Summary: After all the pranks Jack has pulled, even the guardians wanted to see the little trouble maker embarrassed sometimes. They just didn't expect it to happen in the form of a leaflet.
Of Reading and Blushing
"Jack, are you… blushing?"
Four pairs of eyes were turned to the cornered winter spirit as he looked away rapidly, cursing himself for being so obvious. He was the winter spirit of mischief and fun! He shouldn't be so transparent in front of these… of these… well, of them! Of the guardians! He thought that 300 years of hiding hurt expressions behind mischievous smiles and smirks could do better than this!
"N-No…" Jack said and he bit his tongue when he accidentally stuttered. He looked away and let out a forced laugh. "What makes you say I'm blushing anyway? I mean, if it isn't so obvious, I don't blush, being the winter spirit and all…" He mumbled.
The four guardians exchanged looks. Toothiana's amethyst eyes were surveying her comrades' faces which had different degrees of surprises. Bunnymund had a sort-of triumphant look on his face, probably relieved that even Jack could get embarrassed. North had a sort of confused surprised on his, staring at the leaflet frosted and crumpled on Jack's hand. The winter sprite had completely forgotten he still had it. While Sandy… Sandy had a silent, thoughtful but surprised look on his face, golden eyes surveying the teenage immortal, trying to gauge out the reason for the surprising turn of events.
Toothiana shook her head lightly. How did everything get to this point?
Let's rewind a bit on that.
Jack Frost was someone who wasn't easily embarrassed. Being the spirit of Winter and the guardian of fun, he took things into stride, like for example, even if he did slip in his own ice, instead of being horribly embarrassed, he'd laugh it off like it was a good joke.
The guardian of Fun wasn't self-conscious, like most teenagers are right now. He liked himself just the way he was, no shoes and all. He didn't even care if Bunny made fun of his worn-out frosted blue hoodie and out-of-date trousers. To Jack, what mattered was that his clothes were comfortable, and besides, Bunny barely wore any clothes, so what would he know about fashion anyway?
Also, there was the case of Jack always shifting the spotlight of attention to the yetis, the elves, or occasionally to one of the guardians via pranks. The youngest guardian was never in the spot of hilarity and was never in the brunt of his own pranks. He pranked other people for his own amusement and for the amusement of others. The fact that he could fool people into doing silly things made him increase his own self-confidence and he had started to believe that he, the master of pranks, would never be pranked. Thus, he, Jack Frost, would never be embarrassed.
Which was why, it became Bunny's personal goal to prank the young guardian even once just to get him off his 'high horse'.
Every guardian wanted to get a rise of the cool and fun-loving new edition of their family. After being subjected to his jokes over and over again, they had this sudden and strong desire to see the white-haired boy face-palm, mutter in embarrassment, or if they were really lucky blush, when they finally get him with a prank.
But try as they may, whatever they did, they could never catch Jack at his own game.
The spirit of snow had laughed at all of their feeble attempts of pranking him: A bucket of warm water on top of the door- Sandy was, unfortunately, the victim of that; a laughing medicine in his cold chocolate, which was unfortunately- or fortunately?- drank by an excited elf; pink dye shampoo courtesy of Bunny- which had been used by an unknowing North; and finally the 'replace his toothpaste with glue'-plan which had been disapproved by the tooth fairy- but was still accidentally used by one of the yetis.
All in all, some outside force out there was protecting Jack from all of their pranks, and one by one the guardians had given up. All except Bunny who had persevered to get back on the 'gumby' with vengeance. But unfortunately, even the pooka had to withdraw when one of his 'pranks' had backfired on him, and he came out of North's office looking slightly bald and grumpy.
So ever since that disastrous week of 'Pranking Jack', the guardians had settled back to their quiet routines and busy schedules. They would meet once a month to discuss about the progress of each others' works and if the believers in the globe were steadily growing back to their usually large numbers.
Today was one of those days. Bunnymund, Toothiana, and Sandy were sitting around the table, waiting for North and Jack to arrive so that they could start the meeting, leave, and go back to their usual jobs.
Toothiana, was for once, not all excited and fluttering around. Rather, she was having a pleasant one-sided conversation with Sandy while Bunny was leaning back against his chair, watching the two as he elevated his sore legs.
