Authors Note: Well here it is, Ladies and Gentlemen, the final chapter of Immortal! It's been a wonderful ride and I can't thank you all enough for your support! I honestly didn't think I would ever write a fan fiction again after I stopped last time, but you all gave me the drive to finish a story, just for you! Many thanks to the reviewers of the last chapter! Shout outs to:
TaylorRose16: Thank you so much for the review and for sticking with this story! Sorry it went a little fast, I guess I got a little over excited and didn't want to drag it out too long lol (:
Guest: Thanks for the suggestion!
Bug349: Thanks so much! I really liked the outfit too and thank you so much for all your support!
Peanut Butter Rules: YOU'RE WELCOME! It was a long time coming!
John Smith: Glad I kept you on your toes! I wanted to make sure that the ending was unique but that it didn't leave Jack lacking in those qualities we all know and love him for! I just might do a little something on Morrígan and Pitch, I'll have to think about that one! Thanks again for all your support!
Rezzkat: Gosh girl this is why I love you so much! I love reading your reviews and I so hope you'll stick with me on this next story! Here's the epilogue and I can't wait to hear from you on the next story! Thanks again!
Disclaimer: I don't own Rise of the Guardians
Where we left off:
He sighed contentedly in his sleep before trying to roll over and finding he had run out of couch. He hit the floor with a yelp and a bang. Tooth was by his side in an instant helping him up and bombarding his still sleepy mind with a barrage of questions.
"Jack Frost! How many times do I have to tell you to not sleep like that! We have beds for a reason, thank goodness you weren't on the rafters this time, oh I shudder to think what a fall from that height could do to your teeth! Are you alright?"
Jack just looked at her with a puzzled expression on his very sleepy face before laughing at her and standing up to head for the kitchen. She followed along behind him, waking up half the workshop with her ranting. Just because he was being groomed didn't mean he wasn't still a little rough around the edges, and Tooth was determined to baby him until the second he no longer needed her to. After all, what were guardians for?
Chapter 20: Epilogue
"Jack, I don't think this is a good idea." Jaime was trying to reason with his icy friend, he really was, but when Jack got it in his head that he wanted to do something he was going to do it come hell or high water. This time at least it didn't include attempting high waters or hell's hag. No, this time Jack had taken on a much more dangerous call to arms: convincing Rachael that he existed.
"Well then it's a good thing it's not your idea!" Jack laughed and turned back to his snowball fight with Greg and Sarah. It hadn't taken them long to warm up to Jack's altered appearance though it still seemed to throw Jaime for a loop. "Besides, it can't hurt to try!"
"Yes it can!" Jaime insisted.
Jack scoffed. "How?"
"She already thinks we're all off our rockers, all she needs to hear is me telling her to really concentrate on that empty spot over there then she'll see Jokul Frosti and Santa Claus doing the cha cha to try and institutionalize me."
"Well I can assure you there will be no cha cha involved, and if she already thinks you guys are batty what's one bold attempt going to change?"
"Fuel to the fire, Jack, its like waving a match in front of gasoline."
"Glad she's not here to hear you saying that—ow!" Jack winced as Greg landed a beautifully thrown hit on his ear. "Don't hit your elders!" He yelled before pelting the back of the boy's coat. Truth be told, Rachael had been beside herself with worry over the events of Christmas day since the moment Greg had come in sobbing that Jack was dead with her deranged husband in tow. Jaime had left with a shotgun in hand, came back bloody and without Jack, but kept telling Greg and Sarah that Jack was back and everything would be all right again. But of course when she confronted him about it he just said Jack went back to live with his father. Finally she just threw up her hands and tried to tune the whole disaster out. Unfortunately, Jack's disappearance had been weighing heavily on her mind and the Guardian of Fun knew it. He felt bad for leaving like he did, never being able to say goodbye, and he wanted to try and rectify it as best he could.
For his part, Jack had spent the better part of the last three days caring for his recuperating friends and running their headquarters in their absence. It had been strange at first, seeing him take on such responsibility without a qualm or hiccup, but after a while they began to see more of his old qualities show through. Yes his maturity had grown and his sense of justice, power and responsibility had been heightened, but as the Guardian of Fun he just couldn't pass up three days worth of opportunities to pester Bunnymund half to death and back again. Poor Aster was practically bedridden with a nasty axe wound to his leg that had required three layers of stiches to close and Jack seemed intent on trying to send him to an early grave instead of an early recovery.
North and Sandy found it all to be quite amusing, and the guardians as a whole had been behind Jack's idea to bring Rachael into their little circle of believers from the first moment he had mentioned it. Whether it was just blanket support of any rebellious idea that wouldn't get him stabbed again or genuine belief in his persuasive skills he didn't know, but at that point he honestly just didn't care. He was going to get one more believer by the end of the day one way or another.
Jack soon grew tired of watching Jaime pace and chew his lip and just pushed him into a snow bank and slipped into the house. Rachael was bundled up in the easy chair by the fire, sipping tea and reading a book. She looked more content than she had in days. It was now or never.
