Here we go!
As always, I don't own Rise of the Guardians or any of its characters
"You can't do this to me, Holly!" Said Mrs. Bunnymund as she pulled at her hair.
"I'm sorry, Miss B. One doesn't choose when to get sick." The babysitter replied on the phone.
"I was counting on you today! Who is going to take care of Jamie and Sophie!?" The woman sighed and decided to leave the sick girl alone and think of a solution to her problem. She hanged up, placed her cell phone on the table, took a deep breath, and began to massage her temples.
"Is something wrong, Mrs. Bunnymund?" The woman looked up to see her waitress, Toothiana, approach her table with concern. She sighed.
"My babysitter just canceled on me. I need to find someone who can take care of the kids before my lunch break is over." Toothiana nodded sympathetically.
"Can't Aster take care of them?"
"He is going to work on a project with a few classmates after school, and I have to take the extra night shift today. Ugh! What am I going to do?" Toothiana sighed and looked around the restaurant. She knew every customer. The entire town to be exact. Burgess was the kind of place where everyone knew everyone. As she searched through the people her eyes landed on a certain white haired boy. She gasped.
"I got it!" She said joyfully. Mrs. Bunnymund looked up, startled. "Ask him!" Toothiana pointed at the boy. "He's Jack Frost! He's the son of a good friend of mine! He's also really great with kids."
Mrs. Bunnymund looked at the boy Toothiana was talking about. The first thing that stuck out was his hair. It was white. He was sitting alone at a table in the corner of the restaurant. He was drawing, with great concentration, into a notebook. There was a finished milkshake at his side. "Oh! And before you ask," said Toothiana, "His hair is natural. He and his dad just moved in a few months ago."
Mrs. Bunnymund watched him for another second before saying "I'm really desperate here so if you say he's a good kid then a good kid he is."
Toothiana grinned. "I'll talk to him first, then I'll call you over to give him more details." With that she made her way to Jack.
Mrs. Bunnymund suddenly felt a bit guilty for forcing this boy to spend his Saturday night taking care of 2 strange kids. But at the same time, the fact that he was drawing in a corner of a restaurant probably meant he didn't have very important plans. At least she hoped it did.
Jack did not notice Toothiana was walking towards him until she poked him.
"Hi, Jack! What are you doing?" Startled, Jack slammed his notebook shut. He never showed his drawings to anybody and simply did not enjoy being sneaked up on.
"T-tooth! You scared me! Make some noise next time!" Toothiana laughed.
"Aww, you're such a cutie. How's North?" Jack rolled his eyes at her with a smile.
"He's fine. Didn't you see him, like, 2 days ago?" He raised an eyebrow "What do you really want?" Toothiana laughed and raised her hands in surrender.
"You got me! I need you to do me a favor. Mrs. Bunnymund is going to come and talk to you about it with more detail, but basically she needs you to take care of her kids for the night." Jack blinked. Well, there goes the rest of his day. Not that he had anything planned really. And anyway, it could be fun.
"Sure, Tooth. Where is she?" Toothiana cheered.
"Thanks Jack! You're the best!" The waitress made her way to Mrs. Bunnymund's table. "He's ready for you!"
"Thanks, Toothiana. I owe you one." Toothiana gave her a wink.
"Just leave a nice tip."
Mrs. Bunnymund made her way to Jack's table. She saw the boy put his notebook into a brown messenger bag. The boy looked up and smiled at her.
"Hi, Mrs. Bunnymund." He said politely.
"Hi, Jack. Do you mind if I sit with you?"
She sat across from him.
"Well, I'm sure Toothiana told you something already. I need someone to take care of my kids. I'm going to be out all night. I might not return till one in the morning." Jack seemed surprised, but made no comment. Mrs. Bunnymund continued. "Normally I would ask my son to watch over them but he will be working on a project with a classmate so I can't depend on him. I had hired a babysitter but she got sick. You would be a real life saver if you could do this…" she paused, then added, "If it is ok with your dad."
Jack could see the desperation in her face even if she was able to keep it out of her voice.
"Don't worry. My dad will be fine with it but he'll want me home before 12. Do you think your son will be there by then?"
She nodded. "Yes definitely. I'll ask you to stay as late as you can, no more." Jack smiled, trying to lighten her up.
"Alright, Mrs. Bunnymund! Don't worry about a thing. I'll just need the address, a way into the house, and the kid's names. I know all the town's emergency numbers and I have a first aid kit in my bag. If there isn't anything else you think I should know then I'll be on my way."
