Synopsis: Jack Frost has failed as a Guardian. While he hasn’t failed the job, the job failed him. He had not been able to keep up the number of believers. So, he asks the Man in the Moon for a favor. Just one favor: Take back the gift he had been granted. Now, he needs to adjust to his humanity. Will he regret his decision?
Pairing: Human!Jack x Older!Sophie
Notes: This is an expansion of a oneshot I wrote a while ago. There’s going to be several chapters, going through Jack’s life as a human. You’ll get to know his children and the friends he makes along the way. A more in-depth look in his struggle to adapt to this century’s way of life. Humanity is not as easy as it looks.
Alternate Link: Here
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Sophie Bennett was frustrated for two reasons.
The first was that she was woken up at noon to take the dog out. Sophie sat on the back porch, waiting for their lazy rescued Greyhound, Lady, to do her stuff. Her mother was a sucker for saving animals. Their previous dog, Abby, was a rescue as well. Though, Abby was much more lively than Lady. It wasn’t just adopting rescues, though. Their mother often took home strays or run aways that she found and took them to the shelter if she couldn’t find their owners.
You might also say that noon wasn’t a terrible time to be awoken at. But it was for Sophie. She had been out of school for a year. She graduated when she was seventeen and instead of going right to college, she took a year off to figure out her passion. Yeah, she liked art. The girl was an artist. She was also a night owl. Last night, she did not go to sleep until five in the morning.
Yeah, she really needed to fix her sleep schedule before she started college in the fall.
The second reason she was frustrated was because of her brother. They didn’t “fight” last night. But, he was being rather annoying and very off-putting. All because a boy kissed her in front of him.
Well, maybe he wouldn’t have been so annoying if it hadn’t been his best friend.
Or Jack Frost.
She actually should have been expecting the questions. She figured he brushed it off when they starting wondering aloud what was wrong with Jack. He was acting so strange. He was tired. Jack Frost was never tired. He was despondent and clearly dodging their questions. They sat in the living room, ignoring the movie that played and questioned what could be wrong with their friend.
When the movie ended, the two of them were quiet for a while. Sophie assumed the worst. Jamie didn’t assume anything. He never did. Especially when it came to the world they weren’t as familiar with as they would like to be.
Then, the question. “So… why’d Jack kiss you?”
God, Jamie! It wasn’t the first time Jack kissed her! And, well, if she was honest, she hoped it wouldn’t be the last time. She had known Jack since she was small. She couldn’t remember a time without him. Her brother drew Jack to them and Jack stayed for some unfathomable reason.
The first time Jack kissed Sophie was when she was seventeen. Jamie had gotten a girlfriend, his still current one, and Jack became curious about human relationships. Sophie explained to him what it meant to love. As best she could, anyway. She had never been in love before. At least, she didn’t think so. Though, she was pretty certain what it felt like. She had seen enough movies and read enough comics to get an inkling of what love should be like. Or what she wanted it to be like.
Love was unconditional. Love was strong. Love made your knees weak and your heart pound in your ears. Love is taking their flaws and their faults and embracing them, no matter what. Love is appreciating every single inch of them. And love meant just seeing the other person happy. Whether they were with you or not. As long as they were happy and well, you were too. Love was never supposed to hurt.
As she was talking, he silenced her with a cold kiss. She wasn’t against it. No, she leaned into it, taking his face in her hands and pressing herself against him until he pulled away. His face was red, a deep contrast with his pale skin and his white hair. Cold air was visible upon his lips.
His eyes were wide and he had no idea what he had done. He just felt like it was the right thing to do. Sophie wasn’t going to complain. She liked it. Her heart still pounded to this day from the memory. Since then, Jack would kiss her every now and again. They would cuddle before she went to sleep on the nights he stayed late. He was cold. She had gotten to used to sleeping in the cold, she kept a fan by her bedside for nights Jack couldn’t stay with her. She learned to like cold embraces with warm blankets.
Last night still left her with a buzz. It was a kiss to silence her again. She touched her lips, recalling how his lips actually felt sort of… not as cold? It was so strange.
And Jamie asked if they were together. She couldn’t answer that. She knew it was impossible. There would be no way. For several reasons. One being that Jack was just like a big kid. He didn’t really understand love. And another was that, well, he was Jack Frost. He wasn’t even technically real.
She didn’t know what they were. And she was certain Jack didn’t feel nearly as strongly as she did. He was ignorant, but she was okay with that. She was okay with Jack being Jack. Their kisses made him smile and her heart would warm up and she could feel blood rush in every vessel of her body.
She loved him.
Like hell she’d ever tell her brother that.
Sophie was snapped out of her frustrated thoughts by children screaming with enjoyment beyond the backyard fence. She wondered what games they were playing by the pond that had them all so riled up. She smiled at the thought that she knew it wasn’t just any pond they were playing at. It was Jack Frost’s home. His domain and liar. Where he had been born and where he had stayed.
