Rated T for slight body horror. Reviews, while not mandatory, would be nice?
Jack Frost visits the desert, once.
It's the middle of November, and he's been working overtime trying to keep up with all the fresh snow, frost and general chills the season brings. No one else really has time to visit him, North preparing for Christmas and Sandy and Tooth having year- long jobs. The only guardian with some free time is Bunnymund, but even the memory of their last encounter confuses Jack to the point where he has to stop and try to repress. Inviting him to hang out is out of the question.
And so, after a particularly fierce blizzard delivered to central Russia, Frost figures he deserves a break. There's nowhere on Earth he's never been, not really, but there are some places he stays out of. The desert is one of them, he doesn't like heat as a rule, even if there's never been an occasion where Jack's been truly hot. But the more he thinks on the subject, the more he realizes that the desert isn't always hot. Jack knows the place has to get cold sometime, and it turns out it does, with the temperature dropping to below zero at night.
This is extremely interesting. After all, the desert? A place he only knows as dry, warm and inhospitable? It seems impossible, but when you've got limitless years of curiosity to explore, there only one thing to do; just that. And so Jack grips his staff and stands up from the pool of ice, and lets the winds carry him to a new place, a place where every night they do his work for him.
And it's true. The desert is nothing like he expected – it's rocky with hills and rivers and tough bushes. He comes at night, and everything is wonderfully cold. Not cold like the arctic, which is sharp and unforgiving. This is a sort of feral cold, one that gives way to the expectation and reality of the sun coming up and the hills returning to their charged, heated state. Jack waves his staff and the winds comply, freezing the air further and drawing out the small store of water the place has left.
It's snowing in the desert, and Jack laughs.
After a while he tires of his fun and lies down by a short tree, feeling the frost and the chilled air around him. This is his element, and it came to such an unexpected place. Perhaps that's why he doesn't really notice when everything gets fuzzier and fuzzier until he drifts off, to sleep. Jack Frost sleeps.
And then, Jack Frost woke up.
His first thought is that he's sweating. He remembers it from when he was alive, (remembers it now)but he didn't think his existence meant it could ever happen again. It's scary at first, but new and Jack likes new things so it's not a big deal. He sits up and it's predictably day, bright and sunny and – oh, warm.
He shifts. He doesn't like the warm, it's uncomfortable to everything he is. Jack reaches up to wipe the sweat off his brow and, for lack of a better word, freezes. Surely that can't be what he feels like. He tries again and his finger runs down the side of his face. His skin is like pudding, soft and flexible and, not, god not, natural. His hand trembles as he presses and dips down, scraping his chin.
And taking some of the flesh with it. He comes a horrid realization, oddly calm in the sea of shock. He's not sweating. Jack is melting.
Later, when he repeats the story with Bunnymund's pressuring, he doesn't deny he panics. He screams, really, and leaps to his feet. His hands hurt, and when he stares for a moment they seem to be wilting, with that frightening layer of water on them. As he watches, his right ring finger drips and wavers, a good chunk falling to the ground.
The adrenaline kicks in, and Jack chooses flight. His staff is in his (disintegrating) hand and he's flying before everything catches up. It takes his foot being kicked out in frost and seeing it not respond when he wants it to stay back for him to start crying. He almost loses his staff with the blur and melt, and Jack's reduced to carrying it in the crook of his elbow.
His right hand is almost entirely liquid, now, the wind carrying it down to the dry hills. His clothes are damp, growing wet, and Jack refuses to open his mouth for fear his tears will poison his tongue.
His doesn't know (doesn't remember) how long it takes until the creeping warmth disappears and he find a nice, cool crevice in the landscape to huddle down in. The last of his strength is used for frost, making the air chill and the cave grow cold. He watches, mute, as the frost returns to what's left of his body, the bones and flesh re-forming with time. Eventually, everything's back, newly minted from the essence of what he is.
He stays there for a long, long time until Bunnymund searches him out and brings him back to the North Pole, the arctic, the cold.
Jack Frost never visits the desert again.