Disclaimer: I do not own Rise of the Guardians or the Guardians of Childhood series or the associated trademark characters and storylines. I do not own, nor am I associated with DreamWorks Animation or William Joyce.
Full Summary: The Muses are more than mythology.
It is stories, legends, fairy tales and books that keep children believing in the Guardians, keeps their spirits alive in their hearts. But all books start with a blank page. All stories start with a spark, a hunch, an idea.
With the ability to inspire at will, to manipulate thoughts and dreams of great and impossible things, the nine Muses are exceptionally important and exceptionally powerful. And this power does not go unnoticed.
When the Muses are threatened by a dark entity hoping to harness their power, they must call upon the Guardians and their centuries-old alliance. Together they must learn more about this threat, and what can be done to stop it and keep the Guardians and Muses strong and alive.
Meanwhile, Jack Frost, a Guardian of a few short months, is still up to his old tricks while trying to adjust to new responsibilities. Along the way he finds a new friend who could use some fun among the chaos that is about to erupt in her life. A life that was so meticulously planned out is turned upside down as fantasy becomes reality and imagination is no longer a safe place to escape to.
"How was the drive?"
"Terrible! Snow everywhere, you'd think someone was doing it on purpose."
Chapter One: Reminiscing
The cabin could barely be called a cabin. It was more of a hut: a building in the loosest sense of the word. It had four walls and a roof, a door, a window, and a chimney that looked as though it were ready to fall over. Truthfully, it appeared that a strong gust of wind could knock down the shack, with signs surrounding which read, "Condemned" and "No Trespassing."
The small structure was concealed behind several large trees, and was incredibly easy to miss, nestled within the forest that rarely anyone ventured into.
It was always snowing around this cabin, regardless of the season.
Inside was exceedingly less interesting than outside, if at all possible. There was only one room, which contained a mattress and pillow in the corner, a fireplace that appeared to have not been used in decades, and a few shelves on one of the walls.
The shelves proved to be at least somewhat intriguing, containing items such as a matryoshka doll, a handful of what appeared to be grenades disguised as Easter eggs, a tiny but elaborately designed box containing a single wisdom tooth, and a small, golden, velvet bag. Various crayon drawings were pinned up near the shelves with care, all depicting children partaking in various winter games.
A boy with pasty skin and white hair climbed inside through the window, already open. With a yawn, he propped the staff in his hand against the wall and stretched before lying back on the mattress, eyes fixed to the still-open window. He briefly wondered if he should close it.
"Why? So I won't catch my death?" he said to himself with a small laugh as a cold gust of air entered the cabin, shuffling he drawings on the wall just slightly.
Jack Frost was still getting used to this whole "house" thing.
He didn't want one, he had done fairly well for himself just lurking around for the past three hundred years. The closest thing he had to a home was the lake at Burgess, which was only a short walk – or fly, depending on his mood- away from the cabin.
He saw no reason to have one; it was the others that insisted. Jack glanced at the knick-knacks on his shelves as he thought of the others. North had given him the matryoshka doll made in Jack's image to welcome him as a Guardian, and so that the boy may never forget his "center."
The egg grenades? Well, don't tell Bunnymund about those, Jack might have stolen them when he wasn't looking. They were finally kind-of, sort-of on friendly terms and it probably wasn't a great idea to let the rabbit know that Jack had stolen his egg bombs simply because they were cool.
The small, but very intricately decorated box was from Toothiana. Jack had returned his baby teeth to her after retrieving his memories from his old life, feeling that she would take better care of them than he would. She soon returned the one wisdom tooth (the only one Jack had, as the other three hadn't grown in by the time he had his accident; he now remembered it being knocked out while roughhousing with some other boys) in the box, and told him to save it, in case he needed the wisdom later.
Truthfully, he wasn't sure he would use the tooth any time soon, not unless he had to engage in a battle of wits with someone who wasn't Bunnymund. Still, the gesture was nice, and Jack kept the tooth with his other possessions.
