I'm BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK! Did'ja miss me?
*side-steps volley of sharp objects*
Yeah, yeah, I know. I apologize for taking forever. For those of you who just now joining us, this is actually a reboot of a story of mine by the same name. You can find it on my profile if you're interested.
For those that have been following this story, you'll be pleased to find that there several changes and improvements done to each chapter. Some scenes have even been entirely re-written!
Also, I would like to point out that I started writing this before I knew of the books or that Mother Nature was Pitch's daughter. So the Mother Nature here (who belongs to MagentaCarther) has no relation to Pitch. Consider this story to be AU.
Anywho, there'll be more on that in the ending Author's Notes! On with the disclaimer!
Disclaimer: I do not own Rise of the Guardians or the books it's based off.
It was New Year's Eve in the town of Galion. It was a small, close-knit community where everyone was friendly with one another. With the nearest town, Burgess, being almost an hour away and being entirely surrounded by forest, it was a secluded place as well.
Quinn Wu and his Chinese-American family were currently enjoying the holiday in their modest two-story home, located just on the edge of the forest. Quinn looked like most seventeen year old Chinese boys: average height, short black hair, pale skin. The one thing that set him apart from others were his eyes. While most of his family had brown or amber colored eyes, Quinn's were a dazzling bright blue; a very uncommon color for one of Chinese decent.
His azure eyes were currently sparkling with child-like excitement and anticipation as he waited for midnight. Of all the holidays his family celebrated, he always loved New Year's the most. Not even the wonder of Christmas or the festival atmosphere of the 4th of July could compare to the unbridled joy he felt at the end and beginning of each year. He never could explain why, but he always felt lighter than air during the holiday.
He glanced at the clock and grinned at the time displayed. It was time for his favorite part of his favorite holiday.
"It's 9:30!" He stated excitedly, gaining the attention of his family. "It's time for New Year's resolutions!"
"How about you go first this year David." Said Quinn's father, Kai, to the brown haired man sitting next his older sister.
"Yeah!" Mai agreed as she squeezed her fiancé's hand encouragingly.
"Alright. My New Year's resolution is to get to know each one of you a little better before the wedding."
"I guess the same goes for me and your family." Mai said. The loving couple shared a kiss to some polite applause.
"Who's next?" Kai asked.
"I'll go." Said Zane, Quinn's older brother and spitting image of their father. "My resolution is to quit smoking." There were gasps of surprise and the applause was much more enthusiastic.
"I suppose I'm next." Quinn's mother, Jane, volunteered. "This year, I plan to keep a better track of the time." They all chuckled as they remembered all the times they were late to one event or another due to her slight absent-mindedness.
"Me next! Me next!" Exclaimed Quinn's five year old sister, Lorelei, who, despite how late it was, was still very energetic. "I'm gonna get over being scared of tall places!" Their grandmother, Leann, leaned down and picked up the young girl in an affectionate hug.
"That's a wonderful goal Rosebud." The elderly woman praised.
"What's your resolution Nana Willow?" Lorelei questioned.
"I plan on working on our family's genealogy." She stated simply.
"It means she's going to look up things about our family's past." Kai explained. Leann glanced at her only son and smiled.
"So what is your goal?" She asked.
"My resolution is to spend more time with my family. With my promotion, I have more vacation time." The family gasped at this announcement. It was the first they've heard of this advancement and they cheered enthusiastically.
"Alright, alright." Kai said to quiet everyone down. "We still have one last resolution to hear." They all turned to Quinn who grinned.
"My resolution," he paused for dramatic effect. "Is to help you all with your resolutions!"
"Again?" Zane sighed in exasperation. "You've been making that goal for the past four years!"
"So?" Quinn defended. "I like helping you all!
"Of course you do." Leann soothed. "And that's what makes you so likable. How about for this year, you add another resolution. One for yourself." Quinn thought for a moment.
"How about… I try to stop biting my nails?" He offered.
"Perfect!" His grandmother exclaimed. "Now that that is settled, who wants to face me at Mahjong?"
As the adults set up the game, Quinn noticed Zane leave the room and head outside. The teen pursued him.
"Where are you going?" He confronted his older brother.
"I'm going to have a quick smoke." Zane replied, pulling out a pack of cigarettes.
"What about your New Year's resolution?"
"The new year isn't here yet." The twenty-four year old rationalized as he pulled out his lighter as well.
"It's never too early to start working on it." Quinn argued. Zane sighed in exasperation and glared at his younger brother.
"You're not going to let me smoke in peace, are you?"
"Nope." Quinn said with a smirk.
