This is a fanfiction based on the Rise of the Guardians movie, which I do not own.
I'm Canadian; the brief reference to temperatures is in degrees Celsius. (Water freezes at 0°C, and a comfortable room temperature is 21°C.)
Can I bring winter to the south?
The thought still skittered around Jack Frost's mind even as he tossed more snowballs to his Norwegian friends. Summer vacation in Svalbard on the last few days of April, still below freezing and no sun for at least another week.
A snowball exploded against the back of Jack's head. Asbjørn, 11, first met this year. The spirit laughed, using his staff for leverage as he flipped away from more projectiles. Ducking for cover, he crouched down, a red house to his left and a blue one on his right. His staff flopped against his shoulder as he balled some more snow in his hands.
Hearing footsteps, Jack dove back out, hitting a bundled foe in the shoulder and taking a strike to his leg in return. Anniken, 15, first met last year. Hands grabbing for snow, they ran around the street, Jack scoring as many hits as he could in the melee before diving for cover again. Despite three hundred years of bringing winter to his name, the spirit was up against snow war veterans. And they were used to fighting without the benefit of invisibility.
On the offence again, Jack got off one shot at a purple jacket. Lisbet, 9, first met last year. Then he tripped over someone ducking down to reload. Olava, 14, first met last year. Wearing a white coat was almost cheating.
Then parents were calling for dinner (hadn't they just come out from lunch?) and the merry band dissipated, waving to each other and to Jack, the winter spirit sitting with legs spread out and crescent-tipped staff held against his shoulder, the other end sunk in the snow. "Hills!" a few called out. Jack laughed and waved, remembering his promise.
As the last door closed in the patchwork of houses, the seventeen year old let out a breath, pale hands brushing snow off his frosted blue hoodie and worn brown pants. Unbothered by the breezes brushing his bare feet, Jack flopped onto his back and pointed his staff at the dark sky to start the light snow that would become the powder skiers and tobogganers loved. Then he laid his hand back down where fresh snow blended with white hair, blue eyes unfocused. Did they have toboggans in the south?
In Burgess, Jamie would be watching the last snow piles melt. Usually, the snow would already be gone. But Jack had come to an agreement with the Easter Bunny that if he cleared out his snow for the April holiday, he could have a few more days in Burgess.
'A few more days' had been stretched to a week before E. Aster Bunnymund had lifted Jack up by the hood of his sweater and literally dragged the Guardian of Fun into the Warren. The teen could have been more co-operative, but his friends' laughter at the spectacle had been worth a few days of scraped heels.
Jack was actually surprised he had gotten away with winter for that long. He suspected one or two of his fellow guardians had spoken on his behalf, but it had actually been a relief when Bunny had finally intervened. Nature had her rhythms, and each day had been a quiet struggle to keep winter in Burgess despite the march of warmth across the rest of the country.
So, hello summer resorts for winter spirits. Jack actually felt somewhat guilty about holding out on his northern friends for that extra week. But Burgess, town of birth and First Believers, would always be special.
And my kind of snow would be special in the south.
Jack had never been south. In a word: equator.
But what was impossible for a lone winter spirit wasn't nearly as difficult for the Guardian of Fun, "Right? Old Sandy, old pal?" Jack muttered as dream sand started snaking down from the sky. Grinning, he jumped upward, dragging a hand through a golden tendril and leaping along with the shimmering dolphins that came out.
The teen knew his friend was nearby; experience had taught him to feel the difference between dream sand alone and Sandman. Of course, the older guardian almost always knew where Jack was. Rare was the day when the Guardian of Fun played with no children, and when his friends fell asleep, dream sand threads picked up on the ice magic they had been touched with.
Sure enough, Sandy was waiting for Jack. As the teen approached, the golden spirit lit up, hopping to his tiny feet and waving. A useful tactic for short, rotund people trying to get attention, but not very necessary when your method of transportation is a floating golden cloud. Laughing at the thought, Jack landed and hugged the Guardian of Dreams, the dream sand clothes soft against his skin.
Then both guardians sat down across from each other, and the game of charades began. Dream sand coalesced between the two players, Sandy starting off easy with a picture of a whale he'd seen on his way over. Jack nodded, and ice formed a polar bear he'd spotted during his morning wander. Then he added kids shoveling driveways to explain what he'd been doing out in the wilderness. Following was a small pile of snow, then a large pile with a happy face for why he'd made it snow. Blobby continents and an arrow appeared next: he'd only recently travelled over, hence why so little snow. And Sandy was silently laughing like a little golden Buddha. Jack dismissed his creations with a sigh; trying to tell even the simplest story with only images always caused him to go overboard.
