Chapter 1 – The Lonely Spirit
The town of Burgess which bustled with life and activity has slowly subsided in its vigor as the sun slowly descend below the horizon, leaving the last of its amber glow before the night takes over the endless skies.
Jamie sighed as he stared longingly out of the window, remembering that day where he fought valiantly together with the Guardians and his friends. It was only a few months ago and the image of Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Sandman was still clear in his mind.
But what never really left him since that day was the thought of the sprite-like boy that looked almost human, but with an air of chill and excitement around him. He was Jack Frost.
Although their meeting was a brief one, Jamie felt like he has known him for a long time. The memory of his sleigh ride that caused the loss of his tooth played vividly within, and he sighed thinking how little he had thanked him for reviving his belief in the Guardians.
"No one really believed in Jack Frost, he must have been really lonely all his life."
He remembered the first day when all the Guardians were in his room, and there was this apparent empty space which could almost fit a person between them. He saw no one at that time, but he felt as though someone was there. A feeling of pain and rejection, but he was too excited to comprehend it.
He sighed and snuggled quietly in his bed, reminding himself that Jack will always be with him in his heart. He smiled and fell asleep.
The glittering of Sandy's amorphous golden sand twirled around the sky forming tendrils and wavelike entities as they float towards the children in Burgess.
It was this sight that Jack longed for the most at night, where he will let the wind carry him from sand to sand to dwell in the happy dreams of the children. He remembered fondly the golden dolphin that circled around, but that was a thing in the past.
Leaning his back on a tree trunk with his staff gripped in his right hand, he looked at the frozen lake where everything he had known about himself came to life.
Burgess has always been his home, but this lake was prominent to him and has always drawn him back due to the memories that he treasured. The lake located in the heart of the forest was the only place he could call home.
Things have not changed much ever since he agreed to be a Guardian. The other Guardians have been working hard trying to revive the hope of the children of the world in them.
North has been preparing gifts in advance together with his Yetis for this coming Christmas while Tooth and Sandy have been running an everyday routine; collecting teeth from and giving dreams to the children of the world.
A pang of guilt hit him deep within his heart as he thought about Bunnymund. The Pooka was probably feeling the pain and rejection he has felt for the past three hundred years of his life. It was no relieve that someone was living in the same shoes as him, and Jack still blamed himself for ruining this year's Easter.
"If only I could make things right for that kangaroo…" But he knew nothing could be done until the next Easter.
Jack sighed heavily and put down his staff. He picked up a bunch of fresh snow from the ground, shaped it into a ball and blew a gust of air on it freezing the already solid snowball. He tossed it from palm to palm playfully, his face shone with glee as he admired the wonders that he could create with his given power.
Due to a life of isolation, he relished in every little thing he encountered. He sought any form of entertainment and distraction he could to ward away the impending feeling of loneliness that crept within his heart. He felt sheepish after awhile and decided to throw the snowball away but was dismayed by the sound of a crack resulting from the impact of the frozen snowball and the thin ice formed on the lake.
The cracking sound of the ice echoed in his head with increasing resonance. Jack curled up held his head tightly, as though he was trying to stop the vibrating sound from within. His eyes were screwed shut and he grunted, trying to fight the hammering pain within as the sound remained in him and refused to leave the tormented teenager alone.
He struggled with the sound in his head, panting, but surrendered to it finally knowing that he has no control of his situation. As he calmed down, the sound in his head seemed to subside leaving him in a dazed state but just as he thought he could afford to catch his breath he stared in horror at the crack formed in the middle of the lake.
A petite girl with straight shoulder length brown hair was shivering from head to toe, eyes damped and her face was pale with fear. She was crying as she stood on the crack, beads of tears cascading down her cheeks, scared that if she made a single effort to move, the ice beneath will give way.
The girl was his sister, straight out of the memories of his childhood.
And although she was far at the middle of the lake, he could hear her as though her voice spoke from within him. "J-Jack… I'm afraid…."
He would never forget that voice. Although Jack did not know his sister's name, he knew that he was willing to trade anything that belonged to him to protect her. He gave his life, for her.
Fear gripped his heart, but he knew that he had to remain strong for his sister. His eyes were wild with panic. He took a few quick steps to close up the distance between them on barefoot and he smiled to hide his worries from her. And though he was light, the thin ice was beginning to give way as he approached her.
She screamed as the ice beneath Jack's feet begins to crack, forming a network of jagged lines around his feet. He froze in his track, to prevent the aggravation of his sister's fear. His childhood memories were still vivid in his mind. Still smiling to calm his sister, he decided to repeat his history.
"It's okay, it's okay... Just look at me. We're gonna have a little fun!"
"N-no games Jack. T-this is not fun a-anymore…" She said through her tears.
It pained Jack to see his sister crying but his smile remained. He needs to be strong for her. "Have I ever tricked you?"
"You always play tricks…!" Her crying never subsided.
"N-n-no not this time! I promise, I promise I won't let you fall in. You're going to be fine! You have to believe in me."
