Is this more RotG fanfiction that you've stumbled upon? Why yes, yes it is! I've chosen to write this because of another fanfiction author from within the fandom who has sparked a huge change in my outlook on life. I had no clue that something like fanfiction (hers was slash fiction, no less) could have such an intense effect on anybody. I hope that I'm not the only one that moved by this stuff... In any respect, my goal is to make someone smile. This is my first attempt at writing fanfiction so go easy on me, alright?
Disclaimer: You guys know I don't own any of this shit, right? This seems really unnecessary. Well, here goes nothing... I do not own Rise of the Guardians, any of the characters (aside from a few background characters), Scholastic, or any of the name brand products mentioned.
CHAPTER 1: NEVER GROW UP
I can still vividly remember the day that Jack Frost left Burgess for good. It's probably easy to think that I'm a lucky one. Everyone else has since brushed off our encounter with the Guardians as a product of our childhood imaginations. After all, we have had many pretend adventures together.
I distinctly remember Pippa as the captain of the S.S. Barnacle, our pirate ship. Naturally our grand pirate ship was nothing more than her father's canoe that usually only sat in her garage due to a large crack in the bottom caused by one too many rocks colliding with the bottom in shallow waters, but our wild imaginations managed to fill in the holes. Even to this day, I sometimes remember it being made out of wood like our pirate ship, though in reality it was crafted from a less ornate metal.
And so I could forgive them. For a while, I was furious when they told me that they were too old to believe in that sort of thing. I remember how happy Jack was when someone finally believed in him, and watching my friends take that away from him hurt. About a week after my friends stopped believing, he told me that it was time for him to move on. I asked if he would visit from time to time, but he told me that was a Guardian of children, and that I was growing up. And just like that, he left.
And in that moment, I promised that I would never grow up. I was forced to mature in many ways as time passed though. Eventually, my mom stopped waking me up for school, made my lunch less, and gave me more responsibilities. I learned to cope, but I promised myself that I would never stop believing.
And I didn't.
It was hard at times. I quickly caught on that the Guardians were avoiding me. On many occasions, I would hear little Sophie giggling somewhere in the house. When I would go to see what was so funny, I would hear a faint shuffling and she would stop. Though the Guardians brought us closer as brother and sister, I almost resented her for the fact that she could still see Jack and I couldn't. But such is life, isn't it?
And so day by day, I marched on with those warm memories tucked away in my mind. By the time I was sixteen, I had managed to channel my grief into art. I even managed to to win a silver key in the Scholastic Art Fair for an oil painting of Toothiana, receiving many compliments for my use of color. The one that I missed the most was my dear friend Jack Frost. All of my notebooks had his likeness scribbled on many of the pages. I once wrote an algebra equation sideways so that it wouldn't cut through a picture of him that I had drawn along the right side of the page.
It was a lonely existence, but that Sandman was kind to me. Every now and then, he would let me see them in my dreams so that I wouldn't forget what they looked like. Though a strange depression sometimes forced me out to that small lake to beg the moon to let me see them again, Sandy always seemed to throw me a happy dream about them every time the loneliness became too much.
In the summer after my junior year of high school, I finally managed to escape the crushing grief. I cried less at night and began to visit the lake less. The destructive sadness gave way to simple emptiness. As much as I wanted to move on, I knew that I never would. The truth is that I loved them, and what is more important than love?
"Late again, young Jamie?" scolded Miss Felton, the art teacher. "You're one of my most ambitious students, but this is your third time late this week and it's only Wednesday."
"Sorry," I apologized meekly, knowing full well what was coming next. I had real excuse for being late. I went to buy a bottle of tea from the vending machine and took my sweet time drinking it in the hallway.
"I need you stay in my room after school tomorrow, alright?" She said with a slight shrug before continuing her lesson about charcoal drawing.