They continued. An image of Bunnymund stamped out the grand snow piles Jack had left in Burgess. Spoilsport. Jack got in the snowball fight, and even managed to recreate Anniken's storm of projectiles, carefully detailing her highlighted hair to make it recognizable.
Having succeeded in that, the teen massaged his temples. Sandy made image-speak seem so easy, the smug little man's wide smile never wavering. The younger guardian cracked his knuckles in determination, and got to the question that had been nagging him for the past week. He formed a figurine of himself and a globe. Then a sun at the top of the globe and a snowflake at the bottom. Finally, an arrow appeared going from himself at the top of the world to the snowflake on the bottom. Satisfied, he looked at Sandy. Sandy looked concerned.
Jack frowned and examined his creation. According to Jamie, when it was summer north of the equator, it was winter in the south. Jack was a winter spirit, so he should go where his season was. He looked back at Sandy, confused by his concern.
Catching the look, Sandy made a new globe, with a sun swinging around the middle of it. It was hot at the equator? No shit, Sandy. It's not like I've never tried wandering down south or anything before.
Realizing that the message wasn't getting across, Sandy tried again. Five Jack figurines appeared beside the globe. The three who weren't at the poles started melting.
Jack burst out laughing. "I don't melt!" He stretched out his legs; yoga was not for him. "And I don't see what you're worried about. It's winter in the south, so it makes sense for me to be there."
Sandy silently sighed, and adjusted his globe. A big line around the middle; that was the equator. Then two smaller lines above and below the equator. Jack stared at them. "Are those…the tropics?" Sandy nodded. Okay, so from what Jack remembered of Jamie's debriefing, the tropics were the equator's extended sphere of influence. Sandy made the lands outside of the tropics more prominent. Oh. That wasn't a whole lot of land in the south.
Jack tapped his staff against his shoulder. He hadn't expected there to be so little wintery land south of the equator. In fact, there might be more sub-zero northern space even at summer's peak.
Then he shook himself. He was the Guardian of Fun, not of Wintery Coverage! Even if there were only specks of winter down south, he was going to bring fun to them! "So, when can we leave?"
The sandman looked at the grin spreading over his companion, and returned it, shrugging away his globe. A whirl of gold, and the jovial spirit was goggled and sitting in the cockpit of a biplane. Jack whooped and jumped into the seat behind him, accepting his own pair of sparkling goggles. Then the cloud sand disappeared, and the journey south commenced.
An old hand at traversing the globe, Sandy settled back, millions of tiny minds calling to him. Behind him, Jack leaned forward, blinking through the borrowed goggles at his newfound vision. Wherever a child slept, tendrils of sand spun dreams above their heads, and every golden glimmer revealed itself, regardless of roofs and distance. Was this how the Guardian of Dreams saw the world?
The plane settled into a near-imperceptible angle upward and westward, keeping to the cooler air as the older guardian followed the night. Looking up, Jack saw the half-moon near the horizon – an effect of being so far north – and waved to the 'Man in Moon', MiM.
Dream sand planes travel fast. Or maybe lack of clocks and lots of dreams just make it seem so. Already, Jack could feel the south wind bringing warmth despite their height. The winter spirit focused more intently on the world below them. This was why he had asked Sandy to bring him south instead of hopping through a portal or strolling through the Warren; this was his chance to see the lands that defied winter.
Beaches spread along a coastline. And there were palm trees! Real ones, probably. The teen leaned out of his seat, staring at the groves and mansions, pools and beachfronts. He wished that Sandy would leave the night and his dreams just for a little while. Jack wanted to see everyone, doing everything, in a world that never snowed.
And the beaches kept coming. There were so many little sand and green islands in the water. Do you all have tans? More blue and white and green. Weren't they supposed to love plastic surgery? Sand, trees, water. Beach ball boobs burst bikinis. Ha. Green, white, blue. Like Jamie's new shoes. What was Jamie doing now? Dreaming? Or was he awake? Sandy was amazing, always amongst the dreams of children. Golden stingrays were flying. Flying amongst Jamie's shoes.
Sandman was shaking him. The motion caused Jack to slump back into his seat. He couldn't see Jamie's shoes anymore; when would he see his friend again? The little gold man seemed agitated, grabbing at the wet hoodie. Wet…wasn't it frozen? The teen blinked. The south wind played with his hair. The very warm south wind. Jack groaned and closed his eyes, gathering ice from within himself and his staff, and refreezing his clothes in awkward positions. Great.
