Disclaimer: Rise of the Guardians © Dreamworks - Full disclaimer on my profile.
Summary: Jack could hardly remember the last time he'd had his own bed. / Oneshot; gen. Post-film.
A/N: Because Winter Guardians should stick together, I get ridiculously emotionally invested in familial relationships, and North believed in Jack long before Jack did. Plus, this relationship is so often overlooked by the fandom.
Seriously, I watched this only this week and this movie has consumed my life. The animation is gorgeous, the characters are so amazing, the character designs are beautiful (especially Tooth's), the story is compelling, the voice acting is stellar - and did I mention the absolutely gorgeous animation?
(The definition below is taken from the Tumblog "other-wordly".)
EDIT: Tweaked North's dialogue a bit to be more consistent with his idiolect in the film.
Serendipity: (n.) finding something good without looking for it.
Really, the boy should have known better. Nicholas St. North tutted, his voluminous beard swaying slightly and brushing the chest of the boy cradled in his mighty arms. Jack's head lolled against the "nice" list tattooed on North's skin, and Jack, despite his obvious exhaustion, offered the other Guardian a cheeky (yet slightly sheepish) grin. He was sweating slightly, and it had hardened into tiny, frozen droplets on his icy skin.
"Dunno what you're fussing about. S'not that bad. C'mon, Bunny's face was priceless, right?"
Despite himself, North laughed. His emotions were as larger-than-life as he was - he laughed with his entire body, his stomach shaking. "You must use your head, Jack! Common sense, yes? Easter in Cameroon is still Cameroon. You know better than to battle weather so hot. It is not so good for your health."
But, of course, Jack Frost was fun to his very core, and fun like his cackled in the face of fear (sometimes literally). Fear, and common sense.
"Like Cameroon celebrates Easter, anyway," Jack muttered, carefully avoiding the main point of North's admonishment. On either side of them as North carried him further and further into his legendary workshop, yetis, elbow-deep in half-completed toys, shot Jack and North curious aside glances. His cheeks tinged pale blue, Jack pushed feebly against North's chest. "Look, uh, thanks, but I think I really should -"
"Nonsense!" North shifted the boy in his arms to keep him from escaping. The Guardian of Fun was light, much lighter than he looked, insubstantial as a snowflake. North supposed that one would have to be, to let himself be carried about on the wind as Jack did. "You stay here. You will rest, have food -"
"I don't need food."
"My friend, please. That was not request," North said cheerfully. Jack cocked an eyebrow. "And besides, my food is best there is! So, you stay, you rest, you eat. You recover, and do not go near African countries again. Agreed?"
"North, I can recover just as well out in the snow. Better, even. I just feel a little warm, that's all." Nevertheless, Jack didn't make another attempt to move, instead simply crossing his arms and turning his half-lidded eyes to the spectacle that was the months preceding Christmas: yetis painting nutcrackers and Jack-in-the-boxes; diminutive elves scurrying about underfoot with toy hammers; colourful toy dirigibles occupying any free airspace. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. Though the place hummed with festive energy, the sights were relaxing to him. Come to think of it, it was very comfortable in North's arms despite that it was a tad too warm for his tastes, and he really was sleepy...
"Aha! We are here!"
North's booming timbre yanked Jack back from the fringes of sleep, and he started slightly. The room that North had taken him to was one that he hadn't seen before. It looked like a bedroom, but the mattress lacked a quilt. The window was open (a light dusting of snow created a rough semicircle on the floor beneath it), and the temperature here was several degrees lower than in the rest of North's abode, for which Jack was grateful. It was decorated much like a Christmas card - but instead of warm reds and greens, the room was embellished with icy blues and silvers and snowflakes patterning the walls.
"Do you have guests often?"
North deposited Jack, and his shepherd's crook, on the bed. Immediately, Jack pushed himself into a sitting position. North slapped Jack heartily in the centre of his back, nearly pitching Jack forward. "Guest? You think this is guest room? This is your room!" He made a wide, sweeping gesture. "You are Guardian, so you are family. My home is yours."
Jack blinked sluggishly up at the beaming man. "Wait, this room's mine?"
"Was that not what I just said? Now, you will eat. How do milk and cookies sound? Of course they sound wonderful! Let us see about getting you some candy canes, also. You would like that?" Jack opened his mouth, but he was having trouble speaking around the sudden lump in his throat; North seemed to take his silence as agreement and clapped his hands together. "I will return in just a moment!"
North bustled out of the room, leaving Jack to appraise the room. His room. Wow.
You are Guardian, so you are family.
When was the last time he'd had a bed of his own? For three hundred years, he'd been sleeping rough in snow drifts and trees. He'd even dared to fall asleep on the wind, just once, though that had led to a rude awakening when he'd found himself blown against a billboard. Never mind that, though - when was the last time he'd had a family?
Snap out of it, Jack. These thoughts were too heavy for someone like him. He must really be tired - and he still felt a tad warmer than he should. Maybe North was right. Maybe he should rest. Just close his eyes for a few minutes...
He lay back against the mattress, sighing as his tired body melted - figuratively speaking - against it. The cool breeze from the window played fondly with his flyaway white hair. He could feel his temperature dropping and took comfort in that the way an ordinary human would from a roaring fireplace. He definitely would not be straying towards Cameroon again.
"Jack, you would like cookies?" Jack cracked an eye open. North stood in the doorway with a plate of cookies and a jug of milk and Jack couldn't deny that his heart practically leapt towards the cookies, even if his stomach (which hadn't needed nourishment in a long time) didn't.
For a few moments, Jack and North ate in companionable silence and - damn. No wonder the guy had such a large belly, with food like this around. Jack reclined against the headboard, basking in the companionship that he still wasn't used to after so many centuries of isolation. Eventually, North stretched and patted Jack on the knee in a paternal manner.
"So, how are you enjoying being Guardian?"
The cookie paused halfway to Jack's mouth; he pursed his lips and shrugged. "Well, y'know. It's just...different." Understatement. How could Jack sum it up in words? "New. I don't know. It's weird."
"You will adjust. You are making good start."
Jack hesitated, then: "I'm still getting used to the 'teamwork' thing. I'm not very good at it."
Was it just Jack's imagination, or did North's features soften slightly? "Jack Frost, you are fitting into this team as well as any Guardian. Even Bunny is warming to you - if you'll pardon the expression - whatever he says otherwise." Jack chuckled. "Remember! You are family. You need help, you need only ask." North stood up from where he'd been sitting on Jack's bed. "Now, you need rest. Come find me if you need anything, yes?"
Jack nodded and rubbed his neck. North was almost out of the room before Jack cleared his through and said: "Hey, North? Thanks. You know. For everything."
North paused. He turned, fixing the boy with a fond sparkle in his lined eyes. "It is nothing you would not do for me," he responded with confidence that caused another lump to stopper up Jack's throat. "Now, I have told you several times - rest. I will check up on you later."
Jack obliged, closing his eyes and curling up on his side, his staff beside him. It felt...nice. To trust yourself to the care of others. To rest, knowing that someone out there was watching over you. Jack wondered how he'd ever lived without this.