Mrs. Bunnymund felt a weight lifted off her shoulders at the confidence in the boy's voice. She noticed his smile seemed to be contagious and soon found one on her own face. They exchanged phone numbers and she texted him the address to her house. She gave him her copy of the house keys.
"By the time I get there, Aster will be home so he can open the door for me." At Jack's perplexed look, she added, "Aster is my oldest son. The kids you are taking care of are called Sophie and Jamie." Jack nodded and smiled.
"Aster, Sophie, Jamie. Got it."
Jack opened the door to the Bunnymund home. As he walked in he saw a television turned on and a boy lying on the couch.
"Sophie! Holly's here!" The boy, Jamie, called out. Jack chuckled.
"Not exactly." Jamie gave a startled jump as he muted the television and turned to face Jack.
"Uh… who are you?" Jack smiled.
"I'm Jack Frost. Holly's sick so I'm going to stay with you guys today." Jamie nodded. Looking at him curiously. Jack crossed his arms.
"You're watching TV? That's so lame. Why don't we play something!" Jamie seemed shocked.
"Holly always puts the television." Jack smirked.
"Well, things are going to be quite different today."
Jack enjoyed himself greatly playing with Jamie and Sophie. He gave them turns choosing what to do.
First, Jamie choose to play hide and seek. Then Sophie choose to draw. After that, Jamie choose to play tag. Sophie then wanted to play with dolls (to Jamie's dismay and Jack's amusement.) Dinner came after that. Jack made spaghetti and got the kids to "help". Then they played hopscotch (Jack's choice). By then both Jamie and Sophie were yawning. It was 8:30. Jamie said goodbye to Jack but not before he gave him a tight hug which shocked Jack for a second before hugging him back. With Jamie in his room, Jack carried Sophie to her room. As he placed her on the bed she reached for a book that was on her bed stand. She gave it to Jack and said, "read!" Jack smiled and looked at the book.
"The man in the moon, huh? Never heard of it. Let's see." Jack began to read. As he read he was filled with a strange warmth.
When he was near the end he looked at Sophie expecting to see her falling asleep, but she was wide awake and hanging on to Jack's every word. He finished the story and put it back on the bookshelf with a sort of fondness. He felt Sophie tug at his hoodie. "Sing." She said.
Jack had hoped this would not happen, but Mrs. Bunnymund had said that Sophie might ask him to sing. She said he didn't have to, but he knew there was no way he could refuse a child. Jack smiled. "Alright, Soph. But promise me you will go to sleep." She nodded profoundly.
"Promise!" Jack sighed and gave her a weak smile.
"Alright, here goes nothing."
Aster was not in the best of moods. The fact that his classmates were jerks was not bad enough. No, they also had to be incredibly lazy. He had done most, if not all, of the work for their project. As he opened the door to his house he wanted nothing more than to throw himself on his bed and have some rest.
Aster made his way to his room, which was next to Sophie's. That was when he heard it. A voice. Singing. He had heard that song before, but the original was more opera-like. This person, whoever it was, had been able to turn the song into a soft lullaby.
Aster searched for the source of the voice. Sophie's room. For a second he thought it was Holly, the babysitter. But he soon realized the voice was male. He stood outside the door for a second.
"Still dream, and all the wonder that you knew will all come flying back to you
if you remember all the hope you left behind open up your heart and change your mind. Oh, what you'll find it you still dream."
Aster carefully opened the door, trying to get closer to the sound. He saw a silhouette sitting on Sophie's bed with his back turned to the door. It was a boy no older than him. His white hair was what stuck out the most, but Aster was too busy listening to his voice. He stood there, at the edge of the door listening until the boy finished.
"Time to close your eyes, but when you awake still dream." Aster watched as the boy patted Sophie's head. "Good night, Soph." He then got up and turned towards the door… to find some guy staring at him.
Jack covered his mouth to avoid a startled sound coming out and awaking Sophie. Aster looked at him apologetically and pointed outside. Jack nodded and quickly made his way out the room.
When Jack got out, Aster was able to take a good look at him. His hair really was white and his eyes were the brightest blue he had ever seen. He was also blushing deeply. Jack had never felt so embarrassed in his entire life. No one had ever heard him sing before. He felt like an idiot.
"Did you hear me?" He couldn't help asking. Aster blinked then smirked.
"Yeah, that was kind of what got me into the room. Wanted to know who was with my sister." He was obviously not going to include the part of how the boy's voice pretty much took over his mind in that moment.