"Fine, you win for now. But you know it's impossible for someone to quit cold-turkey." The brothers retuned to the living room, where the tile-based game was in full swing. Zane began to watch as Quinn made his way to the kitchen to get himself a plate of chips as well as a soda. He was surprised to find Lorelei sitting at the table by herself with a troubled look on her face.
"Hey Rosebud." He said cheerfully as he sat next to her. "What's up?"
"Quinn, is Santa real?" The five year old asked up front. Quinn raised his eyebrows in surprise.
"Why do you ask?"
"Because Cousin Matt told me he wasn't." Lorelei answered with watery eyes. The teenager scowled.
Their cousin had been at their house about a week ago for Christmas. Quinn loved his entire family and would do anything for them, but Cousin Matt irked him to no end. He was a total jerk, always saying mean or discouraging things to his younger relatives whenever he had the chance. Quinn made mental note of bringing this up to his Aunt and Uncle as soon as possible.
"Matt doesn't know what he's talking about."
"So Santa's real?"
"Of course he is!" Quinn confirmed with a smile.
"And the Easter Bunny is real too?" Hope shined in the young girl's amber eyes. "And the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman?"
"Yep! And so is Mother Nature and Father Time and even Jack Frost!" Quinn added on a whim. Lorelei frowned in confusion.
"Who's Jack Frost?"
"Who's Jack Frost?!" Quinn exclaimed in mock surprise. "He's the reason we have winter!" He glanced out the window. "In fact, he's making it snow right now." His younger sister gasped and turned to see that it was indeed snowing. Squealing in delight, the five year old ran into the living room.
"It's snowing!" She shouted as she jumped up and down in excitement. "Jack Frost is making it snow!"
Quinn chuckled at her enthusiasm and turned to watch the snow fall. His eyes widened in surprise at what he saw. A boy, no older than himself, with pure white hair and bright blue eyes was peering through the window at his sister. A smile was plastered onto his face as he watched her dance around the room. The boy looked up and froze when he met Quinn's gaze, his own eyes widening.
"What're you looking at Quinn?" Quinn glanced over to Lorelei for a second and then back to the window. The boy had vanished! The window was instead covered in an intricate pattern of frost…
"Quinn?" His younger sister seemed concerned at his prolonged silence. "What's wrong?"
A slow smile spread across his face. "Nothing's wrong." Quinn said with absolute certainty in his voice. "Jack Frost was just waving through the window." His smile grew wider when she went into an even bigger fit of excitement. He gazed out of the frost-covered window at the falling snow with an absolute knowledge of who he'd just seen.
Jack Frost landed at the front door of North's workshop where the annual Legend New Year's party was being held. He was still smiling like a kid in a candy store at what had happened. A teenager believed in him! A teenager! It was great the more kids were starting to believe in him, but he would've never thought a teenager would. The snow spirit had heard stories from the other Guardians of the few rare children who grew up into their teens and still believed in them. He couldn't wait to tell them.
Jack knocked in the door and waited for it to open. After he had caused a huge snow storm across most of North America so the children could have something fun to do for the first day of the year, Jack had gone to Jamie's house to change for the party. Instead of his hoodie, Jack now wore a military style tunic that was light blue with a silver border around the edges and a simple black belt with a matching silver buckle. Underneath it he had a skin-tight, black synthetic shirt that rode high on his neck. His old brown cloak that shimmered in the light completed the ensemble, clasped at the base of his neck by a silver snowflake.
North had made the formal attire for the young Guardian and had insisted that he wore it to all special occasions. While Jack, being the protector of Fun, hated dressing up for anything, he had to admit that the clothes made him look good.
A large yeti opened the door and spoke in excited gibberish to the winter spirit.
"Hey there Phil." Jack greeted with a smile. "I'm not late am I?" The yeti just spouted off more happy nonsense and ushered him inside. Spirits of all shapes and sizes mingled throughout the workshop. Jack recognized the majority of them, but there were still a few he couldn't name. He scanned the crowd, searching for five faces in particular.
"Jack!" He turned to where the shout had come from to see a hyperactive blur of green and blue feathers waving to him.
"Tooth!" He called back, making his way over to the fairy.
"Where have you been?" She asked once they were close enough to hear each other without shouting.
"Oh you know, just flying about doing the usual." Jack replied. "The kids need something to do on New Year's Day. But something exciting happened that I wanted to tell you. Where are the others?"
"I think North and Sandy are talking with Father Time." Toothiana said while looking around. "Oh look! There's Bunny and Rose!"
