Disclaimer: I don't own either characters, worlds, or storylines! Kudos to Bryke and Dreamworks.
Genre: Crossover (The Rise of the Guardians/Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Pairing: Jack Frost/Princess Yue
Summary: In which the man in the moon isn't a man at all. — Crossover, Jack Frost/Princess Yue.
Notes: 12/2/12. Having read After Dark is not necessary, I suppose... but it will help.
Musical Inspiration: "Let Me Sign" by Roberto Pattinson.
"You're," he rasps, throat run dry. "You're..."
She smiles sadly.
He is confused.
"I know that you have lost much," she speaks to him, and this is wrong, wrong, wrong, Jack thinks. She is a ghost to his eyes, but Pitch could never have imagined something so bright, and so he has no idea what to make of her. "And for many years, you had gained little," she continues. "I am happy to see that you have found your family at last, Guardian."
"But why?" Jack wants to know. He wants to know because his heart feels like it might burst, and this feeling isn't going away. "Why the—I don't—what took you so long?" He holds onto his staff with white-knuckled fingers, leaning against it with all his weight. "I don't understand."
"There is still much to be uncovered," she says softly, keeping her distance and, strangely, Jack thinks that perhaps she is wiser for it. He doesn't feel like himself. He doesn't know what he's supposed to feel like, or if what he's feeling is even real and—she, she is the moon.
"There are many laws of the Spirit World, and I, like any other, am confined to them."
"The... The what?"
"You have embraced your place as a Guardian... But there is more than just the world that you see." Her light continues to shine, soft and flowing against the night's winter breeze, but it sounds like she is asking him a question, something important, and he doesn't know how to answer. "There is more to you, as well."
Something inside of him snaps; it's a quick, quiet thing, like the breaking of a small, frail twig."You've gotta be kidding me," he whispers. Three hundred years of isolation? For what? For this?
"There is another world, Jack," she tries to smile, but all he feels is numb. "A world beyond your wildest imagination."
"Is that where you live?" he asks, blankly, vacantly.
"Sometimes," she concedes, and Jack still does not understand why her smile is sad. Perhaps she feels guilty for what she has done to him and she is guilty, isn't she? He doesn't know that, but he feels it. Who else could have done this to him? "My place is between the two," she explains, but his eyes are stuck to the icy pond. This is where he died. This is where he changed. He'd died, and this is where it happened.
"Why?" he whispers again.
She knows what he is really asking, but it's not the question she chooses to answer. Her smile turns frail, but he doesn't see. "My place is to watch over all, and to guide the Guardians of the night."
Jack breathes in and—
If his heart bursts, he wonders, will he find nothing but shattered ice?
"I don't believe this," he spits suddenly, turning his back on the moon—she's here, the moon is here—because everything he'd ever been told about the moon is a lie. And it makes Jack angry—irrationally, blindingly angry—the way she is able to speak to him so calmly, so serenely, with such concern and care in her eyes and he doesn't want to see any more. It does not matter that the moon led him to his family, directed him to his destiny, oh no, because—because the moon hadn't let him die, and in doing so had left him to die, in a way, through centuries of loneliness and a heartache he couldn't hide from, couldn't understand—and there is a young woman in front of him who he knows to be the moon, who he knows, but nothing is as it was supposed to be, and he is confused.
"There is more, Jack."
"So... So why now?" he rasps again, and he is rapidly losing control. "Why speak to me now? You didn't even go so far as to reach out to us when Pitch was a threat, not like this, so why—"
"Because interfering with the balance is not my place," she explains softly, and he isn't looking at her, but he can hear the pain in her voice. Is that regret? He hopes it is. "That is the responsibility of the Guardians. I merely offer guidance, when I am entitled to."
"So then what are you here for?" he demands, crossing his arms, and he knows that this is not how he usually acts, not the typical Jack that he has always been, but he refuses to care.
"It is a rare thing, but I am not here before you now solely as the Moon Spirit... I am speaking with the heart of someone I once was a long, long time ago. There was a name given to me at the time of my first birth, a forgotten name, but I would like you to know it." And finally, she sweeps closer, floating like the wind itself. "Once upon a time, my name was Yue. Princess Yue."
There is a beat, and Jack falters. "Princess?" he whispers, brows furrowing.
Again, that sad, sad smile. "My people have long since passed," she tells him, and Jack does not know how to hear this. "By the time of your birth, they were but ancient memories... They were from another world entirely. But I am here now, with you, because perhaps our worlds are not so different after all. I see much of myself in you."
"Me?" Jack asks incredulously. He looks on at her flowing dress, distracted. "But how?"
"Like you, I wasn't always what I am now," she explains. "I had a life, a family, a completely different future... It was hard for me to let go."
"But I have let go," he responds in confusion, and he can feel the ice of the pond behind him, calling him out on his lies. "I mean, I wasn't really given much of a choice, was I?" he spits angrily. "I didn't hold onto my memories. It wasn't until three centuries later that I even knew they existed! And now it's been so long—I can't even—I don't know how to feel about them anymore!" his voice rises, and now his control is gone. "I died! I died and that's it. End of story."
"You didn't just die, Jack," Yue speaks softly, and the pain is more evident in her voice than ever. "You gave back the life force that was gifted to you in order to save someone you loved, and in return you were granted another. Another existence. Your rightful existence."
"But why me?" he asks angrily, and finally, the crux of the matter surfaces. "There are so many others who are more worthy of being a Guardian! Those who have done so much more than I have! Soldiers! Doctors! I—I know, now, that I'm a Guardian..." He catches his breath, and tries to swallow. "But... but how am I supposed to believe... that you chose me? And I know it was you," he whispers, finally looking back into her eyes; he'd only ever seen such blue in his reflection. "I know it was you who chose me. But I don't know why."
And then she is right before him, only a few feet away, and it takes all of his strength not to move back. She looks solid, whole, but he has the feeling that if he were to touch her, he would pass right through. When she speaks, there is light in her eyes, and he is momentarily thrown. "Your act of selflessness made you notable, but your spark... it made you someone that I knew people would believe in. And it was an act that I, personally, admire."
"So is that why you came all the way down here?" he scoffs. "To congratulate me?"
"I came down because I worry for you," she whispers.
"Like I said... I see myself in you."