So I took my kids to see Rise of the Guardians over the weekend. Clearly I have had better idea because I was possibly more engrossed than they were. So here I am, writing again for the first time in what feels like forever.
Things shall be equal parts friendship/hurt/comfort/fluff/angst/adventure with a dash of Pitch being a melodramatic (and uninspired) uber villain thrown in for good measure.
Little Boy Blue
Christmas at the Pole was quite possibly the most bizarre experience Jack Frost had ever been swept up in. He'd seen wars planned with less attention to detail and brilliant heists pulled off with fewer contingencies. From the center of his bustling hive of activity, North controlled all, bellowing orders in his heavy accent, a sense of urgency and excitement rendering much of what he said completely indecipherable.
With only three days to go, Jack had taken to haunting the stables, entertaining the reindeer and trying to keep out of the way. The invitation North had extended to him consisted of a roof over his head for the first time in centuries, and it wasn't just seasonal, but Jack was more than aware of his own extraordinary ability to find and create trouble. As this was the first Christmas since Pitch had come so close to destroying them all, North was on a personal mission to make it the most glorious holiday on record and Jack would do anything not to spoil it.
He was also curious, though. He hadn't been lying when he'd said he'd been trying to sneak into the Pole for years, so the chance to see Christmas up close and personal was too big a thrill to pass. He kept as out of the way as he could, genuinely enjoying being with the reindeers, who as seasoned professionals were taking North's slightly neurotic flailing without so much of a twitch.
On the few occasions Jack did head inside, he had quickly learned it safest to fly through the corridors to avoid both stepping on an elf, or being stepped on himself: yetis were just as heavy as they looked, and some of them clearly hadn't forgiven Jack for the years he had spent making their lives difficult.
It wasn't an entirely one-sided arrangement between himself and North. Jack got to have as much or as little company as he chose; the door always open to him, his room always made up. In return, North got what he had long been lacking – a child to test his toys on.
"Really not a kid, you know." Jack had halfheartedly protested with a roll of his eyes and a slight grin. Even he wasn't about to turn down the chance to get his hands on some of the coolest toys in existence.
North had clapped him merrily on the back. "You are youngest Guardian. That close enough for me." Then he had promptly directed a beautiful red and black toy train to whiz past Jack's ear. Any protests Jack might have felt compelled to make were quickly forgotten. He had no memory of ever playing with toys and only a fool would argue with Santa after all.
A set of firm jaws clamped down on his hand. Jack had let his mind wander and failed to pay attention to Dancer XIX. The reindeer probably hadn't minded Jack's lack of attention so much as his failure to produce any extra carrots.
Jack yelped and tugged his hand free with a glare at the animal. "How can you still be hungry? I fed you like an hour ago!" Clearly when it came to letting him keep them company, the reindeer's generosity lasted only as long as the carrots.
North wouldn't mind him sneaking down to the kitchens for some carrots. He'd seemed grateful that Jack had taken to looking after the animals and it wasn't as if he was going to instigate another Yeti Union strike. He'd find some elves to help him, and he'd look after the ravenous beasts himself. They'd need to be well fed of they were going to haul North's 'Most Excellent and Epic Christmas Extravaganza' all the way around the world.
Sticking to the less used corridors, Jack still encountered half of North's workforce. He recognized Phil and waved merrily. The yeti waved back unabashedly until he caught himself, scowled at Jack, and turned to yell at the closest worker for not keeping the paint in between the lines. Jack left him to it, chuckling all the way to the main hall.
From there it was a matter of navigating the bikes that rode themselves, the balls that shot backwards and forwards, the automated robots, the self motorized train sets, the dancing dolls and the stumbling teddy bears as they walked off the production line towards the trio of yetis wielding wrapping paper with the precision of trained swordsmen. Wrapping had never been something to really grab Jack's interest, but even he could admire the artistry of some of the trickier shaped wraps.
He hovered in the doorway long enough to get a red ribbon slapped on his back and made a quick escape as he tried to untangle himself.
North's booming voice grew louder as he made his way towards the center of the tower. By the sound of things, not everything was going according to plan. Jack winched at the sudden stream of butchered Russian sayings that formed North's unique type of cursing and stepped back into the shadows just in time to avoid a stampede of yetis all clutching armfuls of tangled yoyos.
"Ai, what is this? You make elephant out of fly! I do it myself. No, no, out from under boot you go. Shoo."
Cringing in sympathy for the subject or North's ire, Jack continued to make his way down the stairs. The workshop was no less magical for all the hurried back and forth preparations. He ducked under the tail of a sparkling dragon shaped kite and carefully avoid catching anyone's attention. North might be one of the gentlest people on the planet but his booming voice, thick accent and enormous build made it hard to remember that sometimes. Jack wasn't afraid of him, he just…didn't want to get caught in the middle.
Behind him an elf squawked and tripped over the untangled end of a garland of fairy lights. He went down, and like a bowling pin, took out the five elves in front of him.
Jack couldn't help but chuckle. The elves were a notoriously hardy bunch, almost impossible to actually hurt, and so their antics were endless sources of amusement to a mischievous spirit like Jack.
When he caught a glimpse of Phil though, the humor dropped. The large yeti was carrying ten perfectly wrapped presents, all neatly wrapped and beautifully decorated. They towered so high they blocked his view of the elf-strewn carnage at the foot of the stairs.
Jack followed the yeti's path with his eyes, seeing the mound of hundreds of similarly wrapped gifts, and the inevitable outcome should Phil reach the base of the stairs.
Shouting out a warning, Jack turned the surface of the steps to ice. The yeti went down, presents flying over his head only to be caught in the gentle breeze Jack summoned with a thought and carried down to rest neatly among their fellows. He even managed to steer Phil away from the elf pile and into a neatly filled regiment of soft toys all waiting to be wrapped.
He let his staff rest between his feet, a smile of satisfaction pulling at his mouth when he looked at the salvaged gifts.
It was a smile that turned to horror as, his attention occupied with Phil and the toys, two more yetis stumbled upon the ice. They shot down, across the hall, and straight into the middle of the pile of gifts. The following racket could be heard all across the Pole. It was a sound only dwarfed by North's bellow of frustration.
Dressed in his usual reds, North had his sleeves rolled up and a paintbrush behind his ear. He took one look at the destroyed gifts, the disorientated yetis and the downed elves.
Then at the icy stairs and finally Jack himself.
It was Easter all over again. He had only been trying to help, and look what he had done.
"Jack, what did you do?"
Jack only heard the words and not the gentle voice they were spoken with. The look on North's face was right out of his memories and unbidden Tooth's sad eyes and Bunny's angrily twitching ears rose to the forefront of his mind.
He opened his mouth to stammer an excuse, but none formed. He had nothing.
Calling the wind to his aid, Jack leapt into the air and tumbled gracelessly through the closest open window.
"Jack!" North shouted after him.
Jack paid no attention. He threw himself to the wind and climbed higher in the air. He let the cold embrace him and tried desperately to control himself. Tears stung his eyes, but it was anger that fueled him the most.
He couldn't even do this one thing right…