Jack took a step forward before he felt a hand rest on his shoulder. Jaime had poked his head—still a little snowy from his impromptu face plant—into the house, his mouth taught with stress and worry.
"Hey, its me! What could go wrong?" Jack said with a grin and ducked under the hand.
"Exactly, its you! What couldn't go wrong?" Jaime whispered back.
"Jaime, I sure hope you're not talking to me," Rachael called from across the room. Her eyes were full of worry. Jaime looked like a deer in the headlights.
"Come on, Jaime," Jack prodded. "You're embarrassing me!"
Jaime shot his friend a look as Greg and Sarah piled into the condo, cheeks ruddy from playing so long in the cold.
"Jack, what are you doing in the house?" Greg asked.
"Greg, who are you talking to?" Rachael asked. "Jack left three days ago."
"Yeah," Greg replied. "Then he came back."
Rachael sighed and closed the book. "Honey, I know you miss him, we all do. But pretending he's here isn't going to help, it just makes it harder to let go."
"Mom, he's here. Jack's here and he's got all his powers back!"
"What in the—" Rachael stammered as she glanced up at Jaime. He looked like he was about to throw up. "Powers?" her voice was strained.
"Mommy," Sarah insisted. "Jack's real!"
"Well of course he is, sweetheart," Rachael responded, not quite seeing the correlation between her image of Jack and the Jack standing in her living room. "But he's not here."
"Yes he is!" Sarah insisted. "You just can't see him, Mommy!"
"Alright! I give up!" Rachael threw her arms up in the air. "I'm done playing these games. Jaime, either end this game you've got our kids entrenched in before it gets seriously out of hand or I will!"
"Rachael," Jaime said gently. "They're telling the truth."
Rachael huffed, her patience growing thin.
"Jack, if you can wipe that smirk off your face long enough to do something—anything—it would be helpful!" Jaime was pleading under his breath, hands wringing his hat and sweat already beginning to bead on his skin. Jaime watched as Jack bent down and touched the floor. A shock of frost shot out across the rug, freezing the edge of one of Rachael's socks. She yelped and jumped back, grasping her foot with both hands as she stared at the frost covering her carpet.
"J—Jaime what's going on?" She asked, voice hushed. "What's in our house?"
Jaime rushed forward and held onto his wife, leading her to the floor a good ways from the frost. "It's alright, baby," He whispered and rubbed his hands up and down her arms. "I know it's a shock, but its time you knew."
"Knew what?" She snapped, eyes never leaving the frost. Suddenly the ground iced over again and words began to appear, drawn by the icy finger by the bringer of frost himself.
She screamed. Screamed and grabbed onto her husband with a vice grip.
"Baby, it's Jack. Our Jack. Our kids Jack, my Jack from when I was I kid."
"No its not!" Her voice was trembling. "This is something else and I want it out! Now!"
"Rachael, I need you to trust me, okay?"
She shook her head.
Again she said no.
"I need you to believe in me, just for a few minutes. Can you do that for me, Rachael?"
Finally she nodded.
"Great," Jaime said, smile wide. Jack began to speak and Jaime repeated the words Rachael's unopened ears could not hear.
"I need you to remember—"
"I need you to remember—"
"What it was like when you were a kid."
"What it was like when you were a kid."
"When you opened presents from Santa,"
"When you opened presents from Santa,"
"Hunted for eggs on Easter,"
"Hunted for eggs on Easter,"
"And left your teeth for the Tooth Fairy."
"And left your teeth for the Tooth Fairy." Jaime paused. "Can you do that, Rachael?"
Again she nodded, and with quivering lips she closed her eyes and tried with all her might to remember. Remember the feeling she had when she woke up from a good night's sleep and rubbed the sand from the corners of her eyes. Remember the joy of seeing a coin where a hollow tooth once lay. Recall the elation of finding more eggs than all of her friends combined. Recollect the feeling of pent up energy on Christmas morning when you see piles of presents that had not been there the day before. The scent of winter on the air as the wind sang and the clouds opened their treasure chests and shared the snow they bore.
And when Jack felt that trust, that desire to remember, he released one very special snowflake, and sent it on a gentle breeze towards her closed eyes. The moment it touched her, the wall of adulthood that had been built so many years ago to keep out the hurt as well as the joy of faith without bounds, was broken. In poured, not the memories, but the feelings of elation that went along with them and with that deluge came the missing puzzle pieces that kept her from remembering.
And when she felt that feeling of childhood joy, relived all those memories, she opened her eyes and saw him. Saw the barefoot youth crouching on her rug, staring at her with wide, soulful eyes, a grin spread across his face. Saw the blue hoodie she both abhorred and adored, saw the fitted pants, the pale skin, startlingly white hair, and strangers face and somehow she knew it was her Jack. Maybe it was the way his nose turned up at the end, like it was searching for trouble. Possibly it was the mischief that sparked in his eyes and smile. But at that moment, she didn't care what it was that caused her to know. Only that it did and more importantly, she did.
