Memories and Nightmares
He always thought regaining his memories would be the greatest thing ever and for the first while it was. Jack Frost enjoyed the idea that he had a life before becoming the winter spirit. He loved knowing he had a family, a little sister that he had adored and given his life for. It was wonderful. Until his new found memories began leaking into his dreams. At first he would smile and laugh as he remembered his family sitting down for dinner or his mother cuddle him. He loved remembering how strong his father was and how he would often take Jack hunting with him when he was old enough. The man had taught Jack how to survive and had it not been for that early training Jack may not have been able to survive on his own when he became a Guardian. They had many good times and several bad times. Being a colonist was not an easy life but they had loved each other.
But as his memories became more vivid Jack began awaking unsure of himself. He wasn't sure what was real anymore. Was his life as a spirit a dream and his family waiting for him to wake up? Waking up in trees and snow banks began to depress him and he began to long for a proper home, to wake up in his childhood bed with his sister bouncing on his chest demanding he play with her. Those thoughts made him laugh at first but then as the desire grew he found himself crying more and more often. He wasn't sure what to do or how to rectify the situation. He wanted his memories so bad but now he was regretting ever being given his memory box.
He turned to Tooth for answers. Surely the Guardian of Memories would be able to ease his pain but sadly she was of little help.
"Baby Tooth should have waited until I was with you before allowing you to open the box," the fairy Queen replied when he asked for her help. She gave a sigh. "I could have slowed the process and allowed you to see the memories you needed but without my guidance they just flooded you. It's memory overload. In time you'll adjust but it'll take a while. I'm sorry, Jack. I know Baby only did it to help you regain your confidence and help us but it could have seriously hurt you." Her small hand went to Jack's shoulder and a look of worry filled her pretty face. "I could…I could take them away."
Jack gave a gasp and stepped back, holding his staff and tooth box tightly to his chest. "No! I mean…no, no I'm okay. It's okay…I'll deal with it. Thanks."
At some point Tooth had gone to North about the situation. The Guardian of Wonder had already offered Jack a home and the boy had declined but as the memories grew more and more vivid and Jack found himself losing control of his powers at the worse possible times Sandy intervened. He found Jack thrashing in his sleep and instantly thought the young spirit was in the grips of a nightmare. He vowed to find Pitch and deal with the Boogeyman but when he tried to change Jack's dreams he was surprised to find the boy lost in a memory - the memory of his death. Sandy was actually shocked to learn how Jack became the being he was today. He had thought as many of the others had that Jack was born as a spirit, but then why would Tooth have the boy's baby teeth? He almost laughed at his foolishness but quickly pushed that aside to attend to his young friend. When he could not change Jack's dreams or wake him up he took the boy to North where his fellow Guardian had already set up a room for him. When Jack awoke in a bed for the first time in his life his rush of memories subsided with the lure of having an actually home with North. But that didn't last long.
A new element of his memories started; something he had not noticed before. They were little things, things he should have noticed but had let slip his mind in his delight to remember the family he had left behind in his death. He could not for the life of him remember any of his family's names. His mother and father were simply that, his mother and father and he never called them anything else because what else does one call their parents. But his sister, his beloved little sister with her big doe like eyes, quirky smile and luscious long brunette hair was absolutely nameless. His heart twisted as he fought to remember her name. She would tease and taunt him when they played, bounce on him when she wanted his attention or stomp on his foot. She would hug him and tell him how much she loved him. Her eyes would grow large as he told her stories or jump out of hiding places to give her a fright but he never ever said her name no matter how much he wanted to. He simply could not remember it. It made him cry when he awoke.
Then something else changed. In his memories the shadows were darker. Not in all the memories but those that showed fear, light the summer storms that would make his sister wake up in fright and climb into his bed, clinging to him, or the time they had gotten lost in the forest after a long game of hide-and-seek. But none were as bad as that awful day they were ripped apart forever. Of all his memories the one that made him the proudest was also the scariest.
He and his sister were skating on the frozen pond just outside their village where Burgess now stood. Jack had removed his skates when the ice began to crack on told his sister not to move. He needed to get to her but feared that the blade of his skates would do more damage than good for them both. He was scared, they both were. It was obvious that if something wasn't done quickly the ice would break and she would fall into the icy water below and Jack knew if that happened he would never be able to save her. He tried to keep her distracted from the peril they were facing, tried to make it into a game as he reached for her with his crook staff but he was no fool, he saw her fear but now he saw more than he had that day. He saw the shadows darken and move all around them. He saw her shadow change into that of a grown man's. He saw Pitch Black whisper doubts in her ear and the tears that shimmered in her pretty eyes. Then she was swung to safety and Jack inadvertently slid too close to the cracks. For a moment the darkness fled as she giggled in joy and even Jack laughed in relief to see her safe but then a crack filled his ears and it was louder than a gunshot to him. He remembered falling and fear consuming him but it was not for him it was for her. Please stay back, please don't try to help. Run! Get father!
Terror filled him and he prayed that she had run for help rather than wander to the opening to try and save him. He stared up at the whole as his chest burned and the cold zapped his strength. He did not see her pretty face but rather that inky darkness slip into the dark cold depths of the water and wrap around him. His fear grew but he was too weak now to fight as a he felt a body press against his own. He gave a cry of shock and water filled his mouth and lungs.
"She's safe," a velvety voice whispered to him. "She's safe. You can let go now."
Long fingers intertwined with Jack's and he felt the strange man hold him as darkness consumed his mind and he's spirit slipped from the world of the living.
"NO!" Jack cried, thrashing under his blankets until he could free his legs. He felt trapped, as if he were once again under water and unable to break free. His forehead almost smacked into North's as the large man caught his shoulders. Jack didn't see him at first and continued to struggle, desperate to be free.
"Jack!" North called, yelping as his fingers were covered in a thick layer of frost. The boy's temperature had dropped drastically in his fright and it effected not just the weather outside that was now a frightening blizzard but also inside Santoff Clausen which had become bitterly could despite all the hearths being lit and furnace running at full blast. Jack himself was covered in ice, looking barely human. Regardless, North drew the youth to him, hugging Jack tightly and hoping his warmth would ease him. "It's alright, Jack. I'm here. I'm here."
It took time but Jack finally came to his senses and relaxed into North's embrace. Before the elder Guardian could ask what was wrong Jack was openly sobbing, his face pressed against North's broad chest, fingers curled into the thick fabric of his shirt. North held him tightly, letting all the boy's emotions wash over him as he tried to give comfort. He, like Sandy, assumed Jack was having a nightmare and he also vowed to hunt down the Nightmare King for striking out at Jack but was surprised by Jack's words when he finally pulled away.
The youth wiped at his eyes, trying to pretend nothing happened but he the smile he tried to give North was more of a grimace. "I…I need to find Pitch," he said softly.
North nodded, as if that was to be expected. "Of course, we'll find him and remind him not to be spreading his nightmares."
Jack stared at him in confusion before shaking his head. "No…it wasn't a nightmare. I…I need his help. He was there."
Now North was confused and his brows rose as he stared at the young boy. "There? Where, Jack?"
He ran a hand through his snowy white hair and blinked blood shot eyes. "At my pond. He was there the day I died. He knows what happened to my sister. He would know her name."