Drowning in Darkness
Jack Frost gazed around the small clearing with a frown.
The soft drip of melting snow seemed to echo as it fell from tree branches and formed puddles on the grass peeking through the last bit of snow. Flowers were timidly peeping up from mulch beds and buds were slowly uncurling on some of the braver trees.
This spring weather just wouldn't do for the winter spirit.
He snuck a quick look at Bunnymund, who was crouching a few paces away and gently placing a bright blue and green egg beneath a bush for Easter tomorrow.
He'd agreed to help his fellow guardian with hiding the eggs this year for lack of anything else to do.
Despite being the newly christened guardian of fun, Jack had very few responsibilities compared to his fellow guardians. It's not like he himself influenced the weather all over the globe; he just helped spread a little extra snow and fun when he was in a winter area. He could certainly help out with a freak storm in say, Egypt, but otherwise he pretty much spent his days visiting cold areas creating snow days and making the children laugh.
Tooth spent practically every waking minute collecting and doing inventory of teeth and Sandy was constantly floating around the world giving children good dreams. Like Tooth, as soon as some kids woke up, a whole new set were going to bed and needed teeth removed from beneath pillows and dream sand dancing around their heads.
Jack had gotten to experience his first Christmas with North a couple of months ago and he'd been surprised by how laid-back the guardian of wonder had remained. With all the stress of getting every toy out to children all over the world Jack would have thought the North Pole would have been more chaotic. But as North liked to say, his toys could be made the day after Christmas and stockpiled all the way to the next year so he was never in short supply.
Like, say, a certain Easter kangaroo.
Eggs went bad after a certain date. Even chocolate ones would grow stale. So Bunnymund had to create his entire stock within a couple of days and then deliver them without the aid of a magic snow globe.
So Jack, out of the goodness of his heart, had offered to help deliver the eggs and had even taken a good portion to the colder areas, which Bunnymund hated due to the cold and snow.
They were on the last batch now, as sunlight started to filter through the trees and warming Easter morning.
But Jack really didn't do warm. And a little snow never hurt anyone.
Lightly tapping his staff to the ground, a patch of frost started to grow across the ground and Jack smirked to himself.
The smirk turned to a shout of indignation as the staff was wrenched from his hands by a very irate looking bunny.
"Oh no yah don't," he growled, tossing Jack's staff across the clearing where it skidded across the just beginning to thaw lake.
"Aw, c'mon Bunny!" Jack protested to the scowling guardian. "It's just a little frost!
"Any frost is too much frost," Bunny grumbled, bending down to pick up his basket.
"You're no fun," Jack called as he headed towards the lake to retrieve his staff.
"Eye guess it's a good thing Eye'm not the guardian ohv fun then," Bunny shot back.
"Ouch, that hurts right here," Jack said, clutching his heart.
Bunny rolled his eyes and tapped a paw impatiently as the winter spirit slowly made his way to his staff. Jack knew they were on a schedule to get back to the Warren so they could watch all the children find their eggs. It was Bunnymund's favorite part of Easter, after all.
"Keep your tail on, Kangaroo," Jack said fondly as he bent down to grab his staff. "I'm coming."
Just as his fingers brushed the ancient piece of wood a sharp cracking pierced the air.
"Whaa?" Jack wondered aloud, glancing down. The ice beneath his feet was spider-webbing in jagged lines, racing across the melting pond.
But Jack suddenly wasn't standing on a spring-melting lake. He was standing on a winter-frozen one, a little girl staring at him with wide brown eyes, as a pair of ice skates lay abandoned to the side.
And then he was falling.
He'd never learned to swim when he'd been alive, and he'd never taken up the hobby during his 300 years of immortality.
Swimming had never bothered him before, he just didn't see the point of getting wet when all that water would just ice over him. There was nothing fun about that.
Now though… as he sank down into the lake, all he could see was the light growing dimmer, faintly hear the crying of his sister and could feel panic filling up his chest as he clawed fruitlessly at the water.
He was drowning. Again.
