino whined, as they rushed out of the room.
"So what did Jack do now? Something pretty bad, I think, judging by this large piece of cardboard I almost crashed into," the sprite said, impish grin on her face.
With a wave of her hand, the 'Frostmas' cut out appeared once more.
"Jacqueline, Hun, I'm so sorry we didn't listen to you."
"Normally I'd say I told you so-" she began, stopping dead at her mother's pained face. "Right, so what did he do now?" she asked Mother Nature.
"Your brother has caused an extreme shift in balance. Frozen a volcano, cooled off Mexico, causing the geese to fly back to Canada, and it's currently snowing in the Amazon, not to mention these lovely pieces of art in malls all over North America."
Jacqueline let out a low whistle, staring at the cardboard cut out. "He's out done himself this time," she mused. And it's almost like looking in a mirror, Jacqueline thought silently.
"Jacqueline," Blaise warned.
"You know what's funny? His face in this picture, it's so over the top..."
"Yes, well as funny as it is, it puts all of us at risk. Your brother has gone too far and I can't do this all on my own. I was originally going to ask for your parent's aide, but I have a better idea instead. Your parents have been telling me that you've exceeded the rank of Grand-Master."
Glancing at her mother cautiously, Jacqueline nodded. "I don't mean to boost, but I think I'm almost well past Legendary now."
"I'll be the judge of that. You're going to help me right these wrongs, today. Consider it your final MELT."
"My final Magical Education Levels Test now? Really?" A large smile grew on her face, her eyes crinkling.
Mother Nature nodded in reply.
"We're back!" Fiera announced, in an orange dress that burst into flames around her.
"And I'm not happy," Fino announced, trailing behind his twin frowning. He hated wearing his little red dress pants with the itchy collared shirt.
"Grandma Nature, why do we hafta have fancy outfits? I don't care if it's an ancient tradition, it sucks."
"Stop sulking, sulky pants, it makes me feel fancy!"
Glaring at his twin, he sat down in front of Mother Nature, frowning.
"What's so exciting, Jacqueline?" Fiera asked.
"We're getting our MELT's early."
Both kids looked up at Mother Nature, in awe.
"Your parents have told me you've shown a remarkable growth in power, and so, I have decided to judge your levels. Here's what has happened."
And so, without mentioning their older brother to be the cause of the imbalance, Mother Nature told the twins of the problems she had that needed fixing. Excitedly, the twins agreed to help and hoped they'd finally become Respected pyrokinetic sprites.
"Alright. I've dallied enough. I'll be back in an hour and we'll start with the volcano. Fiera, that will be your Respected Level MELT."
"Unfreeze the volcano, got it! I get to play with lava, Yay!"
"Fino, you will help your sister. Volcanoes aren't usually for Respected level, but Master levels. I, however, know that you two will manage. Mexico could use a heat wave as well. Afterwards, you'll show me your new found talent and explain to the geese that it is December, not June. There are a lot of them. If you find a way to send them all back without confusing them, you'll also become Respected. Now, go off and collect yourselves, we leave in an hour."
They scampered off, leaving the adults in the room with Jacqueline. A flick of her hand, and the French doors closed, leaving the three of them in privacy.
"Jacqueline, you are a different case. You are a Legate; you may one day have to step into your brother's role. And with what he's done this time, it could be soon. So, your Legendary MELT will consist of getting rid of the snow in the Amazon by moving the chain of storms towards the north. A combination of demonstrating your powers and doing your brother's duty. It is, after all, partially yours as well. The snow already in the Amazon should melt once we finish, with the natural hot temperature."
"Alright. I've been keeping track of the storms, though. That's where they should've been headed, towards Canada. Doesn't this put everything behind by a couple of days, at least?"
"Indeed it does. So, we'll have to rush them across the continents. There's a good chance that you will need to turn them into a blizzard."
Jacqueline nodded, grinning. "I like blizzards."
"Good. Now we will be doing this in the evening. This way, since we'll be near humans, we have less of a chance to be noticed."
Frowning, Winter turned to Mother Nature. "How will we go about the cut outs?"
"If you and Blaise could go around collecting them, I'd be very grateful. Father Time will help you if need be, just ask out loud." Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a sack. "In here is some of Sandman's memory dust. Once you get the cut outs, sprinkle some of it where the eyesore was. The magic in the dust will find everyone who has seen the cardboard cut out and erase it from their minds, along with any they may have told. He gave it to me a while back. Most of the cut-outs were placed in the malls after closing time; some may not even have been seen. I've cloaked them to the eyes of mortals, for the time being."
"What about that internet thingy humans use?" Jacqueline asked, perched on the arm of the sofa looking at the cardboard cut out.