Suddenly the window opened, and a cold wind blew, bringing with it flurries of snowflakes, blinding the three guardians in the room momentarily.
A happy laugh reached their ears as they blinked away the snowflakes blocking their sights. There was a telltale 'thud' of the window closing as they looked up and saw a hooded Jack smiling at them, blue eyes mischievous.
"Hey guys! Early as always I see! Geez, it won't hurt anyone if you're a little late." The newest guardian said as he pulled down his hood and gracefully walked towards the seat next to the Easter bunny. The pooka grunted in annoyance when he felt his fur stand-up slightly at the cold temperature Jack brought with him.
Sandy waved at the Frost boy while Tooth hovered towards Jack in excitement, her fingers itching to pry the boy's mouth open and to have a glimpse of his snow white teeth. Jack leaned back, still grinning but this time more uncertainly when he saw the excited glint in the amethyst eyes.
Thankfully, he was saved when the door to the Globe room opened and a certain Russian man entered.
" 'Ello fellow guard-!" The big man coughed as his voice came out gruffer than usual and slightly hoarse.
"Oh North!" Tooth gasped as she rushed to St. Nick's side in worry. "North, are you okay? Does it hurt anywhere? Is it a cavity?" She said as she fluttered around the well-known Santa.
Bunny sat up straight as Jack stood up, about to approach the old man. Sandy looked at North in worry. However, the jolly man just waved his hands in the air, signifying he was fine.
"It is fine… And no Tooth, it is not cavity." North said in a hoarse voice as he silently gestured Tooth to go back to her seat. The female guardian did so with hesitance. "Now, as you can see. I have a little bolʹnoye gorlo, a sore throat, no?" Santa said in his thick Russian accent. "Party last night with yetis. Very wild. Don't ask." He gave Bunny and Jack a pointed look. The pooka looked miffed and uninterested while Frost seemed excited to get the details out of North, later.
"If ya' weren't feeling so well mate, why send for us then?" The pooka said with crossed arms. "I could be paintin' my googies back at the warren right now, instead of puttin' up with a certain whacker." He grumbled.
"Ah, is tradition. I promised Manny…" North gave off a series of coughs before clearing his throat. "…promised Manny to check up on family often."
Tooth's worried expression morphed into a soft smile at the mention of family. Sandy gave the Russian a thumbs up, while Bunny just sighed, but he looked less annoyed. Jack was the only one with a guarded expression, but thankfully no one noticed this.
"Now…" North let off another cough. "Since I cannot use my golos for too long, let us start meeting, no?"
Sandy made a question mark on top of his head but Tooth helpfully muttered, "He means 'voice'."
"Aye, let's get this over and done with, mate." Bunny said as he pulled his chair closer to the table. Jack sat Indian style, floating on the air as he watched North take out something from his red jacket. Blue eyes widened when he saw several papers on the other's hands before the guardian of Wonder began to distribute them to each guardian.
"Phil's idea. Since I cannot use voice much…" North coughed roughly as he patted his stomach. "He made leaflets! 'Tis good, no?"
Tooth took one and nodded, impressed at the printed paper. "Oh I see! That makes sense!" Amethyst eyes were reading across the paper in a fast pace. "This is a thoughtful idea of Phil's, North. This way, you won't strain yourself and we can still have our meeting!"
North nodded happily as he gave the remaining copies to Sandy, Bunny, and Jack. Bunny and Sandy accepted theirs easily, but when North all but shoved it into the Winter child's hand, Jack jumped away rapidly. His hand closed around the paper, effectively frosting it with his power.
Of course, this action did not go unmissed by anyone.
"Jack?" Tooth said as she stood up and stared at the bringer of winter. "Jack, is there something wrong?"
Jack was looking away from them, his expression unreadable, lips pursed. "This isn't funny you know." He said quietly.
Aster looked over at the child as he also stood up from his seat. "What are you talkin' about, Frosty? No one's laughin'. What's got ya' so uptight, mate?" His green eyes were assessing the situation warily, wondering why the Winter spirit became guarded all of a sudden.
"Oh please." Jack let out a forced laugh. "Are you trying to prank me again guys? You know it's not going to work."