We were assigned a to create a monochromatic picture using white, grey, and black charcoals on black paper. Again, I drew Jack. When she asked why all of my drawing look like the same person, I just told her that it was a coincidence. I'm almost positive that she doesn't believe me. She once suggested that I try new hairstyles and such, but when I ignored that piece of advice, she never asked questions about it.
Chemistry was hard for me, but Pippa excelled and serve as a great tutor. My day passed quickly enough. The class period were awkwardly shortened to make room for a senior assembly where we signed up for our cap and gown. To me, graduation was just an official seal saying that you could never claim to be a kid ever again, but dropping out of school would serve no purpose at this point.
Before I knew it, the school day was over. As the leaves changed colors, it seemed to rain more and more. Today, rain was waiting outside to greet me. Having forgotten my jacket at home, my shirt was already clinging to my shoulder by the time I made it to the parking lot. As I swiped off the leaves that had piled up on my windshield, I heard a familiar screaming in the distance.
"Jamie, wait!" came Pippa, running across the parking lot in a raspberry pea coat, her black boots soaking each other as they splashed in the many puddles of the high school parking lot. "My mom's car has a flat tire. Is there any chance that I can catch a ride home with you?"
"Sure." As a result of the close proximity of her home burning down and the death of an elderly neighbor, she now only lived six houses down from me.
"Thanks, Jamie," she said as she climbed into the passenger seat. "I thought I was going to have to walk home in this."
"Anytime," I replied, twisting the key in the ignition. The old car sputtered on the first try, but came to life on the second attempt with a too-loud roar caused by a hole in the muffler.
We sat in silence for a while. Pippa spent a while alternating between checking her phone and messing with the radio. Eventually, she spoke up. "So I saw your picture today."
"The new one. The one on black paper. I saw it when I went with Lydia to grab her colored pencils that she left in there," she fiddled with her phone a little bit more, but still continued. "Is it Jack Frost again?"
I didn't answer. I knew that she had written the Guardians off like the others had, but she still humored me.
"It is, isn't it?"
I nodded, reaching for the car radio and messing with the tuning dial.
"Do you still-"
She scrunched her face up into a scowl. "You don't even know what I was going to ask."
"You were going to ask if I still believe in them," I stated, turning off the radio completely. "And the answer is always going to be the same."
She sighed softly, looking away from me. She thought that my faith in them was crazy and immature, but still tried to step around my feelings.
"Sorry, Pippa," I replied, pulled my mouth to one side, "I just don't know how you could possibly have stopped believing in them too. I mean, you got grounded for sneaking out after dark and everything."
I knew she wanted to tell me that we were probably just playing make believe like we had so many times, but she said nothing.
The rest of the drive went by in silence. When we got to her house, she said nothing more than "thank you" and went inside. Most days, she'd invite me inside to watch cartoons on Netflix, but she didn't today. I suppose I had been something of a jerk. Accepting it, I backed out of her driveway and parked down the street in my own.
I finished my homework rather early, only having to work out a few geometry problems. Like every other day, I chose to see what my sister was up to. Ignoring her giggling, I entered her room without knocking in hopes of maybe catching one of the Guardians in the act, but instead found her watching the small television in her room.
Tucking away my hopes, I asked Sophie, who was now in the 5th grade, if she wanted to go play in the leaves.
"But it's raining," she complained. "Can we play Monopoly?"
"But that takes hours," I complained before rolling my eyes and reaching to grab the box from her shelf.
And for hours, we played. She was surprisingly crafty for her age and managed to build hotels on about of third of the board before finally wiping me out. Truthfully, it was times like this that made me ashamed of how jealous I was of her. She was the one of very few children at her school that still believed in the Guardians.
After cleaning up our game, we watched an old VHS recording of Bambi. She giggled whenever Thumper came on screen, commenting on how little he was. About halfway through the movie, the front door opened and closed, closely followed by the animated chatter that could only be caused by the arrival of a new guest.