Hoping he hadn't missed too much, Jack started to lean towards the edge, but a concerned Sandy pushed him back again. The younger spirit crossed his arms, holding himself as straight as he could despite his neck feeling like rubber. Why couldn't his body just acknowledge that he was cold again and fix itself?
Sighing, the teen looked out to what he could see from his seat. Green, green, green, gr- were those jungles?
Jack lunged back to the edge. Sandy reached for him again, but Jack froze his body and clothes as cold as he could, even frosting the plane around him. He was not missing out on his first jungles!
Breaks in the trees revealed blackness, and Jack squinted at it in confusion. Then he realized that it was a reflection of the night sky. A reflection that stretched across the land as far as Jack could see. Was this the Amazon River? The winter spirit laughed at the wind that brought summer. You didn't stop me from seeing the Amazon River!
The famed rainforest eventually gave way, and Jack started to see more golden dreams as towns and cities returned. He waved cheerily at them, not caring that they were asleep and likely wouldn't have seen him even if awake.
The corner of his eye caught something white. Jack started, then straightened and peered at the horizon. His excitement building even further, the spirit focused his powers on the strip of white-topped mountains. A resonance sounded within him, and he whooped. Snow! Laughing, Jack shook Sandy and pointed towards the range. A dip of the wings, and the pair were angling westward towards the peaks.
The moment he felt a cool snap of winter, Jack leapt out of the plane and dove towards the earth to roll in the snow. He stretched out his senses, feeling where snow gave way to ice and ice to rock. He focused further, searching for his north wind; Boreas, North had said it was called. And the spirit found it, winding tightly around the mountains of winter. Jack laughed again, rolling onto his back as he called snow down from the sky, watching Boreas bring it to him in flurries.
Sandy was sitting on a cloud again, grinning at the young spirit's antics. Jack took his sand goggles off and handed them back with a tight embrace.
"So," Jack said, stepping back, "You know any good cities around here?" Sandy nodded, and started off, heading up the mountain. A kick launched the winter spirit after him, and they shot over the top, thin air unable to touch them.
As they began to descend the other side, Sandy turned into a signpost. Or, at least, a dream sand version of a signpost. Golden tendrils stretched out from him, their width apparently indicating the size of the population in that direction. A very thick one was pointing south-west. Hell yes.
Calling upon Boreas, Jack sped for his destination. He left Sandy behind, and flipped over to see his friend standing on the sand cloud, waving. He waved back. "See you around, Sandy!"
The sky had turned pink. Jack spun flips and cartwheels around the tallest building he had found, waiting for the first children to come out. He was in a city called Santiago, according to the sign he'd found, a city not known for snow, according to the almost complete lack of resonance he'd found. And the rising sun was making the warm handful of degrees threaten balmy double-digits.
And, was that smog rising with the sun?
Jack grinned and rubbed his hands together. He knew how to deal with smog. Abandoning his original plan, the spirit flew straight up, past the layer of hot southern air to where Boreas could still be felt despite the distance it had travelled. "Ever had a snow day, Santiago?"
By the time the sun had crested the horizon, radios were already warning against driving. There was snow. An inch thick. In Santiago, which usually only had zero temperatures just before dawn in the dead of winter. But this was April, the fall, which saw less than half an inch of rain over the entire month.
Stunned adults stood on doorsteps, hugging themselves against an unusual north wind. Children stepped out from behind them, blinking against the brightness of a sun regularly shielded by smog, and almost never reflected by snow. Curious, they tracked a few stray flakes as they drifted, then spun, then landed on upturned faces.
Across the city, young eyes blinked, then smiled, then creased in laughter as they ran out onto the streets. Fistfuls of snow were seized and hurled with no particular shape or direction. Small figures grabbed planks and trash bin lids, throwing themselves down the slick streets of their neighbourhoods.
And in one neighbourhood, children would occasionally pause and look up. There, on those old iron steps. Was that a bank of snow, or pale skin, feet strangely left bare? An old pile of clothes, or a blue sweater rimmed with frost, or perhaps brown pants whose ankles had worn out? An iron bar might be a crescent-tipped staff. That dusting of fresh snow: a mess of white hair? And, just maybe, crystalline blue eyes reflecting a smile as they slowly blinked once, then twice, then quietly drifted shut.
I would appreciate it if you would include these questions in your review:
How interesting was the opening?
- How far were you into the story before you were interested?
How was the physical description of Jack and Sandy?
- (I know it wasn't necessary, but I wanted to practice)
How was Jack almost passing out?
- Did you have to re-read it to figure out what happened?
- Does it sound like a good description of what it feels like to pass out?
Did you find parts of this chapter slow?
- (Especially the opening and long flight to the south)
Thank you for your help,