The smile faded when she realized the screams were not ones of mirth, but of terror. She quickly got to her feet, crossing over to the loose plank in the fence their mother kept open for easy escape. The dogs couldn’t get through, but her children could. It proved simple for them to go to their favorite play spot growing up, but was not as easy to get through when they got older and bigger.
Sophie was still on the small side, but she did have to suck it in and duck to get through the gap. She flinched as her hair got caught in the wood and tugged it, ripping strands apart and off of her scalp in her rush to see what terrified the children.
She ran to the pond, a boy was screaming for someone to get a grown up. A girl was crying for 911. Another boy noticed Sophie and pointed to a figure laying in the grass. “HE’S DEAD!”
D-Dead? Oh, god! Her heart was racing. She stepped towards the body that lay in the grass, still and pale and… wearing a very familiar hoodie.
Sophie darted to the boy that laid on the ground and knelt beside him. No way. That wasn’t possible. She looked him up and down, taking him in. His skin was actually not as pale as she thought. His cheeks were a healthy tint of pink. His dark, spiked hair swept across his forehead, slightly damp from sweat. In his hand, he helt a staff with a hooked end. The sweatshirt that usually was coated in frost bore signs that it indeed existed. The ice had melted leaving water stains that were slightly paler blue then the rest of the garment. Brown pants with leather tied at the calves. No shoes.
Eyelids fluttered open, revealing a stunning color of golden brown and the head jerked up. Sophie and the children screamed and she scrambled backwards, away from him. He sat up, the back of his sweatshirt darker, still damp for some reason, and laughed.
The kids, soon realizing he wasn’t a zombie, joined his mirthful laughter. Sophie couldn’t bring herself to even giggle. She was in shock. Her jaw hung open and her green eyes were as wide as possible. What was going on? What happened to him? She floundered, trying to form words but all she could do was release a whine.
Jack laughed and put a hand on her head. “Chill out, Soph. I was just playing.”
“So you are Jack Frost.” she whispered.
“Well, yeah.” His grin was so wide it crinkled the corners of his eyes. He just looked so different. And he was happy.
Jack’s smile softened. His hand fell from her head to her hand and he squeezed it gently. His touch didn’t change. Slight callouses and a soft palm. But his hand was so hot she was taken aback. Jack was warm.
“I’ll explain.” he promised, then turned to the kids. “Did you guys really think I was dead?!”
“Well, you didn’t wake up!” A boy cried indignantly.
Jack laughed. “Maybe if you tried waking me up like a normal person instead of poking me with sticks—”
“Maybe if you didn’t sleep in the woods.” the other boy retorted.
“Jack.” The boy turned to her. He chuckled at her still stunned expression and used her shoulders to help himself stand up before pulling her to her feet.
“Okay, okay. Let’s go. Man, it’s hot.” Jack pulled off his sweatshirt and pulled his wet teeshirt away from his skin. Sophie had no idea what Jack wore beneath his blue hoodie. He had never taken it off before. The band tee was actually very surprising. The brunette used his sweatshirt to wipe his face.
“… Did you go swimming or something?” Sophie asked. Why was he so wet everywhere?
“It wasn’t my idea, but, yeah.”
Sophie turned to the neighborhood children. “Don’t go poking sleeping people with sticks anymore, you hear me?” she waved her finger at them as she walked off with Jack.
“Yeah, yeah!” they laughed and turned back to each other to discuss how strange the situation was.
Sophie gripped Jack’s hand as they trekked up to the road. She stopped Jack as he made to walk into the street just as a car passed them. He stopped and laughed and scratched his temple with their interlinking fingers. His other arm was taken by his staff and sweatshirt.
He held the plank aside for her to duck under, being careful not to tangle her hair in it again. He threw his staff over the fence and followed her. Sophie stared at him. She could not keep her eyes off of him. He lifted his staff and and tilted his head to meet her gaze.
“What? Do I look weird?”
“Yes.” Sophie said quickly. “No. You… uh…” Jack looked good. Sophie didn’t think she could admit out loud, but she honestly thought he looked… just so good. “You look different.” Not in a good way. Not in a bad way. She wished she could explain how it was different, but he was just… gorgeous.
Jack just laughed and put a hand on her back. “Come on, let’s show Jamie.”
Sophie whistled and Lady lazily sauntered up to them. The two walked the dog in through the back door. Jack stopped and looked at the ground. A small smile played on his lips as he toed the floor. Glancing up, he noticed Sophie’s confused expression.
“The linoleum is cold.” he chuckled. “It’s cold, Soph.”
She couldn’t help but smile at his wonder. He was discovering everything for the first time. He chuckled as his weight made the floor crackle in the placed it wasn’t laid down properly. He stood on his toes, as if trying to make himself lighter, then dropped heavily on his heels. Sophie fed Lady a treat and took Jack’s hand, calling for her brother.
“Dining room, Sophie!” he called to them.