Sandy tilted his head as a question mark floated on top of his head. He looked at North who shrugged.
"Were you going to let me read out of that paper or something?" His voice was becoming higher, trembling slightly with each word. "You know, that wouldn't have worked…"
Tooth stared, uncomprehending at the bitter note in the boy's tone. Her amethyst eyes observed the other as she drew closer. Behind her, she could hear Bunny asking Jack to just say what he wanted to say because they couldn't understand what he was talking about.
"Jack?" The Winter spirit's eyes widened when he saw how close Tooth was all of a sudden. Jack stepped back, feeling like a cornered animal. He held his staff up defensively but Tooth ignored this.
"What do you mean 'that wouldn't have worked' Jack?" Tooth said as she fluttered about worriedly. "It's just reading, why are you so worried?"
Cerulean blue darkened to cobalt as Jack looked away, face incredibly pale.
"Jack, you can read right?" Tooth said, and behind her she heard surprised sounds from North and Bunny.
"Of course he can bloody read!" Bunny said as he gave Jack a challenging look. But when the youngest guardian avoided his eyes, his expression faltered as he said in a surprised tone. "Ya' can read, c-can't you?"
Jack let out another forced laugh. "O-Of course I can!"
"Oh!" North let out a relived sigh. "That good! Now no problem and we go back to meeting, yah?" North said in an anxious but hoarse voice. Sandy was making signs about how everyone should approach this with caution but no one was paying him any attention.
Everyone was too busy staring at Jack.
"Jack…" Tooth said gently. The boy's face paled and the fairy found this strange. Normal people would be red from embarrassment from the attention and gentle tones directed at them, but Jack- instead of darkening- became paler with each second. And it wasn't the bad type of pale either. It was the glowing type of pale, almost like he was-
"Jack, are you… blushing?" Tooth asked surprised.
And that's how it led back to this…
"Jack-" Tooth reached out again, but Jack jumped away, scowling.
"Stop it." He said, electric blue eyes shining with raw power, and it looked like it was taking everything in him to hold back the blizzard brewing inside him because of his distressed emotions. Already, a blast of cold air had sent the fliers Phil had prepared, flying around the room. "I can't read, okay?" He said in desperation and flash of sadness and surpise sparked in every guardians' eyes. "I spent 300 years trying to have the best time of my life and I never bothered to learn how to read, okay?"
"Jack we didn't-"
"You must've found out somehow…" Blue eyes were desperately looking at each of the guardian's faces, trying to find amusement, anything but worry that made his heart beat faster with uncertain feelings. "You must've planned everything, maybe North's sore throat was just an act-"
The winter sprite slammed his shepherd's staff unto the ground sending a blast of cold air all around. Everyone braced themselves at the onslaught of cold. "Well it's not going to work! I can't read, so what? I'm not planning to learn reading any time soon! You can't trick me into reading and making a fool of myself because I can't read. At all. You got that?"
Sandy waved his hands around, making several pictures with his sand, wanting to comfort that distraught teen but Jack had already turned his back on them and had jumped to the nearest window.
"Now, if that's all, I have to go and freeze the Sahara desert or something." He said, his back still turned as he opened the window widely. More snow came in and Tooth's feathers ruffled as she shivered. "Don't bother calling or checking up on me until at least a hundred years from now. I don't want to see you guys at the moment, I have a lot of stuff to do and-"
However before the newest guardian could finish, a warm but firm grip rested on his shoulder dragging him back into the warm atmosphere of North's meeting room.
"Oof!" Jack let out a grunt as he looked up and glared at the only person who would do that to him. "What do you think you're-!"
"Shut up ya' bloody whacker!" A hit on the head silenced him with a wince. Blue eyes glared at green ones as E. Aster Bunnymund glared at him impatiently.
Jack opened his mouth in defiance, but before he could get a word out, Sandy had grabbed a handful of cookies, rushed towards Jack and shoved it into his mouth.
"Thanks, Sandy." The pooka nodded in approval at the sandman, who gave a wink and a double thumbs up.
Jack's eyes began to water at the unexpected assault as Green eyes bore into him once more.