Jack turned to see the Easter Bunny and Mother Nature sitting on a bench together and talking. The spirit of the Earth was beautiful girl that looked no older than Jack. She was about his height and normally wore a short, flowing green dress decorated with leaves. Tonight however, she wore a full-length white ball gown with green vines embroidered into the border of the sleeves and skirt. Her waist long brown curly hair had been straightened and pulled up into a bun and was decorated with flowers. Her skin was pale with a slight green tint, not needing any makeup or jewelry to add to her graceful appearance. Like always, she wasn't wearing any shoes.
The Guardian of Fun remembered when he had first met Rose. It had been four months after they had defeated Pitch. He had been depressed due to the memories his teeth held. While they showed him images of happy times he spent with his sister, they did not tell him what her name was. That was when Tooth brought him to Rose's garden. There he learned that the nature spirit's center was Family and considered herself a Guardian even though she hadn't been officially chosen by Manny. He also learned that she was Bunnymund's ex-girlfriend and that the blizzard he had caused in '68 is what caused them to break up.
Using her connection with the Earth, Rose had led him to where his sister was buried. He had finally learned his sister's name. It was an extremely emotional moment for him. Of course, that was exactly when Pitch decided to resurface. He attacked them with a frightening new power. He was able to control the fear inside of Rose like a puppet master would control a marionette, forcing her to attack them. They had been able to pull through the battle remotely unscathed, but it put them all onto high alert.
A few days later, the Boogeyman struck again. There had been a close call with Rose nearly losing her life. She was saved however with a magic rose she had given Jamie earlier that evening. She had then dealt with Pitch herself, uprooting his entire palace and beating him to a pulp, forcing him to retreat back into the shadows.
Throughout this adventure, Rose and Bunny had made peace with one another and became close friends once more. In fact, Jack and Tooth had become closer during these events as well. They had played around with the idea of going out, but eventually they all decided that it was best if they stayed friends and left it at that. This all had been about four months ago.
"Tooth!" Rose had called out when she noticed the pair, pulling Jack out of reminiscing. They made their way over to the bench they were sitting at.
"Hey there Frostbite." Bunny said to the young Guardian.
"Hey there Kangaroo." Jack responded with a grin. Bunny rolled his eyes but smirked anyways. They had long since gotten over their bitterness towards one another and always greeted each other in such a manner. Sure, the Guardian of Hope still got angry at the pranks Jack pulled on him and always retaliated by tackling him to the ground, but it was more like a sibling rivalry than anything else.
"How's the party?" Jack asked.
"It's kind of boring to be honest." Rose said with a sigh. "No offense to you Bunny, but just sitting here talking about the differences between our plant magic gets kind of dull after an hour."
"A boring party? We can't have that." Jack said with a mischievous grin. "As the Guardian of Fun I must fix this."
"And how do you plan on doing that?" Bunny inquired with a suspicious glance at the spirit.
"Hmm… Well, I could always go get Isaac and-"
"NO!" The three other Guardians as well as the majority of the nearby spirits said immediately, cutting him off.
"Do not give the April Fool any excuse to cause havoc Jack." Rose said seriously. "He'll just destroy the party, and probably half of the workshop as well."
"Ok! Ok! I get it!" Jack thought for a moment before snapping his fingers. "I've got it!" He whispered something into a nearby yeti's ear. It nodded and walked off. "Follow me." The winter spirit said. He led Tooth, Bunny, Rose, and the other spirits who had overheard the entire conversation to a side room within the workshop that had a large round table. As they all began to sit around it, the yeti Jack had spoken to returned with an empty cider bottle. The winter spirit accepted it with a thanks and placed it sideways in the middle of table. "Anyone heard of Truth or Dare?" He asked with a smirk.
The rules were simple. One would spin the bottle and whoever the spout pointed at when it stopped would be given the choices truth or dare. Once they answered the question or completed the dare, it would be their turn to spin the bottle and the cycle would start over. Hilarity ensued once the game got under way. First it was revealed that April Showers had a crush on Jack 'O Lantern. Then Eros had to shoot Father Time with one of his love arrows. Luckily, Sandy was able to prevent it from hitting its mark. This caused the majority of the guests to come and investigate and soon the entire party centered on the round table with spirits jumping in and out of the game at their own leisure.
It was great fun to all as they watched secrets getting spilled and embarrassing tasks being performed. The game eventually winded down as they all made their way to the main hall. There, Father Time would be giving his annual speech on the important events of the past year as well as hints and warnings of the year to come. The Legends all quieted down as the time keeping spirit stepped up to a small podium that had been set up for him.