"It should work for that as well."
"Alright, we'll help you out, Mother. Anything for you," Winter said, smiling as Blaise took the sack from her.
"Beautiful. This was a lovely visit, despite the reason behind it. I'll return on the hour to set out with the twins. Until then, thank you, very much, Frost family." And with a smile, she disappeared in a flash of light.
Winter looked at the spot where her guardian had disappeared. Oh, how she loved to see her, but how she loathed the reasons behind her visit. Winter couldn't help but feel a strong sense of loss and disappointment.
If she hadn't severed her connection with Jack to avoid the sadness and frozen herself, she would've sensed the imbalance. Her daughter had told her-but for selfish reasons, Winter hadn't listened. She loved Jacqueline, with all her heart, but sometimes she reminded her so much of Jack.
Of course, it made sense that she would. When she was born Jack had just become a legendary figure, and as such was required to have a second in command, a legate, to take over in case anything should happen. Legates were supposed to be as alike to the legend as possible, so that in the worst possible case scenario, they wouldn't risk confusing the mortals and hazard the secret solitude immortals had acquired.
She looked again at the cut out, taken aback with what she saw. This was a new level for her son.
And it unnerved Winter, knowing that the possibility of Jack losing his position and her lovely daughter stepping into his role was a very possible future.
Jacqueline, too, was quite nervous as well. It wasn't her Legendary MELT-that would be easy as pie, although the young snowy sprite wasn't too sure why pie was so easy. The last time she had made a pie was a disaster.
What unnerved her more was the large responsibility of possibly taking over her brother's roll.
She was totally confident in herself, of course. Not every sprite could make an army of snow people to do her bidding and bug her fiery little siblings. She knew, though, that Jack Frost's job was a large responsibility-and a lot of people didn't think she was responsible at all.
So instead, she hid behind her confidence and humour, amusing her dad in her attempts to make the same face as the cut out.
Anything to distract her from Winter's all too apparent worry and sadness.
Materializing in her rose garden, Mother Nature checked the sun dial. Her visit had taken roughly two hours, forty-five minutes, and as the faint shadow pointed out, roughly twenty seconds. She didn't need to look closer at the dial to find the mila-second shadow-Father Time was always right.
Originally, she hadn't thought about bringing Fiera, Fino and Jacqueline into the mess. Just Winter and Blaise-but that whole family was in trouble.
Blaise was worried for Winter, and conflicted over Jack's antics, and his daughter's little shenanigans.
Winter was on the verge of breaking point-she didn't show it, but Mother Nature knew Winter almost as well as she knew the faeries in Crystal Springs, and she was close to it.
Fino and Fiera were hiding something from their parents.
Jacqueline was the icing on the cake. Mother Nature had sensed a lot radiating off of the adolescent snowy sprite. A bit of fear, disappointment in herself, and hurt.
The dark woman was determined to fix all the problems that the family had. And by getting the three children to help her, talking to them one on one, she'd find out what each of them was hiding and fix it.
Because that's just what she did.
A/N: I bring you my head cannon! The Frost family. Even people like Jack have to have a family.
It's been a plot bunny for quite some time and so I'm testing the waters now. Hopefully, Jacqueline doesn't come across as a Mary-Sue. And if she does, I'll fix that in her chapter. Next up we have The Twins chapter. What are they hiding, I wonder...
The next chapter is taking some time; maybe it'll be up next week. I've hit a road block D:
Drop me a line; let me know what you think :)
And just for reference:
MELT's-Magical Education Level Tests. They are a requirement for all elemental immortals, and assign each a level based on their performance with their element. The levels are, in order: Able, Proficient, Distinguished, Respected, Master, Renowned, Grand-Master, and Legendary.
Legate-Every immortal that has acquired a legendary/mythical stature is required to have a Legate, a second in command, should anything happen to the original. Legate's are required to be as close to the original legend as possible, thus the mortals are not confused. As a result, they are often a like in looks and if they are opposite sexes, have the opposite version of the name (For example, feminine version of Jack is Jacqueline), or a synonym/alike name (same meaning, for instance Cupid's could be called Aphrodite) to the name. Santa is the only exception. The Legate Law is not required for every immortal being, but having second in command is suggested.
I do not own The Santa Claus movies, Mother Nature, Jack Frost, Father Time or any other figure mentioned here as they are portrayed in The Santa Clause universe. I'm not making any profit off of this. I do own the Season Sister characters, as well as Crystal Springs and Jacqueline, Blaise, Winter, Fino and Fiera Frost. Any resemblance they bare to anyone/place/thing are coincidental. The Legate Law as well as MELT's and the Ranking system do belong to me; however, I am not opposed to others using the idea, so long as credit is given where credit is due.