Synopsis: Edit 3/4/13:Jack Frost has given up his Guardianship. Why? Well, part of the reason is his first believers. But there's so much more then that. Follow Jack through his life and struggles of adjusting to humanity. Make new friends and discover how awkward life actually is. And... there are some things just can't stay in the past.
Pairing: Human!Jack x Older!Sophie
Notes: This is an expansion of a oneshot I wrote a while ago. There's going to be several chapters, going through Jack's life as a human. You'll get to know his children and the friends he makes along the way. A more in-depth look in his struggle to adapt to this century's way of life. Humanity is not as easy as it looks.
Jack Frost has spent years visiting these siblings. Jamie and Sophie Bennett were his first and oldest believers. Since Jamie was eight, Jack had not been able to stay away. He was actually making his first friend. A mortal one, one he could come to that he was sure would listen when the Guardians were busy. Which was actually all the time, believe it or not. It felt strange to be the only Guardian with his own schedule and as much free time as he desired.
He had been with them for about seventeen years now. They were his closest friends. He would visit them at least once a week, though he tried to see them once a day. It was horrible, probably incredibly irresponsible, but he could not stay away. The three of them got along way too well for him to just up and leave them. He did try and stay away for longer then two weeks once, but there was this strange aching in his chest. He couldn't explain it, but once he was back with Jamie and Sophie, it eased and felt… home.
Home. Jack Frost never had a home. He never felt someplace he belonged. His pond was the closest thing because forgotten memories were tied to it. That was his favorite place for three-hundred years because that was where he was born. That was where he died. And this house was so very close to that pond, he could look out of Jamie's bedroom window and see it.
And, while he didn't prefer to stay in one place (the world was so big and even after three-hundred years he felt as if he hadn't been everywhere), he could easily imagine being with Jamie and Sophie forever. Being with them eased his fears, worries, and anxiety. He was calm with them.
And now, this was exactly where he needed to be.
Jack Frost was worried. Very worried. But he refused to let on that he was or why he was. Especially to these two.
"Jamie, I let's put on Rave Captor." Sophie insisted as she sat on the living room floor, a sketchbook open in front of her.
"I don't want to watch anime, Sophie." Jamie said as he flipped through the television channels, Jack sitting next to him. "What do you want to watch, Jack?"
Jack shrugged. He didn't watch television often. It was actually quite rare to sit with the two of them and watch it. Jamie was home from college. It was summer break. Sophie never left home, but was attending her first semester of college in the fall. He would dart between the two of them and they woud find games to play and would easily find something to keep them busy. But, it was a lazy summer's eve.
Jack was tired, although he wouldn't let it on. Jamie was recovering from exams, saying his brain was mushed and needed some rotting. Sophie was always just sort of in her own world. She went along with what was going on around her.
"I don't care," Jack replied. "I don't really pay attention to the shows playing anyway." He tried a few times. But it was hard to keep up with plots and characters. Movies were much easier. One go and you knew everything and everyone. Sometimes, it took two or three or thirteen. There was a children's movie with thirteen sequels, he remembered. Way back in the 1990s. Needless to say, he had only seen the first one.
"Let's just put in a movie." Jack suggested.
The two of them agreed. Then the argument about about which movie to watch had Jack chuckling from his seat. He was exhausted. Jack could not ever remember feeling like this. Not once in his three-hundred years of life had he been weary. He closed his eyes and leaned back on the couch.
He opened his eyes and Jamie and Sophie leaned over him, worried. He raised an eyebrow. Why were they looking at him like that.
"Were you… were you just sleeping?" the blonde girl asked.
"No." Jack answered quickly, stretching his arms. "I was resting my eyes." He thought he was anyway.
"No… Jack Frost doesn't just 'rest his eyes.'" Jamie frowned. "Jack Frost doesn't get tired or sleep."
Jack laughed and pushed them back. "Guys, I'm fine."
They weren't buying it. Suddenly, this was leading down a road Jack did not want to go down. He wasn't ready to talk with them about what was happening to him. He didn't even know what to make of it himself. Jack reached down and grabbed his staff.
"I'm going to g—whoah!" Jack stumbled as he stood up. No. No, no, no. Jamie quickly grabbed him as he lurched forward. Sophie gasped and helped him stand upright.
