AN: This is the first time I've dabbled in writing for ROTG. I loved the movie, and I'm just a wee bit obsessed with Jack.

Warning: The rating's on this one for a reason. I won't spoil the story, but there are adult themes at play.

Disclaimer: I don't own Jack Frost or anything related to Rise of the Guardians, and the only currency I get off of this is reviews.

The Leaf Pile

With the first snowflake that fell to the pavement, Jack Frost was ready to play.

Drifting through the town on a breeze that made children giggle and adults pull their coats tighter, the youthful spirit began to scope out the perfect place to begin his masterpiece. A snowball fight was out of the question until morning, but surely there was some fun to be had before then. All it would take was some imagination.

His eyes fell upon a pile of dead leaves, gathered into an enormous mound that just begged for attention. Well, he thought as he began planning his route, no harm in working backwards. Forming an inconspicuous ramp that would launch his target directly into autumn's last gift, he chuckled and set out to find the perfect candidate.

It wasn't long before she appeared— a little girl no older than five, hand in hand with her mother. What caught his attention was not the unicorn-pattern scarf around her neck, nor the look of wonder in her eyes, but the shoes she had on her feet.

Ice skates would always be his preference, but no one would be wearing those for quite a while yet. That wasn't to say, though, that those shoes with retractable wheels wouldn't do in a pinch.

Jack gathered a few snowflakes in his palm, imbuing them with his magic as he floated over to the child. A sprinkle over her head, and her eyes lit up.

Age played a vital role in the efficacy of Jack's powers: the older the children became, the harder it was to break through their cares and bring them a moment of unbridled joy. Even among his target audience, it often took a snowball to the face; he could bury an adult in an enchanted snowdrift and find them merely grumbling over wet clothing when they emerged. The smallest children, however, were already full of wonder. All it took were a few stray flakes, and their potential for celebrating life was unlocked.

And no expression of childlike joy is greater than dancing.

The little girl let out a giggle and began to shuffle around, twirling with glee. Jack watched and waited for the perfect moment.

Wait for it, wait for it, soon enough she'll... jump!

The girl's feet came down on a patch of ice with the tiniest of slopes. It was enough to send her careening off the sidewalk and into the street, giggling madly and waving her arms as she shot past honking cars and into the park.

Jack led her in a pair of loops around the fountain, then sent her weaving past benches where couples sat and shared warmth. Trees bedecked in holiday lights shot by as she squealed in delight. He could see the exhilaration and abandon written on her face, punctuated by tinges of alarm every time she began to wobble before a breeze would gently right her. After nearly three centuries, Jack had honed his skills to their peak. This child was safer here with him than anywhere else in the world.

Guiding her back around towards their starting point, Jack steered her for the leaf pile. He heard the sharp intake of breath as she saw the step ahead, but not the hidden ramp; surely she would crash! Squinting but not quite closing her eyes, she braced with her hands ahead of her...

And flew into the air, mouth agape as she sailed for a beautiful, immortal moment.

Jack was transfixed. This was it. This was what everything was about. He had no name for the feeling welling up in him, but he knew that moments like these were what he had been chasing ever since he first awoke.

The swish and rattle of leaves brought him back to the present. The little girl emerged from the foliage, making exaggerated spitting sounds. When she considered her mouth sufficiently purged, she clapped her hands and began hopping up and down.

"Mommy! Mommy! Did you see? I flew, Mommy, I flew!" Hearing no answer, she called again, face beginning to show signs of worry.

"It's okay, little girl. We'll find her," Jack said, even though he knew she couldn't hear him. He had a habit of speaking to people, especially when there was no need for a response on their part; it helped him feel less alone, made him feel like he could possibly comfort someone, for once.

Together they walked back toward the street where the girl's mother had stood. It wasn't all that far. They would find her waiting on the other side of the street, understandably worried. She would fuss over her daughter's well-being and admonish her never to wander off alone again, but the stern look on her face would melt away in the light of such unbridled happiness.

Their view of the other side of the street was blocked, though. There was a crowd gathered in a circle on the sidewalk. Jack felt a quivering, twisting sensation in his stomach. Crowds like that were never good.

As they drew closer, they heard people shouting while others spoke in hushed tones. Jack flew up above to get a better look as the little girl weaved her way between adults who were too preoccupied to notice her.

The instant Jack saw the figure on the ground, splayed out awkwardly with the head at an angle that was all wrong, he shot down to try to block the little girl from entering the circle.

It was no use; she passed right through him, just as everyone did. He couldn't keep her from this.

"Mommy?" Her voice was impossibly small, her eyes wide in disbelief, trying to find an explanation for something that couldn't possibly be true. Then, as it began to sink in, she screamed.

As people crowded in to remove the child, Jack tried in vain to whisper comforting words in an ear that would never hear them, tried to tell her it would be all right even though he knew it never would be. When all failed, he floated backwards and passed through the crowd, hanging back in an attempt to find any conceivable way he could help.

"Hey. What happened?" The voice was male, indifferent. It belonged to a young man who wore a black peacoat and a jaded face, a young man who once upon a time had been the reigning champion of the neighborhood snowball fights five years in a row.

"Some lady ran across the street after her kid. Made it across just fine, then slipped on a patch of ice and broke her neck." Jack remembered nothing of the person who spoke; only the words themselves. They impaled him, twisting and ripping through his gut as he gasped and tried to escape them somehow.

"Too bad," was all the first man had to say.

"Yeah, that Jack Frost is a real killer."

That Jack Frost is a real killer.

For once, Jack was glad no one could hear him scream.