The War Begins
He thought about how long it had taken Jamie to first see him. He had spent months upon months of fruitless efforts, though the boy firmly believed in all of the other spirits, but not in Jack Frost. Then again, nobody believed in Jack Frost. He was just another expression, for when there was a cold nip in the air. Other than that, his blizzards and snow days were just freak weather, or the winter. But that expression had led Jamie to believe.
After that snow day, when his mother had mention Jack’s name, the boy had questioned her further. “He’s the one responsible when there’s frost on your window in the morning, or when you feel a chill.” That had been the key. The boy already believed in the others: Tooth Fairy, Sandman, Easter Bunny, Santa, Groundhog’s Day, and so on, so why not Jack Frost? Jack clearly remembered the day he had thrown a snowball, and when it hit the back of Jamie’s head, the boy had turned. Instead of immediately blaming the neighbor’s kids, who were behind Jack, he had pointed at the winter spirit, his mouth wide open with shock. Jack had looked at the boy, looked at himself, and looked at the neighbors, who were too busy building snowmen to pay attention to Jamie. Then he pointed at himself, shocked. The boy could see him? “Jack Frost…” Jamie had sounded surprised.
The first kid in over 300 years to finally say his name, to finally see him, to finally believe. That day had been the best day of Jack Frost’s long life, and the start of many days of fun. Jack didn’t care if the other kids didn’t believe; Jamie was enough for him. As long as one person could see him, believed in him, wanted to have fun with him, he was all right. Jamie had become his family, his only family.
Jack Frost twirled his staff aimlessly, his back settled in the dip of a glacier. Here he was, in the South Pole, away from any child, away from anyone really. He had ruined many of the holidays with his freezing blizzards, indeed, Easter had just passed and the Easter Bunny was after his head. But Jack didn’t care. Here he was hidden, in the howling winds and freezing cold of the South Pole, but he didn’t feel either. The wind was his ally, and he never felt the cold, because he was winter embodied in a single form. All across the world, children and families played in the snow or were stuck inside, and yet not one believed in him. That was all fine and dandy, because Jack didn’t need the belief of children to live, but it was an empty pang he couldn’t stand. Jamie was gone now, with his dreams, his desire of meeting all the other spirits, and everything that had been.
From here, the moon was not visible, and Jack preferred it that way. The Man in Moon had not told him what his purpose was, since the beginning when he had become Jack Frost, standing on a frozen pond in the middle of the night. There was nothing before that. Jack remembered nothing but being Jack Frost, and he didn’t know his purpose. The Man in Moon had not decided to tell him his purpose on Earth. Unlike the Big Four, Jack had no holiday or major even associated with him. He didn’t give presents, hide eggs, trade teeth for quarters, or make good dreams for children. All he could do was cause snow to fall and freeze anything at a touch. How could he make children believe?
But making children believe would remind him of Jamie, and that memory was too raw. Here in the South Pole he was far away from all that memory of hurt and pain he felt whenever he saw a child’s face. There were no children here. And that was fine for Jack Frost.
However, in the North Pole, things were much busier. The spirit named North, the man who gave presents on Christmas, was worried. Earlier that day, the globe’s lights had faded, buried under a swirling tide of a strange black sand, and he had seen a shadow, a shadow that resembled such a familiar figure that had not been seen since the Dark Ages. And so, North had activated the signal that would bring all the Guardians together.
The Tooth Fairy had come first, flittering about and going on about teeth subconsciously, accompanied by five of her tiny Tooth Fairies. The Easter Bunny had come next, grumbling and muttering about how cold the North Pole was as he fiddled around with one of his many paintbrushes. The rabbit was always jumpy, especially after such a trying Easter. And finally, the Sandman arrived, coming in on a small cloud of sparkling golden sand.
“Ah, is good! Everyone is here!” boomed North, his great blue eyes sparkling. “Oi hope you’ve called us here for a good reason, North. I’ve had a trying Easter, with a certain winter spirit casting blizzards everywhere and burying half of my eggs.” Bunnymund started, his nose twitching in annoyance at the recollection of the memory.
“If it was not important, I would not have called you here. The Boogeyman was seen here, in the North Pole!” North said, spreading his arms wide. The other three had mixed reactions.
“Pitch Black? What was he doing here?” Tooth said, zipping slightly above the group as she also recounted all of the teeth just lost.
“Pitch hasn’t been seen since the Dark Ages. Are you sure you saw the blighter?” Bunnymund said, fiddling with one of his boomerangs. Sandy, of course, was behind North, furiously trying to get the other three’s attention while the moon shone down on them. But his efforts were of no use.
“I’m telling you, he was here! This… black sand covered the globe, and I saw a shadow. This is bad, I can feel it in my gut!” North said, pointing at the giant globe in his workshop with all of the sparkling lights of the children who believed in the Guardians.
“So you didn’t actually see Pitch, did ya?” Bunnymund said, his tone sounding doubtful, “Sounds to me that you might just be chasin’ shadows here.”
The harsh ringing of a bell ended their conversation. All three of the Guardians turned to see the Sandman ringing the bell on the hat of an elf. The Sandman then pointed to the open portal where the Man in Moon had cast an extraordinarily bright beam of moonlight. The Guardians backed away as the beam lit up a small symbol on the ground. It was the ornate ‘G’, of the Guardians, with the pictures of the Big Four around it.
Upon the small square, a shadow appeared, the silhouette of Pitch, the Boogeyman, started to move across it. Bunnymund and North exchanged glances, but said nothing. However, North pointed to his belly and grinned before something else happened. All the Guardians stared as the ‘G’ started to glow, and then the entire picture lit up, vanishing into white light.
“You know what this means,” North breathed, his great blue eyes wide with shock.
“A new Guardian is being chosen,” Tooth gasped, as a pillar rose slowly out of the ground, a shining, single giant crystal perched upon it, “I wonder who it could be. It could be the Leprechaun or the Groundhog…”
“Oi hope it’s not the Groundhog,” Bunnymund gulped, as the whole crystal lit up. A figure started to appear, slowly but sure. And finally, a familiar figure appeared, wearing a hoodie and clutching a large staff. Jack Frost.
“On second thought, oi’ll take the Groundhog. Anyone else, really, besides Jack Frost!” Bunnymund groaned, dropping his paintbrush to the ground in disbelief.
“Maybe he is not so bad,” North mused aloud, stroking his giant white beard.
“Not so bad?! The blighter nearly ruined Easter, and he’s been going around messing up all the other holidays with his bleedin’ blizzards and storms. Barely anyone could go outside for a week last Christmas, and New Years was a sad affair. Used to be the kid would just stir up trouble in some places, but now its like he’s tryin’ to ruin everyone’s mood!” Bunnymund snapped, his eyes alight with anger. “Half me eggs were never found, mate. Half! I worked on them for months, painting ‘em and prepping them for their big day. And of course Jack Frost has to cause blizzards and winter storms everywhere! This was even worse than the blizzard of ’68! How can that kid become a Guardian? How is he supposed to help us with the threat of Pitch?”
“Because Man in Moon say so,” North said, his tone solemn, and Bunnymund sighed.
“But how are we supposed to find him?” piped up Tooth, fluttering over all of them, her expression worried, “And how are we supposed to convince him to come with us?”
North’s expression turned from grim to delight in the space of a second.
“Let me handle it. I have good idea.”