"Okay, look. I don't know what the bloody hell is going on in that whacker head of yours, but would ya' really think tha' we would make fun of the fact that ya' can't read just to prank ya'?" Bunny reprimanded as he poked the teen on the chest with his paws. "I know we were kinda mean to ya' before-" There was a clearing of throat from Tooth and Sandy and Bunny rolled his eyes, "I mean, I know I was kind of mean to ya' before, but mate, I'm- we're not tha' heartless!"
Jack looked up at Bunny, sapphire eyes wary and uncertain and the Easter Bunny's ears flopped a bit at the distrust he saw behind them.
"Look mate, I'm sorry about before." Bunnymund sighed as he ran his paws through his long ears. Jack's eyes widened at the apology. He was expecting anything coming out of the pooka's mouth, but an apology? "About getting angry at ya' 'cause of the whole Pitch thing… I wasn't thinking straight and all tha', I just got distressed with kids not being able to see me. Made me forget for a second tha' you've had it worse…" He mumbled and to the pooka's embarrassment, his ears were flopping in sadness and shame.
He cleared his throat and tried to continue. Sandy was silently cheering him on from behind, North was nodding on enthusiastically, and Jack could see Tooth smiling at him softly. "A-Anyway, y-you're a good guardian mate, despite everything I've said in the past. I don't care if you're a prankster, if you get into more trouble than you're worth, and if you can't read. All tha' matters is that ya' got your heart in the right place." He poked Snowflake one last time on the chest. "That's what counts."
Jack looked up, honestly surprised at what Bunny had just said. Not only did he get an apology from the proud pooka, but also a praise! Something the Easter bunny hardly gave anyone.
The guardian of fun swallowed the cookies in his mouth so he could say something but, before he could speak he suddenly saw something very colorful shoot at him and tackle him into a hug.
"Oh Jack! Bunny's right! You could be blind for all we care and we'll love you either way!" Tooth said as her wings fluttered excitedly. Jack let out a winded laugh but it was an improvement from before and North and Sandy came to join the two.
"She is right, Jack my boy!" North said in a gruff tone. "So is Bunny! We not care if you cannot read! We teach you, yah?"
Sandy nodded vigorously as an image of a book appeared on his head, flipping the pages.
"T-Teach me?" Jack said, surprised as he looked up at the jolly Santa. "But you guys are always so busy. Tooth and Sandy-"
Sandy shook his head as Tooth finally let go of Jack, making him sigh in relief. "It doesn't matter Jack. The two of us will find time. We'll always make time for our family." She said and Sandy nodded as he gave a happy smile.
Jack's eyes lit up at the word, expression still guarded but softening into a smile. "Family…"
Bunny rolled his eyes as he crossed his arms. "I guess, this lone ankle-bitah still needs stuff like that huh?"
Jack glared at the pooka as his face began to glow white. The Easter Bunny blinked as he let out a laugh.
"Look! Ha! The whacker's blushing!" Bunny said triumphantly as Jack glowered at the floor, unable to control the emanating coldness from his face.
"Oh how cute! His face is as white as his teeth!" Tooth said, giggling. North let out a jolly laugh, which turned into coughs at the end. Sandy was patting the poor guy on the back.
None of the guardians noticed a soft smile gracing the pale lips of the youngest guardian as he turned to look at the still open window. Man in the Moon shone brightly that night, as though to express his approval at the scene unfolding before him. And if Jack didn't know better, it was like Manny was telling him to trust them, to trust the guardians, so that they would make him happy.
And Jack knew, that when the moon tells you something, you gotta believe it.
Notes: Well this idea just came out of nowhere. Since Jack seemed to have lived in a small house in the middle of the forest, I couldn't help but think that maybe he didn't learn to read in his past life, and even if he did, he wouldn't have remembered. So, I thought that even in the span of 300 years of trying to be noticed, Jack wouldn't have time to read about, and also no one would've taught him how to read anyway.
So, I hope everyone enjoyed this fic. The next one is about Jack's eyes and the different shades of blue it takes when he was in his different moods.
I know it might not sound that good but the chapter after that will be a nice one, I'm sure you'll like it.
This is my first RoTG fic, and comments and advices on the way the characters speak would be really helpful. Sorry for any grammatical error or misspells!
Thanks for reading and if you're not too busy, drop a review!