"Lissy's here!" squealed Sophie, instantly jumping up and running down the stairs. After stopping the movie and putting it back in it's old plastic case, I went downstairs to greet our guests.
"Is that Jamie?" asked Leanne Willow, Lissette's mother. "I only saw you last week! It's crazy how much you still grow. What grade are you in now?"
"Hello, Mrs. Willow," I greeted. This whole growth routine of hers was starting to get old, but I went with it anyways. "I'm a senior now."
"A senior? Will you be the only seventeen year old graduate?" Having a February birthday, I managed to start school a little earlier than most. I was currently only sixteen. "It must be exciting to be considered an adult so early."
"Do you have to go through this routine every time you see him?" asked a bold male voice from the kitchen.
"Hello, Mr. Willow."
"Hey there, Jamie," he greeted, leaning out from around the wall. "Don't worry about that old bat. All women get like that when they're old. You'll have one to push you around when you're older too."
"Oh, you're so abused," smirked his wife. "Why don't you two get on out of here? Or are you going to make everyone wait on you again?"
"We're on our way out now," he stated, leaving the kitchen and giving his wife a quick kiss before heading out the door with my step-dad following closely behind.
"Jamie, can you do me a favor?" asked my mom. "We need to to watch over the girls for us, alright?"
I nodded, jogging upstairs to join Sophie and Lisette. I barely got into the room before Sophie started complaining to me.
"Jamie!" she whined, "Why did you take the movie out?"
"I thought we were done watching it," I said with a shrug.
She only sighed, moving on instead of dwelling. "Do you still want to go outside?"
"Is it done raining?" I asked, looking out the window. Sure enough, it has stopped.
The two beat me down the stairs. It was surprising how fast two little girls could be. I had to run to catch up with them. They chose to play at the small playground near our home, instantly occupying the swings. I sat with them, but the ground was too close to be able to swing properly. I remember how I used to need help getting on and off the swing. I had once broken my right pinky when one of my friends told me to just jump off. I suppose that I really was growing up.
The two tired of the swings about about ten minutes and moved onto the merry-go-round. I watched from the swings as they both took turns pushing each before Sophie began yelling for me to push her around on it.
"I'll push you around on it, but you can't jump around while it's moving," I instructed. "The rain made it slippery and you'll get hurt, okay?"
"No jumping. Got it!" She exclaimed with a salute. "Go super fast, okay?"
"Alright. Now hold on."
Once the two girls we sitting safely, I took ahold of one of the bars and began running in circles. It was easier to do when she was little, but I had grown too so it wasn't a hard task at all. It did make me a little dizzy though. I was looking straight ahead to make sure I didn't manage to trip, but when I turned my head to see what the two were giggling to intensely about, I noticed that they were both standing.
Letting go of the bar so that I wasn't pulling it faster, I tried shouting over their intense laughter. "What did I just tell you two? Now please, sit down!"
"C'mon, Jamie!" pouted Sophie, her golden hair whipping to the side as the merry-go-round continued to spin. "We're holding onto the bars. And besides, you said no jumping, not no standing."
"Sophie, please sit," I pleaded, knowing that she was a stubborn girl and wouldn't listen to me.
She began mocking me jokingly, sticking her tongue out at me as she began to jump up and down.
Before I could finish my sentence, I watch one of her boots slip on a wet spot of the merry-go-round. She yelped as she fell forward, hitting the metal with a horrifying gong-like ring.
"Sophie!" I shouted, grabbing at a bar to slow it down. I ran with it a couple of times around before I got it to stop. "Are you okay?"
She looked up from her she was, tears staining her already rosy cheeks red. "Sorry."
"It's okay, Sophie. Just please listen when I tell you to be careful, okay?" I asked, taking my spot next to her and pulling her up to her knees as I put an arm around her to pull her into a hug. She nodded, but I knew from experience that she would forget this conversation the next time that something dangerous looks like fun.
"She's bleeding!" cried Lisette, who was starting to cry too.
