Just watched Rise of the Guardians today, and this little plotbunny has been tugging at my brain the entire movie. Because really, the similarities are all too striking. At first, I'd planned on this to be a one shot, maybe followed by another, more humorous one. But then I realized that it would really be OOC for them (especially Loki) to talk about themselves to a complete stranger, no matter how weird the circumstances. So this expanded.
It's going to be a series of one-shots, if I'll still feel like writing them. Basically, developing friendship between these two.
This is set post-avengers, pre-RotG.
Not all too happy with how this turned out, but I wrote this for myself mainly, so... whatever, really. And I know the accepted headcannon (or closest thing to it) is loki being Jack's mother or something, but I can't work with that right now.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Different Kinds of Frost
The thin tendrils of sand stretched out across the sky, creating a fine web between the windows of the neighborhood's children. If Jack strained his eyes, he caught glimpses of shapes in the sand- dolphins and horses and dragons.
The park was relatively quiet at this hour, with all of the children already asleep. Jack amused himself briefly by floating in front of a couple seated on a bench, looping around their heads and tugging at the woman's dark hair. She laughed, muttering something about the wind, and he grinned with her.
The woman turned back towards her boyfriend, placing her hand on his. Jack waved his hand between their faces, which drew closer and closer to each other until their noses passed through his hand as if it wasn't there. The smile wiped off his face as quickly as it came. Suddenly, the game didn't seem as fun. He turned away, clutching his staff tightly, reassured by its solid touch, and turned away towards the lake.
There was a lone man sitting by the frozen water. He was dressed lightly for this weather, in black pants and a dark green jacket that seemed all too light. He wore no hat over his black hair, and no gloves, despite the fact that he was cupping an ice crystal between his hands. His head was lowered, and Jack could imagine him staring thoughtfully at the small object.
Jack settled on a branch of a leafless tree, several feet above the man's head, and absent-mindedly traced frost patterns into its pale bark. Below him, the man's shoulders tensed, and he threw the crystal away from him with a low snarl. It skidded across the frozen surface of the lake and came to rest in its center. He looked away from the object, and suddenly turned his gaze upwards, staring at Jack's head, or more likely a spot near it, with piercing green eyes.
Jack gazed back, although he knew the stare wasn't directed at him. The man's eyes narrowed and Jack looked around furtively, to find the object of his interest. Maybe a bird or a squirrel on some higher branch. But he found nothing. It couldn't be that…
"Can you…" He swallowed, "can you see me?" He didn't expect an answer. No one had given him one before.
"Yes." Jack blinked once, and then again. Had he heard correctly? "Why should I not?"
He hadn't realized he had let go of his grip on the branch until he found himself falling, and managed to stabilize himself just in time to land on his feet, if somewhat shakily. "You can see me." He said again, at a loss for words.
"You are not a mortal." The man said, stating a fact.
"How did you…"
"You flew and conjured snow. Mortals are not capable of these feats."
"Yeah… I'm… not a mortal." Jack managed. "I'm 300 years old, as a matter of fact."
The dark-haired man did not seem surprised by that information. Instead, he turned to Jack's staff, which had iced over where his hand touched it. "How can you do this?" He asked. "Who are you?"
"I'm Jack Frost." He replied. "And… I don't know how I do it, I just… I always have." For as long as he could remember.
"Frost." The man's lip curled into a slight grimace.
"Who are you?" Jack chose to ignore his apparent disdain at the name. The stranger saw him, and that was more than enough.
The man hesitated for a moment before answering. "Loki." He didn't add a surname, or a title, or anything to indicate who he was. There was something about his name that tickled that back of Jack's mind, but he couldn't quite place his finger on it.
"You probably won't be able to answer this, but… how? How do you do it?"
Loki sighed. "You are making no sense. Unless you are under some charm of invisibility, there is no reason why I would not. And you are not under a spell, or I would have sensed it."
"I have no idea what you're talking about, but it's not a spell. People just can't see me. I guess they don't believe in me or something. I don't know. Maybe it's something I'm doing wrong. But they just can't." He was babbling. But what did it matter what this man knew about him?
Loki frowned. "I am not familiar with such a phenomenon. But it has been many years since I was in this realm."
"Your world. You say mortals cannot see you… does that mean you cannot communicate with them either?" Jack nodded grimly, and something in Loki's face relaxed.
"Wait, does that mean you're a… an alien?" The full implication of the words hit him. "As in, not from this world?"
"An alien." Loki scoffed. "I am a god, you fool. And you would do well to remember that."
It was Jack's turn to frown. "A god, you say? I don't know about that… you could just be one of us."
"I do not know who you are referring to, but I am most certainly not like you."
"Don't know who I'm… Huh? Santa Clause? Tooth Fairy? Sandman? Never heard of them?" Easter Bunny didn't deserve a mention, of course. "You actually haven't," he realized. "I guess you really are an alien."
"I assume everyone in this world is supposed to know of them?" Jack nodded. "Of you?"
Jack lowered his head. "Not… not quite." He admitted. "I told you. They can't see me. None of them. They can see the others well enough, but not me. I don't know why you can. Maybe it's because you're a god. Alien. Whatever."
"Perhaps." Neither of them spoke for a while, each lost in their thoughts. Jack's mind was spinning with the possibilities. It was the first time he's had a conversation in years. As a matter of fact, it was the first time someone had spoken to him since his brief run-in with an angry Bunny seven years ago. And this time, it wasn't a guardian. Granted, Loki wasn't exactly human either, but it was a start.
"Why are you out here?" Jack asked. "Why aren't you with your alien family or something?"
"I have none." Loki said softly, and Jack found himself wondering why he was here. Why was a person from a different planet here on earth, with no family or acquaintances? Or could it be that he really didn't have anyone, not even back on his home world?
The other man's eyes were still averted. Jack suspected he wouldn't have said any of that if he hadn't known Jack couldn't tell anyone. Slowly, hesitantly, Jack reached out with his hand and placed it on Loki's. Loki flinched, and stared at Jack with surprise, but he didn't move away. His skin wasn't warm. It could have been the same temperature as Jack's own cold skin. It was certainly just as pale. Jack didn't move, relishing the very touch, the feel of a solid hand under his own.
The snow under their hands began to ice over, delicate curls of frost and ice solidifying the powdery mass. Jack glanced at his staff. It lay at his side, untouched. He knew that it wasn't him freezing the ground. When he looked back at their hands, he saw Loki's skin had transformed, a deep blue taking over the pale white, strange markings carving themselves into the flesh.
Jack didn't know whose face was more surprised- his or Loki's. The blue hadn't reached the rest of the other man's skin, and he pulled his hand away. A brief look passed between the two, and Loki abruptly got to his feet and walked away, blue hand shoved deep into the pocket of his jacket.
Jack didn't follow. He didn't call out for Loki to come back. Instead, he watched the retreating back of the one person who saw him, looked down at the perfect circle of ice that had formed around Loki's hand, and whispered so quietly even he could barely hear himself, "thank you."