Jack tried to keep his blushing under control but he was too ashamed.
"I'm Jack Frost. Your mother found me in a restaurant and asked me to take care of Jamie and Sophie. Something about the babysitter being sick." Aster nodded understandingly.
"I guess that makes sense. I'm…"
"Aster." Jack said. "Yeah I know." Aster raised his eyebrow.
"Well then, introductions over. What are you going to do now?"
"What time is it?" Aster reached for his pant pocket when he remembered he had lost his phone the day before somewhere in the house.
"I don't have my phone here." Jack opened his messenger bag.
"It's fine, I'll check on mine." As he rumbled through the various objects the bag contained, his notebook fell out. Before Jack could reach it, Aster got it.
"Wait! Don't!" But it was too late. The book had opened when it fell and Aster saw the open page.
"Well, you already heard me sing. If I'm going to embarrass myself might as well go all the way." Jack said half joking half annoyed. Aster was too busy looking at the drawings. The page the book had landed on was completely covered in patterns of frost. As he looked through the pages he saw all the drawings had something to do with winter. There were drawings of snowy mountains, icicles hanging off of roofs, snowflakes falling, frosted windows, all done in pencil. They were extremely detailed and beautiful.
Jack had never let anyone see his drawings before. Although he knew he was perfectly capable of snatching the book out of Aster's hands, he didn't. Jack had no idea what was making him do that.
"These are… amazing." Jack hardily had time to react before Aster asked, " You like winter, huh?" Jack was surprised at the question.
"Yeah. It's my favorite season." Aster nodded.
"Weird." Jack frowned.
"What do you mean?" Aster looked away from the drawings and at Jack for a second. The boy himself seemed winter themed.
"Well, normally people like summer. You know, the warmer times." Jack looked at him curiously.
"What's your favorite season?"
"It's the season when everything comes to life. The flowers bloom, the plants grow, the animals come out. Also the weather is warm but not overwhelmingly so. For me it represents hope. New beginnings." Aster surprised himself with the words that came out of his mouth. Why did he find it so easy to talk to this stranger? He found himself unable to stop. "I never liked winter. It's just so… cold. Everything dies and everything is dark." He felt a pang in his chest at the horror and hurt on Jack's face.
"What! No! Winter is not that at all! For me winter is freedom. It's the wind blowing through your hair and snowflakes dancing through the sky. Have you ever seen kids playing in the snow? I have never seen them happier than in those moments. And snow is just… so beautiful. And the fact that it can become so many things amazes me. Winter is so unappreciated. For me, it simply represents… joy." Jack stopped and realized all he had said. Why was he pouring his heart out to this stranger? Aster watched Jack for a second.
"I had never thought of it that way. I guess I will be looking at winter differently this year." That brought a smile to Jack's face. Aster smiled back.
"Hey, since you let me see your drawings I'll show you mine. Fair?" Aster took Jack's hand and lead him downstairs into the living room. Jack let himself be dragged away with no real understanding of what was happening.
Once they arrived, Aster told Jack to sit on the couch as he got a notebook from the table beside them. Aster sat next to Jack and gave him the notebook. Jack slid his hand over the purple hardcover before opening it. He saw Aster, from the corner of his eye, holding his breath unconsciously.
Jack brought his attention back to the notebook. He smiled as he saw what the drawings were of. They were all spring themed. A valley full of flowers, little rivers with plants at its banks, trees and animals of every kind. Jack was amazed at the quality of the drawings. The finished ones where painted in bright colors while the works in progress were still in pencil.
"They're… beautiful." Aster let go of a breath he didn't know he was holding. Jack chuckled.
"You think so?"
"Yeah!" He smirked. "They may just have won spring second place in my "favorite seasons" list. They both gave each other back their notebooks.
"I guess you're looking forward to winter?" It was fall. Winter was a month away.
"I really am! I'll show you what winter really is! We'll have the most epic snowball fights and make the biggest snowman!" Aster laughed at how childish Jack sounded and how even his eyes seemed to shine when he spoke of winter. "You're such a kid. You remind me of how Jamie talks about the trampoline." For a second, Jack pouted.
"I am not a k- wait! You have a trampoline? How was I not aware of this! We need to go!" Jack stood up with a jump. He took hold of Aster's arm and pulled. "Come on! Let's go!" Aster found himself laughing and standing up. As he led Jack to the trampoline he couldn't stop staring at Jack's joyful face. Jamie and Sophie always asked him to go on the trampoline with them but he always said no. He wondered what it was about Jack that made all his barriers melt away.