Jack met her gaze and stopped. Her bright, big green eyes were furrowed with worry and she bit her chapped lip. Something about her eyes always just seemed to capture him. No, it wasn't always. It… it started about three years ago. She was growing up and they were growing closer and she was just beautiful. He didn't know what this feeling was.
He was dizzy. Why was he dizzy? He gripped his staff and took a breath, pulling his gaze away from her. Was it because he needed to breathe? But… he never NEEDED to do that. No, it had to be something else. Though, he did note that he had momentarily forgot to breathe. He should figure out how to stop that.
"Sorry, just, you know, time to get going." Jack nodded, looking from Sophie to Jamie with a grin.
"Jack, what's going on?" Jamie asked, tightening his grip on Jack's bicep. Jamie was not going to let him go without answers.
"What are you talking about?" Jack laughed. "You act like something's wrong."
"Because something clearly is." Sophie said in a quiet voice.
Jack didn't like worrying them. He didn't like the looks they pierced him with that begged for answers. They sincerely were concerned for him. They didn't want him to suffer. They didn't want him to be alone. The Bennetts gently held on to Jack, Sophie's hands covering his free hand and Jamie moving his hand to his back. He looked between them and sighed, pulling away from them.
"See you later." he said with finality.
They understood he could be stubborn sometimes. The siblings looked between each other and stepped towards him as he leapt onto the window seat and pushed the window open. Jack held out a fist to Jamie that the man met with his own.
"See ya." Jamie said with a frown.
Jack looked to Sophie. He hesitated for a moment before leaning forward and touching his lips to hers. The kiss was swift, chaste, but so sweet. It also illicit a gasp from the girl's brother. But this wasn't something new. He found himself often with the urge to kiss her when they were together. It was just the first time he had done so in front of Jamie.
Sophie was… special. She made him feel things no one else did. He cared about her differently, not more and not less. What he felt with her was just as strong as what he felt with Jamie or Toothiana or Bunnymund. He did not understand the feeling but really did want to know more about it.
Sophie smiled and touched his face, fear for him etched in her eyes. "See you tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow." he promised.
He glanced to Jamie with his usual side-smirk and threw snow in his face before the winds grabbed Jack and pulled him through the window and into the air.
— — —
His heart felt heavy and broken.
Standing in the middle of his pond, a warm summer breeze ghosted over him. The full moon hung high above him. He felt ashamed to stand in it's presence. Jack toed the ice beneath his feet that held him on the water. He took a deep breath and looked up.
"You chose me." he started, his voice thick with emotion. "You chose me for this role. And… I'm honored. It's the best thing that has ever happened to me." He was being honest. "They didn't look down on my anymore. They took me in. We're family." He nodded, clutching his staff tightly. "We're family…
"But, I… I guess I screwed up somewhere, huh?"
He was a disappointment. They might not have seen him like that. No, the Guardians did not. But he was a hinderance. Seventeen years ago, he was powerful. Not quite the strength of the Guardians when they were at their full power, but he had enough to really make a difference. It had drained, though. With his acceptance of Guardianship.
It was a slow transition. One he did not notice at first. Jamie had all of the neighborhood children believing in him. Burgess had become full of believers. Belief slowly spread about Jack Frost's existence in towns nearby. It took about a decade to get a good amount of believers. And Jack felt stronger then he had before. He felt power through the children that believed in him. He did not need to rely on that power before. And it felt good because he was so surethat there would only be more believers to come.
But, just as quickly as belief escalated, it descended. Turns out, belief in Jack Frost was just a passing phase. He didn't have a holiday to keep up his tradition. He didn't come and collect anything from them or leave gifts. He did not leave residual dream sand trapped in the corners of the eyes of sleepy children when they awoke.
There was no lasting proof Jack Frost existed. Snow days and fun times were brief and were gone as quickly as they came. Nothing memorable was left besides memories that faded the next event of their life occurred.
"I'm grateful. I really am. Even if for three-hundred years I couldn't see it. But, truly, I'm thankful. You have me a second chance at life. You saw something in me that I never could. You knew I had a greater purpose and I could live up to it. And I tried. I did my best. Right?" Jack adjusted the hood that framed his face. "These seventeen years, I lived up to the expectations. I protected children from danger and nightmares. I've been doing everything I could.
"But… I don't think I can anymore." Jack looked at the moon's reflection in the water. "I physically can't. I want to. I really do. I just… I don't have enough believers."
When he realized he was growing weaker, he did everything he could to keep his believers. He would visit them regularly during the winter. But the children outgrew him.