Sophie led Jack to the room, continuously glancing at him. She turned to stare at him, walking backwards. She didn’t care she was staring and his crooked smile teased her. She wanted to re-memorize him. She had gotten to know his previous appearance quite well. She knew she would never forget it.
“Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”
“What kind of comeback is that? What are you, from the 90s?”
“Hey, some of the best insults came from that decade, I’ll let you know. Though, nothing like the 50s. Ya pole cat—hey, are those cats?” Sophie turned around. Jamie crouched in front of a box, holding up a kitten, his back to them.
“Yeah. Mom picked up some strays on the way home from the store.”
“I think I brought one home, too…” Sophie looked to Jack. He rocked back on his heels and snickered.
Jack turned to question her and stopped. He tilted his head to the right. Then the left. Then stood up to match Jack’s level. Jamie put a hand on Jack’s head and pushed it backwards and forwards. Jack let him without protest.
“Seriously, do I really look that weird, now?”
“Well, it is summer.”
“Sophie, what did you do to him?”
Sophie squeaked. “I didn’t do anything!”
“Yes she did. She’s a witch. She’s totally changed the way I look. The fiend.”
“I knew it.”
“Are you two for real?” Sophie sighed.
“But, no, really, Jack. What happened?”
“Might want to get comfortable.” Jack said and motioned towards the living room. “It’s a long story.”
Sophie took up three of the kittens and Jamie took two. In the living room, Jack dropped his sweatshirt into a chair and leaned his staff against the wall. His grey shirt read “Fun.” with pop art. A band Sophie had never heard of, but whatever their style, she was sure Jack appreciated their name. Jack perched himself on the chair’s armrest and looked between Jamie and Sophie as they entertained the kittens. Lady had come to investigate the new guests.
But the sibling’s attention was on Jack.
He chewed his lip, figuring out exactly how to tell them. They couldn’t freak out. Well, either way, they were going to freak out.
“Just… um… hold all questions until the end, okay?” They nodded. “Good.”
So, he began.
“It’s great being a Guardian. It really is.” Jack nodded and smiled. “It’s honestly the greatest honor and the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
“There’s a catch, though.” Jack frowned. His memory rang with a voice of the past. “If enough kids stop believing… everything we protect disappears. And little by little, so do we.”
Jamie and Sophie gasped. Their eyes wide, shared looks of horror were exchanged as their attention became all but neglectful of the animals on their laps.
“I don’t have a globe like North or Sandy or Tooth or Bunny or Pitch. I don’t really need one. None of us do. We all know exactly how many believers we have.” Jack tapped his temple. “In here. It’s kind of inherent knowledge. I think I had about six-seven believers?” He guessed. He wasn’t sure anymore. The radar had since vanished.
“The Guardians tried to help. You guys tried to help. You all have done everything you guys could. Jack Frost is just… a passing phase. And I wouldn’t mind it, you know. I didn’t have any believers for three hundred years. I didn’t need them to have power. When I became a Guardian, my power shifted. And, without them, I was disappearing. And… I didn’t want to live like that.
“Everyone knows my name.” Jack continued quietly. “My name is in a Christmas song. I’m ‘just an expression.’ To most, there’s no personification. Jack Frost is used to describe the nipping at your nose and the frost on the windows.” Jack shrugged. “So… I gave it up.”
When he finished he gave them his usual crooked grin. The brother and sister gaped at him. The kittens mewed at Lady who licked at their faces. The room was strangely still.
“I know you talked about it a while ago, but I didn’t think you’d actually…” Jamie trailed off.
“Yep.” Jack nodded.
“What about the Guardians?” Sophie asked.
“I’ve… I’ve already said goodbye.” Jack picked at a loose thread on the chair’s arm and shifted uncomfortably. The memory was horribly painful. “They understood.”
“… Were we part of your decision?” How did Jack know Sophie was going to ask that?
“Well,” he refused to meet their gazes. He looked sown at his swinging foot and reluctantly replied. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t part of the reason.” He looked up at them. “I don’t like the idea of life without you two. I’m… I was scared you’d grow up and leave me behind. Or… if you didn’t… I just… I’m scared to think of the heartbreak, you know?” He took a deep breath. “I didn’t want to watch you die without knowing I would be close behind.”
The two looked to each other. They both set the kittens aside and walked up to a very confused Jack. Taking his hands, he adjusted himself on the arm of the chair so he wouldn’t lose his balance. Ugh, this weight. But he never minded it. Jamie and Sophie gripped his hands tightly, thinking their hands were much less hot then he recalled.
“You’re family, Jack.” Jamie stated matter-of-fact. “No matter what. Human, Guardian, Jack Frost, or just Jack. You’re my brother and best friend.”
“We care about you Jack. And we support your choice.” Sophie smiled. “We’re going to be there for you every step of the way.”
Jack smiled gratefully at them. He suddenly felt too hot and then arms were around him. He blinked, a bit shocked. Jamie and Sophie embraced him tightly. He raised himself from his seat to get better leverage to return it.
This was it.
He was home.