The velvet bag was full of dream sand, and was given to him by Sandy. Jack couldn't entirely make out what he had been trying to say with the rapid, sandy silhouettes appearing over his head, but what he gathered was that there was very little in the bag, and that he was to use it wisely. After the entire fiasco with Pitch Black a few months back, Sandy seemed to think it was necessary that each of the other guardians had a small stash of dream sand in case of emergencies.
It was difficult to go through what had happened with Pitch and not come out of it closer, and that's precisely what had happened with Jack and the other Guardians. They were something of an odd family now, and Jack was still getting used to that, much like the house.
Ugh, the house. He liked having a place to keep his things, and he was starting to like the mattress (no bed, boogeymen hid under beds), but he was still getting used to having a legitimate place to stay. The others thought it was necessary that he had a home base. Tooth had her palace, North had his workshop, Bunny had his Warren, and Sandy had his island. What did Jack have?
Well, now he had this cabin, which was regarded as "a start" by the others, and was then met with a roll of the eyes from Jack.
He had no dreams or toys to create, no eggs to paint, no teeth and currency to store, he saw no reason for an elaborate home base. Especially considering the destruction that came to the other bases when Pitch was gaining power. If a villain of some kind laid claim to Jack's house, they'd be laying claim to a doll, some small explosives, a tooth, some sand, and some drawings.
He somehow doubted that would be much use to anyone plotting world domination or something similar.
Though, he'd be very disappointed to lose those things, particularly the drawings.
The drawings were from various children, a thought that still made Jack grin. They could see him! They believed in him! And not only that, but they loved him, enough to draw him pictures of the fun they had in the snow he brought. A good handful of the drawings were from Jamie Bennett, his first believer.
He hadn't seen Jamie since the events that had taken place around Easter, as Spring had finally hit Burgess after that. The drawings from Jamie had all been left near the edge of the lake where Jamie hoped Jack would find them. A few had even been sent in the mail to North, along with drawings for the other guardians, with notes asking that they be given to the proper recipients.
Jack had received all of them, and had carefully pinned each of them to the wall. He loved those drawings. Having confirmation that Jamie hadn't forgotten him was nice, too. Just how long it had been since he had seen the child began to dawn on Jack and he sat up, reaching for his staff.
He would just have to fix that, wouldn't he?
"Hey wind!" Jack called, climbing out of his cabin, using the window once more. Doors were for pedestrians. "Let's go visit Jamie!"
The wind picked up in response and caught Jack as he leapt forward, letting out a laugh. The strong gusts whipped about his hair and the soft fabric of his jacket. Three hundred years and flying hadn't lost its excitement in the least.
Still cackling, Jack artfully waved his staff as he passed the lake, thickening the ice and frosting nearby trees. Several other trees, windows, sidewalks, and unsuspecting pedestrians fell victim to Jack's games as he passed, bringing frost and cold gusts of wind as he went.
A few children pointed, eyes wide. He heard a few exclamations of, "Mommy, it's Jack Frost!" always followed by a, "That's nice, honey." He grinned at the kids in question and waved, acknowledging that he was who they thought he was.
Seven months and being believed in hadn't lost its excitement in the least.
Jack quickly approached the Bennett residence and began to wonder if Jamie would even be home. Hovering near the boy's window, he found that he was. Jamie was lying on his stomach on the floor, propped up on his elbows, with his copy of Mysterious Times open in front of him. He must be reading it for what was probably the thirteenth time.
Quietly opening the window, Jack entered the room and waved his hand about, sending several very large snowflakes straight into Jamie's face. The dark-haired boy was confused for a moment, sitting up and looking around briefly before his face broke out into a grin. He'd lost two other teeth since Jack had seen him last, and the tooth that he had a hand in knocking had been replaced by a pearly white adult tooth.
"Jack!" Jamie cheered before scrambling to his feet and rushing forward to hug the eternally young man.