The word struck him keenly. Though the word was of his making, it often gave him strength and comfort. Not many believed in him, and he will do anything to protect those who do. He fought back the welding up of tears in his eyes. He needed to do this, for his younger sister.
"O-okay…" She stopped sobbing, but she was still shivering from fear.
"You wanna play a game? Let's play a game of hopscotch! Like we always do." He was focused on her to bring her attention away from the cracking ice beneath, but he was scared himself as he knew that the thin ice might not be able to support his weight.
"Like this," and he took a light step forward, "One," and continued on "Two, and three!" He was relieved to see a glimmer of hope in his sister's eyes as he stood firmly on the thin ice. "Your turn now, one…"
As he started counting, his sister gingerly took a step forward. Though her steps were small, they were good enough to close the distance and on the count of three, he reached out to try and hook his sister to safety, but something was amiss. He was not holding his staff.
Jack slipped and fell on the ice and he scowled in pain from the fall but he looked up to maintain sight of his quivering sister.
"J-jack?" Her voice overwhelmed with fear.
As his face began to lose its colour, the thin ice beneath his sister began to crack violently. The breaking of the ice played like a death melody in his ears, as she fell into the frozen lake and her frightened scream echoed through the surrounding.
Jack tried to dive into the lake to save his younger sister, but something was holding him back, something dark and sinister. His eyes widened in horror as he lay paralyzed on the frozen lake and watched his little sister descending slowly down the lake.
He fought against the ethereal being, but as much as he struggled, he could not break free from its grip. His limbs did not obey him and he laid there motionless, with no control of his own body. He hated this weakness and stared helplessly at the gap of ice in front of him.
Jack was devastated. He did not know how long he remained motionless. It was then, he heard a faint and familiar voice calling to him.
"Jack! Jack! Wake up ya little ankle biter."
"Wh-what..?" Jack opened his eyes only to meet with a pair of bright emerald eyes. It was Bunnymund.
Bunnymund's hands were on his shoulders and from the looks of the crease formed on his blue hooded sweater, it looked like he was shaken up from a nightmare. A very bad one…
"Had a nightmare mate? Ya don't look so well." He freed his hands from the waking boy.
All these years of isolation has not changed who Jack really was. Just because he became a Guardian does not mean he had to be someone else. And he really wanted to be alone.
"I-I'm fine, it was nothing." Jack looked away, to avoid the gaze of the Pooka.
Bunnymund knew that was a lie and had little patience with the toughness Jack was trying to potray "What d'ya take me for? A little kan-"
"I'm fine!" Jack said indignantly. The bunny furrowed his eyebrows as he was not pleased with the young Guardian's attitude. Sure he was still a teenager and was still innocent, but that did not mean he could do and say whatever that he wanted to. But he maintained his composure, knowing that Jack was still uncomfortable with help and care from others.
He decided just to do what he was told. "Ol' man from the north had sent me to check on ya mate, the others were worried sick about ya"
"Tell them I'm alright" With that Jack rose from where he was leaning, picked up his staff and flew up to the sky, leaving a frustrated Pooka behind who yelled something incoherent at him.
He allowed the wind to carry him around aimlessly, high up in the sky where his emotions were flowing just as aimlessly. He landed after a while and lay back on a huge branch of an oak tree. He pillowed his head with his palms, his gentle white hair pressing against them as he looked at the starry sky.
Memories of his lonely past began to flood his mind; the feeling of rejection, insecurity, loneliness and the dreadful silence. Tears threatened to form in his blue eyes but he fought them back and refused to give in. But he could not forget all the pain and suffering he had to go through. Could not understand why the other Guardians only came to him when he was needed. He felt like he was used and forgotten.
The nightmare he had just moments ago haunted him even as he was awake. The vision of his drowning younger sister replayed clearly, replacing all his current thoughts. He jumped into a sitting position, feeling startled and scared.
"S-she didn't drown!" Jack exclaimed to himself. But in his head, a wispy and malicious voice was whispering to him.
"She didn't, but she suffered… after your death"
Jack's eyes widened with fear, "That can't be!"
"And how would know? You do not even know her name…" The voice teased his very conscience.
"Yes, I do…- I don't…" Jack lowered his head in shame, but his action to avoid the voice was in vain.
"You cannot escape the truth Jack… You know nothing of her!"
Fear has found a way into the little Guardian, his heart palpitated wildly. He strained his eyes closed and tried to push away threatening voice.
"Stay away from me!" Jack screamed.
The voice laughed with an inhumane glee as it trailed off, leaving the Guardian vulnerable and shaken.
Jack did not budge, his body stiffened. He was alarmed and filled with mental agony. He needed someone, anyone to be around him.
"W-who was that voice…?" The question repeated in his mind.
He felt broken and downhearted, as though enveloped by grief itself. Tears stung his terrified innocent eyes. Feeling weakened and defeated, he gave way and laid on his side, crying himself to sleep. Alone, once again.
Well, that's it for Chapter 1! I hope you guys liked it... It's my very first try in writing fan fiction and I'm thoroughly nervous about it. I do accept criticism openly, but I hope you'll be nice with me xD. Cheers!