And sure enough, a thin stream of blood was leaking from her mouth.
"Can you spit into the mulch and open wide for me?"
She complied, spitting blood onto the wooden chips before open her mouth. There was a noticeable gap in her upper row of teeth on the right side. Looking around, I spotted the tooth and picked it up to show her.
"Looks like you've lost another tooth. How many baby teeth do you have left now?"
She sniffled, accepting the tooth, before answering. "Two."
"Well, you better put that under your pillow tonight so that the Tooth Fairy can find it, alright?"
"But she isn't real," stated Lisette.
"She is too, Lissy," argued my sister. "I've seen her with my own eyes!"
"Sure you did, Soph," she said with a sarcastic eye roll that was pretty irritating. I never really did like any of Sophie's friends. They tended to be such rude drama queens. "Next you'll tell me that the Easter Bunny is real too."
"But he is!" she shouted, becoming visibly upset.
From behind Sophie's back, I motioned to Lisette to cut it out. With a shrug, she went quiet.
We went back home at a steady pace, Sophie holding her tooth up in the now setting sun while Lisette kept her head down in an awkward silence.
"Sophie lost another tooth," I announced as I entered the house, the two girls trailing behind me.
"That's great, dear," responded mom, turning from her glass of wine. "Does she still believe in that Tooth Fairy?"
Sophie merely scowled at her before running upstairs. Lisette hung up her coat and followed behind her.
Mrs. Willow chose now to speak up. "Isn't she ten now? She's a little old to be believing in things like the Tooth Fairy."
"She believes in Santa and the Easter Bunny too," said mom as she took another sip from her wine glass. "So does Jamie here."
She turned her attention to me. "Really, boy? You're about to graduate and you're still letting yourself get caught up in these childish fantasies?"
"I've tried to talk to him about it, but he gets really sensitive about it," shrugged my mother. "I guess I'll just have to be patient and wait for him to outgrow it."
And why shouldn't I be sensitive about it? Who wouldn't be sensitive if something that they knew as fact was used against him because most people thought it was just a fantasy? I sighed, taking the opportunity to go upstairs.
I sat in my room, thinking about what the night had in store. I mean, Tooth would be here. In my house! If I was careful, I might be able to see her again. I spent the next few hours rolling over what I would say to her if I got the chance. Eventually, I heard smaller footsteps pass my door as the guest room door opened and closed. Lisette was going to sleep, which meant that soon, my sister would as well. Looking out the window, I watched as two soft, golden ribbons neared the house. The first one to reach the house went into the guest room window as sleep claimed Lisette.
It was then that another plan came into my mind. This would be the first time Sophie lost a tooth since I had moved rooms. Since my mom remarried, she let me move into my dad's old study, saying that I could use a desk to study on. Since Sophie's room was too small to fit a bigger bed, her friends would sleep in my old room, which was since deemed the guest room.
As sand reached my sister, I jumped up and made my way down the hall and int her room. She was sleeping deeply already. I double-checked to make sure that her tooth was under her pillow before I sat down in a dark corner near the window, covering myself with one of her old quilts.
For a while, I got worried. I thought that maybe Tooth had seen me and skipped over the house. After a while my legs cramped up. My position become almost unbearably uncomfortable, but I dared not to move in fear that I would give myself away if she happened to come in at the right time.
I almost drifted off too, until the creaking of her window and a gust of cool autumn air snapped me away. I slowly peeked from underneath the blanket, afraid that if I moved too fast I would be spotted. Sure enough, a tall feminine figure hovered gracefully over my sisters sleeping form with her back turned on me. I knew that as much as she would want to admire the peaceful sleep of children, that she would have to move on soon. I had to act fast. I took a deep breath and counted down.
I jumped from under the blanket, drawing a yelp from the startled fairy as I closed the window, locking it.
I turned around and locked eyes with her, staring at her in silence for a good ten seconds. In front of me was proof that what I had help onto the past four years was not just a childhood delusion. Even in the dark, all of vibrant colors shone in the moonlight.
