Jack Frost did not like the heat, and he did not like being stuck on the ground.

These mere inconveniences paled in comparison to the other torments he was currently experiencing.

Like the pain.

And the sight of his own blood, pooling around him.

And the weariness so complete he couldn't even move his eyelids to close over aching blue irises.

But worst of all, the despair he had been keeping at bay over the last several weeks- and centuries before that. Now it all seemed worse, however. Because somehow he had crawled to a place of hope in recent weeks. And defeat tastes most bitter if it follows happiness.

As the dying winter spirit watched the brilliantly red liquid mix with the brilliantly red sand of the Australian desert, he allowed himself to think something he had forbidden himself to feel, buried under guilt and self-loathing.

This is so unfair.

As his eyes dulled and finally closed, the last conscious thought filling his mind was that even if the hope of a second chance had been a cruel joke… he didn't regret trying. The weeks after he had taken his Guardian oath had been the best he could ever remember.

And it was those memories he chose to cling to now, even as he lost it all.



Dun, dun, DUUUUUUN! And now, we're going to hop back in time...

BTW, I've already written over 22,000 words for this story, and I just needed to post the Prologue to convince myself I'm actually going to put the darn thing up.