Once they were in the backyard, Jack saw it.
"Race ya to it!" He yelled as he began to run.
"Hey! No fair!" Aster called out as he ran after him. Aster had always been a very fast runner and was able to get to the trampoline at the same time as Jack. Jack smirked.
"Well, I bet you can't jump higher than me!"
"Is that a challenge?"
They got inside and Jack instantly began to jump. Aster was unsure of what to do for a second, not having set foot on a trampoline for years. Soon he found himself jumping and laughing along side Jack.
He realized Jack would win their bet. The boy was like a freaking napkin. Every jump would bring him higher and higher. Aster was actually frightened for a second that he would be carried off by the wind. It reminded him of something Jack had said before: snowflakes dancing in the sky.
"Careful there, snowflake. Don't want the wind taking you away." Jack laughed.
"Are we using nicknames now? Hmm, let me think!" Jack crossed his arms and a thoughtful look took over his features. Aster thought he looked hilarious acting all serious while bouncing higher than humanly possible.
"Let's see, Bunnymund, bunny, bunny, I got it!" Jack cried cheerfully. " From now on, you are cottontail!" Aster scowled trying to keep a smile out of his face.
"You know what, forget about snowflake. You're frostbite." Jack looked impressed.
"Nice wordplay!" Aster laughed. Then sighed and let himself fall onto his back. He couldn't remember the last time he had laughed so much.
He felt Jack land next to him. They both watched the night sky.
"Hi Manny." Jack muttered. Aster turned his face to look at Jack.
"Who are you talking to?" Jack pointed up.
"Man in the moon! From the book I read to Sophie today." Bunny looked back up at the sky. He couldn't remember the last time the moon had seemed so bright, not that he had been paying much attention to the moon lately.
"Never read that book before." Aster murmured.
"You should! It's in Sophie's room. Maybe we could-" Jack was interrupted by the ringing of his phone. The ringtone was a Christmas song. Bunny smirked.
"A bit early for Christmas, don't you think?"
"It's the ringtone I put for my dad. He's a huge Christmas fan. This is just an alarm but I put it cause It's telling me to go home." Jack's smile began to fade, and so did Aster's. It was as if neither of them had thought about leaving.
The two of them got off the trampoline and made their way back inside. Jack took his messenger bag off the couch.
"I guess I should get going." Jack paused, waiting, hoping, Aster would say something.
Aster had no idea what to say.
"Yeah. Thanks for watching over Jamie and Sophie." Those words made Jack's heart sink. So that was it. The best day he had had in a long time would be just that: a day. Jack swallowed, trying to get rid of the lump he felt in his throat.
"Alright. Goodbye, Aster."
As Jack turned to leave, Aster felt a sudden pain in his chest. He had to do something. The thought of Jack walking out of that door and out of his life was simply… terrifying.
"Wait!" He called out. Jack froze and turned around.
"Yeah?" Aster felt tongue tied for a second. Without thinking he said.
"I can't find my phone. Would you mind calling so I can look for it?" For a second Jack stared blankly at Aster, then a smirk appeared on his face.
"Oh. You can't find your phone? A bit convenient don't you think." Aster had never been the blushing type of guy. Even when he was embarrassed, the blush simply wouldn't come. He was extremely glad of that now for he knew he would be blushing like crazy otherwise.
"It's true! I know what it seems like-"
"Oh it doesn't seem like anything." Jack said teasingly. "I'll do this favor for you, cottontail." Aster gave Jack his phone number and Jack dialed. A distant ringing could be heard and Aster was able to forget his embarrassment as he began to search. A look of horror filled Jack's face.
"You really did loose your phone didn't you."
"Yeah." Said Aster as he moved the sofa and found his phone under it. "Got it!" He turned to face Jack, who seemed to have not been blessed with Aster's incapability to blush.
"I- I'm sorry. I'll be leaving now. " How many embarrassing things had Jack done in that house already? Jack turned to leave when Aster cried out once more.
"Wait!" Jack sighed. His cheeks still red.
"What!?" He watched Aster click a few things on his phone.
"Is this your number?" Aster called out the digits of his most recent call.
"Yes. That's it." Jack muttered. Aster took a deep breath before saying.
"Is it ok if I call you tomorrow?" Jack looked at Aster in surprised. They both stared into each other's eyes for a few seconds. Jack smiled.
"That would be great." He said. With that, he turned away once again and got out of the house.
This time seeing Jack leave did not fill Aster with fear, but with hope. Hope that maybe something special had started that day.