Her bell-like voice broke the silence. "Oh, no..."
I took a silent step towards her.
"You shouldn't have seen me, Jamie. How did you..." she sighed, nervously, "There's someone else sleeping in your room right now, isn't there?"
I nodded, taking another step towards her.
"Jamie, you really should need us anymore."
"You know, Tooth," I said, taking another step, "I've spent the past four years wondering what I could have possibly done to make you guys all hate me so much. Can you just answer that question?"
"Jamie..." she scratched the bad of her head nervously, "I really shouldn't be talking to you. You're all grown up now."
"Please," I begged, reaching out and taking hold of her tiny hand. As hard as I tried, I failed to hold back the tears that wanted to spring out. "Have you been watching me still? Have you seenwhat a mess I've been? Have you?"
She slipped one of her hands free, brushing away some of the tears that had escaped and fell freely down my cheeks. "You were growing up, Jamie. We're Guardians of childhood."
"Growing up?" I raised my voice in frustration.
"Ow, Jamie," she complained. "Loosen up on my hand, okay?"
"I was only twelve years old, Tooth! In what world is that not a child?" I cried, tears flowing even faster now.
"I'm sorry, Jamie," she began, moisture beginning to build up in her eyes. "We didn't want to leave you. I promise. Please, Jamie. You need to let me go."
I fell quiet again.
"Jamie... I have other children to visit tonight."
"But if you go now, you'll never come back."
She was silent for a few moments. "If I promise..." she paused to taking in a deep breath, "If I promise to come back for you once, will you let me go?"
He promise shocked me. The years of trying so hard to meet with any of them had actually come to fruition. For the first time in a while, I would be able to see one of those that I had missed so much.
"Do you promise?"
She rolled her eyes defeatedly. "Yes, I promise to visit you."
I took this opportunity to wrap her in a hug, which she returned.
"Only once though, okay?" she stated, pressing her fingers to her forehead. "I'm going to be in so much trouble for this, Jamie." She let out a small laugh with a smile.
"When will you be back?" I asked, taking her hand again.
"Well I can get the other fairies to cover for me for one night so... tomorrow night?"
"It's a deal!" I said, giving her a kiss of the cheek.
She accepted it with a soft smile, slipping her hands from mine. "You're lucky that us Guardians have to keep out promises. Now I have to go, alright?"
I nodded, moving to unlock the window. She waved goodbye before drifting out the window.
"Thank you, Tooth!" I called after her.
I stood there in the window watching after her, making sure that I set this night in stone. I would never let myself forget her promise. After a while, I turned around and found two small eyes watching me.
"Why are you in my room, Jamie?" asked Sophie, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. "Who were you talking to?"
This time, I was the one giggling. I hurried to her side, sitting on the foot of her bed. "The Tooth Fairy was here!" I spoke excitedly, taking her into a tight hug.
"Really? You talked to her?" She rolled to check under her pillow, and sure enough a gleaming gold coin sparkled back at her. "A gold dollar? Wow!" She happily dropped it into a special piggy bank she had by her bed meant specifically for everything that Tooth gave her. She never opened it to spend any or put money from any other source in it.
"Sophie, can you make me a promise?"
She looked at me with still-sparkling eyes. "Yes?"
"Never grow up."
Aaahh! I was going to end that sooner, but I figured leaving the first chapter off at a depressing note would make people want to stop reading. I'm sorry for any grammar mistakes or if it seems rushed. I'll go over it again, but having someone with enough free time to read things over would certainly help... *HINT HINT*
Anyways, now you get to decide if this story goes further. Is anyone interested in reading on? If you have a suggestion that isn't exactly a review or you're nervous about reviewing, just PM me. It's T for now, but it may get a bit more adult in the future. I won't write any lemons though, so it won't be too risque. Please let me know what you think though. I'm new to writing, so all feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!