"Jamie!" Jack laughed, hugging the child back.
"Did you get my drawings?" Jamie asked hopefully.
"Yep, I have all of them back at, uh… well, I have a home base now. They're all up on the wall there," Jack said.
"Awesome! I haven't seen you since Easter, I thought you weren't gonna come back," Jamie said, letting go of Jack at last, practically bouncing on his heels in excitement.
"I had to bring winter to some other places," Jack explained. "And I promised Bunny I'd let you guys have spring finally after the whole thing with Pitch. But it's November now, so I'll be around."
"Cool! I can't wait to go sledding, I have some plans drawn up, you gotta see them!" Jamie said, rushing over to a stack of drawings near a pile of colored pencils. Nice, quality colored pencils, too. He pulled out a drawing of what appeared to be an intricate iced path for sledding purposes and handed it to Jack, who let out a whistle at the sight of it.
"This is intense," he said, examining the drawing as he sat atop Jamie's dresser, his staff resting in his lap. There were several jumps, sharp turns and dips. And Jack thought the sledding route he had created for Jamie had been elaborate.
"Think you could do it?" Jamie asked.
Jack smirked, "It might take a little while, and I might have to steal some of North's elves to test drive it so I don't knock any more teeth out... but I think I can manage."
"Awesome! Wait until I tell the guys, this is gonna be great."
The pair was interrupted by a car honking outside as it pulled into the driveway. Jamie walked over to the window to see who had arrived and Jack hovered away from the dresser to do the same.
A green jeep with a few dents in the bumper sat running in the driveway before the driver killed the engine and opened the door, sliding out. It was a thin girl that appeared to be in her late teens, perhaps early twenties. Jack raised a brow, wondering who she was, as the girl adjusted her knit hat. Her hair was a peculiar shade of burgundy (it couldn't be natural), and her eyes were large and brown.
"Rowan's here!" Jamie grinned.
"Who's Rowan?" Jack asked.
"My cousin, she's staying with us for Thanksgiving," Jamie explained.
Thanksgiving. Right, that was coming up. Jack often forgot about that holiday, since it didn't have a personification running around to remind him. He briefly wondered what the personification of Thanksgiving would be, a giant turkey? There technically weren't even turkeys at the first Thanksgiving. Maybe a pilgrim?
Jack himself had never celebrated the holiday but had eavesdropped on the event numerous times in the past few centuries. Big feasts, parades, going around the table and being put on the spot about what you were thankful for.
And of course, extended family.
"Rowan!" came the voice of Jamie's mother from the front yard, as she approached the girl and pulled her into her arms.
"Hey, Aunt Lorelei, how are things?" Rowan asked. Her voice was on the deeper side for a girl.
"They're fine, but I expected you two hours ago, how was the drive?"
"Terrible! Snow everywhere, you'd think someone was doing it on purpose," Rowan groaned at the memory. Jamie turned his attention to Jack, giving him a questioning look. Jack smiled sheepishly, recalling how he had spent the earlier part of his day on one of the highways.
"Oops?" the white-haired boy offered with an innocent smile.
"At least you got here in one piece," Lorelei fussed, releasing her niece from her grasp before the two made their way to the house. Jamie turned from the window and began rushing for the door, but stopped short. He looked back at Jack, then to his bedroom door a few times, conflict clear on his face.
"Go see your cousin," Jack laughed. "I'll be around all winter."
Jamie rushed over and hugged Jack one last time before heading back to his door again. "See you later, Jack!"
"I'm taking your drawing, okay?" Jack said.
"That's fine!" Jamie replied as he turned the knob and rushed through. Jack smiled, glad to see that Jamie was still full of wonder, hopes, dreams, and all those other marvelous things that were so precious and worth the guardians protecting.
Standing at Jamie's windowsill, Jack carefully rolled up the drawing and placed it in the pocket of his jacket. He was about to fly off and find a place he could construct the sledding course when he heard the Bennett's greyhound barking.