"Before I get started, I would like to thank North for hosting this year's get-together." There was hearty applause as the jolly Russian nodded his head in acknowledgement. "Now, many things happened this past year, many great and world-changing things. The first event this year came about around Easter. Pitch Black, the Boogeyman, had attempted to destroy the children's belief in the Guardians and bring about a second Dark Ages. He had nearly succeeded too if it wasn't for MiM's newest hero. Yes, it was all thanks to the newest Guardian, Jack Frost!" There was thunderous applause as Jack rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.
"Then, almost exactly four months later," Father Time continued when the noise had died down. "Pitch had reappeared and attacked the Guardians directly. He was defeated once again, but this time with the help of Mother Nature, or as we know her, Rose!" Once again, the room erupted into cheering as Rose curtsied.
"Now, before I tell of what I've seen of the future, I believe MiM had something he wanted to announce." At his words, the room fell silent as moonlight filled the air. It focused on the Guardians' mural, causing it to open up. A glowing blue crystal rose from the ground, causing the majority of those gathered to gasp. The light seeped into the prism, causing an image to appear above it. There was silence for a few moments before North's hearty laugh rang through the air.
"Well it seems Manny is ready to make it official!" He boomed. A yeti handed him a large tome that he opened as one of the spirits from the crowd approached him. "Now," he began as she stood before him. "Will you, Rose, vow to watch over the children of the world? To guard them with your life, their hopes, their wishes, and their dreams. For they are all that we have, all that we are, and all that we will ever be."
"I will." Rose vowed, as tears of joy filled her eyes.
"Then, congratulations, Rose. For you are now, and forever more, a Guardian." The room exploded once more into applause as the nature spirit let the liquid happiness flow down her cheeks. Bunny and Sandy lifted their glasses of eggnog towards their newest member in acknowledgement while Tooth and Jack fly-tackled her into a hug.
"Congratulations Rose," Father Time said as everything settled. "You have truly earned this honor more than anyone else." The old man's face suddenly became stony. "Now I will now tell you what I have glimpsed of things yet to come." The seriousness of his tone caused them all to pay even closer attention to him. "As you all know, the future is never set in stone and has many paths that it can take. However, in the year to come, many of those paths become enshrouded with veils of darkness that are more sinister than anything Pitch Black could ever come up with." The spirits were all quiet as they let that foreboding thought sink in. "I advise you all to be cautious and be wary of anything you find suspicious."
"Now, usually, MiM would not permit me to tell you this, but with the coming dangers, he has allowed me to share it with you." He took a deep breath. "I do not know if this and the darkness are connected, but MiM will be choosing a new Legend very soon." There was loud muttering at this. "All I know is that MiM has tasked the Guardians as well as any other spirit them deem necessary to help them adapt to their new life."
"That is all I have to tell you. Please enjoy the rest of the evening and please, be careful in the future."
With a spattering of respectful applause, the guests returned to the party, waiting for midnight. With such a somber thought left in their minds, they all wondered what the New Year would hold. The Guardians were especially thoughtful, each wondering what this new spirit they were tasked with protecting would be like.
Jack sighed as he gazed at the other guests. The fun and happy atmosphere he had brought was gone. He debated whether he should try livening things up again, but decided it might be considered disrespectful. So instead he made small talk with the others in an attempt to ease his mind as they waited for the New Year.
In a cave hidden deep in the earth, the Man in the Moon was speaking with an old and powerful spirit.
"It does not matter." The spirit rumbled. "They must go through the trial."
The light from the moon flashed in erratic patterns in response.
"I don't care that that they will serve you instead of me." The spirit growled "They will go through the trial and my judgment is final."
The flashing was more placating this time.
"Very well. I shall wait for one month before I summon them. Can you not tell me who you have chosen?"
The light flashed in amusement before fading, causing the spirit to sigh.
"Old windbag. I don't see why he finds amusement in our dealings." With that, the spirit went back to its duties.
Well, what did you think? A lot better now, isn't it?
Now, I have the first three chapters completed, but I'll be posting only the first one tomorrow. I want to have at least two chapters kept in reserve to help inspire me to write. So, when I finish writing chapter four, I'll post chapter two. When I finish chapter five, I'll post chapter three. And so on and so forth until I finish the story. Maybe it'll inspire you guys to keep pestering me to write. ; D
Also I would like to announce that my irl sister, maplewind, has decided to be my beta for this story. I apologize to anyone who I promised they could be my beta, but it's easier as we live in the same house so she can read the chapter as soon as I finish it. Also, she submitted some OC's for this fic that you'll see next chapter. She even wants to write a side fic to this fic centering on those characters! Be sure to send her tons of PM's to remind her about it. ; D
I do believe that's it for now. Whether you're a new reader or have been following this for a while now, don't forget to leave a review telling me what you think or if you have a question!