Fear turned his heart cold as a burst of bubbles flew out of his mouth and he inhaled the freezing water, the surface getting farther and farther away.
He flailed his arms again, trying to propel himself to the surface, but the water seemed to be dragging him down, pulling him away from that bright glow of the sun.
His vision was starting to darken around the edges as he used up the last of his air.
He never thought he'd die as an immortal. Die like he had in life.
Clearly he'd been wrong.
Just as black was about to fill his vision, Jack felt a strong tug on his arm and dimly saw two furry paws encircle his chest. Then he was being pulled to the surface, pressure racing past his ears before he broke through, flakes of ice spraying in every direction.
Bunny was gasping loudly behind him, paddling over to a thicker shelf of ice and pushing Jack up before hauling himself out.
Jack remained still on the ice, only moving to drag his knees to his chest as shivers overtook him and the water froze to ice.
Bunny shook himself, teeth chattering, before kneeling down next to Jack.
"Oy, Frostbite," he said, shaking the young guardian's shoulder, concern mounting as he saw the winter spirit, the boy who ran around barefoot and rolled in snow for fun, shiver beneath his paw. The shaking turned more pronounced as Jack remained silent. "Frostbite!"
"I…. I'm fine," Jack got out, shakily sitting up and wrapping his arms about himself, breath coming in a little cloud in front of him. "I'm fine."
Bunny frowned but said nothing and finished brushing the ice crystals off Jack's hoodie.
Jack glanced up sharply a second later. "W-where's my staff?" he chattered.
It was right where he'd left it; a few inches from the hole that he'd plunged into seconds before. A second, larger hole was next to it where Bunny had dove in.
"Great," he muttered, carefully climbing to his feet and inching out towards it, balancing his feet in a way that if the ice cracked he could jump back.
Bunny watched the whole thing with concern, as Jack edged around the whole after giving it a fearful glance and managed to scoop up his staff.
"You don't mind if I freeze this, do you?" he asked. "Wouldn't want any kids falling in."
"That's probably for the best," Bunny agreed, as Jack gave the entire lake a good solid coating of ice and walked back to his fellow guardian, a spring in his step.
"Whatcha waiting around for, Bunny? Those kids are going to open their eggs without you!" he said, large grin on his face.
"You okay?" the pooka asked, searching that deceptively grinning face.
"Never better. Now c'mon Kangaroo, we're going to be late!"
Bunnymund frowned as he opened a tunnel for both of them and Jack dove through first. The younger guardian may act like nothing was wrong, but Bunny had been around for a long, long time. He could see the fear behind those ice blue eyes, even if he had no idea why the near-drowning experience would impact Jack so much.
Sighing, he hopped into the hole as well. If the kid wasn't going to talk about it, Bunny so was not going to be the one bring it up.
In the dark bowels of an old cavern, a black shadow shifted.
It had laid dormant for a year, unable to find the strength to form. But now…
Black sands shifted and a pair of glowing yellow eyes and feral teeth turned up in a grin.
"I can taste your fear, Jack Frost," Pitch Black hissed. "And it tastes delicious."
So I've been bitten by the Rise of the Guardians bug. Badly. Jack Frost, plus the fact he's voiced by Chris Pine = equals love.
I've had this idea bouncing around my head and I'm hoping by writing a new fandom and a shorter fic will help me getting my writing back on. Writing news stories every day and covering board meetings does not help whatsoever!
I hope you all enjoyed it and I'd love if you dropped a review to share your thoughts. Also, any help on Bunny's accent would be greatly appreciated. I've got Hagrid down from HP, but Australian is a new beast.
Also, some shameless plugging for my art shop. It doesn't have any Rise of the Guardian merchandise (yet!) but I've got a lot of cute chibi art of plenty of other series, including Avengers, Avatar (Airbender and Korra), My Little Pony and a ton more! I'm not quite a starving artist, but any help (if you like anything) is always greatly appreciated, especially with the holiday season coming up. I don't think North is dropping down my chimney! You can visit my shop from a link in my profile. Thanks so much!
See you all soonish!