Curiosity got the better of Jack and he couldn't help making a detour by the Bennett's living room window to peek inside. He found Rowan kneeling on the floor as Abby, the greyhound in question, jumped on her and licked her face. Rowan fussed over the dog in return. "Abby, Abby, Abby! Who's a good doggy? You're a good doggy, aren't you Abby?"
"Not if you ask Bunnymund," Jack muttered with a small chuckle.
"Rowan!" Jamie called as he reached the bottom of the staircase and sprinted toward his cousin. He nearly knocked the girl over when approaching her for a hug. The girl groaned slightly at impact but quickly recovered.
"Hi Jamie! How have you been?" Abby began to whine as Rowan's attention was taken away. The girl turned to the dog and rolled her eyes. "Oh, calm down, Abby, I stopped petting you for two seconds!"
"I've been good, what about you?" Jamie asked as Abby rolled over on the floor, presenting her belly to be rubbed by Rowan, who obliged.
"I've been doing lots and lots of homework. Finals next week," Rowan said with a small sigh. "So I've mostly been tired."
"Sophie, say hello to Rowan," Lorelei said to the little blond girl, currently preoccupied by puppets on the television screen. She slowly turned her head from the screen to Rowan, seemed to recognize her, and jumped to her feet.
"Rowan, Rowan!" Sophie called, crashing into the girl.
"Why is everyone trying to knock me over today? First the weather, now you guys," Rowan said, hugging the little girl in return. Jack winced slightly.
"Okay so maybe icing the middle lane suddenly was out of line," he mumbled, glancing from the window to Rowan's car and trying to place it among the vehicles he'd harassed earlier.
"I heard you cut your own hair again, Sophie," Rowan said as the child released her from grasp.
"It's pretty!" Sophie declared, shaking her choppy blonde hair about.
"Oh it's quite nice. I cut my own hair too, it's more economical that way," Rowan said with a small smile. Lorelei shook her head, laughing a bit.
"I'm going to take her to fix it next week, the hairdresser took the week off," the woman said, adjusting her glasses as she spoke.
"I can do it, it's just a matter of evening some things out," Rowan said, pushing Sophie's bangs out of her face.
"Well you certainly can't make it worse," her aunt said. "Maybe tomorrow, after you're settled."
"Sounds good to me, I just want to take a nap right now," Rowan confessed. "I seriously almost got into like, three wrecks on the way over here, most stressful drive to date… but don't tell my mom that."
"She'd never let you leave ever again," Lorelei said, wincing. Jack wasn't sure if she was wincing at the thought of Rowan's mother or the thought of Rowan almost wrecking three times.
He'd like to point out that she had almost wrecked. Despite the state of her car's bumper, she had not actually succeeded in plowing into someone or getting plowed into today. And now that he'd placed the car in his memory? It was really more like six times, and at least four of those had not been his fault.
She hadn't been a great driver.
"How is my sister, anyway?" Lorelei asked.
"Oh, the usual. I wish Dad would've gotten more time off so they could've made the trip down," Rowan said, back to scratching behind Abby's ear.
"I do too, but it's not really worth the drive if he only has Thursday off."
"Nah. But hey, at least I have you guys."
"Rowan!" Jamie said, clearly bored by this grown-up talk.
"Jamie!" Rowan responded with the same enthusiasm.
"Come look at my drawings, I have loads of new ones since you were here last time, and I've been using those pencils you got me, and-"
"Okay, okay, take a second to breathe, kid," Rowan laughed before pulling herself to her feet. "Let's go see your drawings, then."
As Jamie lead Rowan up the stairs, Jack turned from the window and hovered over to Rowan's car lightly tapping the windshield with his staff and frosting it over before the wind picked up. After being satisfied that what he'd done would serve as a significant inconvenience and therefore a fair prank for the girl, Jack flew off back toward the woods near the lake.
He had some construction to do.