He could count on one hand how many believers he had left.
"But… it's okay. I have those two." Jack smiled fondly. "Jamie and Sophie. They're the best. I hope you see that. I really do. Because they're both so amazing, so full of faith and hope and they're already all grown up but still believe in us. I've never heard of that before. Have you?" He looked up to the moon.
And his smile fell. "I want to keep going. I do. But… look. I've failed you. I've failed the Guardians. They offered to help. And they tried. They all tried so hard. It didn't work. Nothing worked.
"And… now I'm scared. I'm terrified. Jamie and Sophie… what if they stop believing in me, too? Or… what if they never stop? I'm going to be around much longer then they are. Maybe… if everyone stops believing in me, will I disappear?
"The thing is… I know I've asked you this a million times and a million different ways. I've begged you, I've pleaded, I've groveled. I've been pretty pathetic, haven't I?" Jack laughed. "But… this time, I'm going to ask you, as a friend, please take this from me."
Jack had thought about this for a long, long time. He asked Jamie and Sophie what they thought of it last year. What if he could ask the Man in the Moon to take his power from him and leave him mortal?
Jamie was all for it. He sounded quite excited by the prospect, actually. But, at the same time, he admitted he would miss the magic that came with being Jack Frost's friend.
Sophie, though. Her first question was "Would you give it up just because of us?" He honestly didn't know how to answer her. They were part of the reason. But she did NOT want him to give up, just to be able to be with them. She didn't think they were worthy of him, she said. But it was the other way around. He wasn't worthy of them.
"It's… it's different this time." Jack nodded. "I was scared before. Of losing everything. But when the only thing I'm scared of losing is my friends, I've really got nothing to lose. Most of my power is already gone. Death… I'm not afraid of death." Being alive for three-hundred-plus years took the fear. He had lived long and he had lived well. "I don't want to lose them, MiM." Jack shook his head and pulled his hood back. "They're everything to me. Mortality… Mortality would grant me them for the rest of my life. I don't need magic, I don't need power, I don't need all this." He motioned to himself. "Just them.
"So, please… grant me mortality. You can do that, can't you? You gave me this gift. You can take it back. I've failed you. I'm failed the Guardians. Don't let me fail Jamie and Sophie, too."
Jack waited and waited. He anxiously shifted his weight on the ice, clutching his staff with both hands. Then, a moon shone bright. A single moonbeam reached him. He felt warmth spread from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. Breathe escaped him, his eyes transfixed on the glowing orb above him.
The light dimmed. The ice beneath his feet was suddenly way too cold. Jack looked down at just has he heard crackling. The ice was way to thin. It broke beneath him.
Jack yelped as he fell into the water. He surfaced and coughed out the water he inhaled in his drop. He gasped for air and laughed. The Man in the Moon certainly had a sense of humor. Jack swam to the shore with his staff and climbed out of the water, shaking himself off. He was soaking wet. Jack couldn't recall a time that water clung to him.
It was actually amazing. The warm summer wind chilled him when it brushed against him. He was cold. Jack have NEVER been cold. He shivered a bit and twisted to look back at the lake. The frost he walked across was melting already. It was already much harder to see in the dark, trying to make his eyes adjust with only the light of the full moon illuminating the pond area. It didn't matter, though.
Jack whooped and twirled on his toes, his fist and staff in the air. Thrill and joy bubbled inside him. MiM listened to him for the first time! He didn't just force Jack to wait for answers. He didn't think he'd last three hundred years for a reply again.
Jack fell back into the grass. It was cool and soft, tickling the back of his neck. Panting, he looked into the face that glowed in the moon and grinned back. "Thank you." he breathed. "Thank you."
He couldn't be certain he was completely human. He couldn't see his reflection or run to the people to see if he passed through them. But the unfamiliar weight of his body and the need for air told him something changed. He put his hand on his forehead, matting down his wet hair. In what little light he had been provided, he could see his hair did not reflect any of it. It was dark, unlike the silvery-white spikes he was accustomed to.
Looking back to the orb, his cheeks ached with his wide smile.
I'm glad to have the pleasure of working with you, Jack Frost. Take care. Be well. I will always be watching. Good luck.
Jack released a breath of relief. He spent a good portion of the night thanking the moon that did not respond. His eyes stung as he said his goodbyes. And, for the first time, he slept and dreamed.