"Jack?" She whispered as her children cheered. It was Jack's special gift to his surrogate mother; the gift of belief.
"Hey, Rachael!" Jack replied, mouth still twisted up in that crazy grin. "It's been a while."
"Yes. Yes it has. So you're…"
"Jack Frost, yes." He laughed.
"Well, that certainly explains some things."
"Yes, I suppose it does." He laughed again and settled back on his haunches. The staff lay lazily against the wall, unneeded yet not unwanted. Conduit or not, it was a piece of him three hundred years in the making and that made it worth every splinter he had to repair and string of black gunk he still managed to find in its notches.
"So I housed Jack Frost for two weeks then?"
"Yes, yes you did. And you did a wonderful job of it, I didn't get into nearly as much trouble as I usually do."
"This is true," Jaime cut in. "He's responsible for most my not so shining moments in the art of shenanigans and schemes."
Rachael frowned at him indignantly before turning back to Jack. He laughed at that too.
"So then why were you not…Jack Frost…when you were living with us?"
"Long story short, I lost immortality and memory. Got it back, epic fight, Jaime was in it, yada yada yada…"
"I'll fill you in someday when you didn't just have the whole realm of immortality dumped on you at once."
"Humph." She paused for a moment before crossing her arms. "Then did you two just make up Nicholas and his family to keep up that charade or is he real too?"
Jack laughed. "No Saint Nicholas himself really did pawn his mortal kid off on you guys."
"You mean Santa?"
"The one and only."
Her eyes suddenly widened. "Oh gosh. The house was such a mess when he came!"
The whole room couldn't help but laugh, Rachael's indignant look doing nothing more than sending Jack and Jaime into fits.
"Oh, Rachael," Jaime finally managed to say when he had wiped the tears from his eyes. "It'll be so great not to have to tiptoe around you anymore!"
"Tiptoe! Jaime Bennett you're about as subtle as a freight train! You've been talking about Jack for years and up until ten minutes ago I thought you were off your rocker!"
"Alright, alright!" Jack said, letting the wind from the cracked door lift him front the floor. He hovered above the rug for a few moments, smiling smugly at Rachael's dubious expression. "Enough chit chat, it's hot in here and I'm going outside one way or another!"
Jack reached down and picked Sarah up before flying out the door.
"Whoa, whoa, what do you think you're doing?" Rachael stood up, arms crossed and she walked across the room and out onto the porch
"Uh, going for a ride?"
"Yeah, be back soon!" Jack turned to leave, but a hand on his ankle kept him anchored to the ground.
"Not on your life!"
"I'll be careful with her!"
Rachael seemed to think for a minute.
"Aww Rachael, he took me out hundreds of times over the years when he was still scrawny and I survived," Jaime said, joining them out in the cold.
"Face it, Jack, you were like a toothpick blowing around in the wind. But that's beside the point, she's perfectly safe, honey."
"Not without a helmet!" Rachael spun on her heel after ordering Jack to stay put and walked into the house. She returned a few minutes later holding two bike helmets.
"Uh, I can only take one at a time, Rachael. Greg's gotta wait."
"This one isn't for Greg," Rachael replied. "It's for you."
"For me?!" he sputtered. "Rachael, I'm three hundred and twenty years old! I don't need a helmet!"
Rachael stood there calmly and buckled Sarah's helmet before putting one hand on her hip and holding the other helmet out with one finger. "And how many head injuries have you had in those three hundred years?"
Jack's face screwed up for a moment and he set Sarah down. He counted silently for a few seconds. "I count nine and I think there was a few more, I just can't remember them. But nine give or take in three hundred years is like a super good record! Do you know now many head injuries North has had?"
"I don't care how good of a record you think you've got, nine concussions and only God knows what other injuries over three hundred years is enough to give any mother a heart attack. You're wearing the helmet, no buts about it."
Jack scoffed. "I'm the Guardian of Fun and the Master of Winter, I do not need a helmet."
But ten minutes and a loud argument later he was flying low over the forest, Sarah strapped to him with one of Jaime's belts, and a bright blue helmet buckled to his head. Like a beacon of nerd bringing jeerers from a radius of two hundred miles or more. If Bunnymund ever saw him like that he would never ever live it down.
But the little girl laughing and squealing in his arms as he flew made it all worth it. She and the countless other children, whether they believed in him or not, were the reason he endured all that he endured and survived to tell the tale. Because waking up each day to all those smiling little faces was enough to make him do it all over again. They were worth it, and one laugh, one smile, no matter how small, was worth dying for. Was worth living for.
And there it is! THE END! It's bittersweet for me, I almost didn't want it to end, but I have so many other stories floating around in my head I think it was time! Thank you again to all you readers, favoriters, followers, and reviewers! It's been an amazing ride and I hope you will all join me for my next story! I decided to do a one shot series and I will start taking commissions right now! If I like your idea I just might use it for the premier chapter (with credit to you of course!) Shoutouts for this chapter will be given in the first chapter of the one shot series, so look for your names there! Can't wait to hear from you all!
Saved by Grace