Despite the battle that you know must be going on for Jamie—for the children of the world, for hope, joy, and light—you somehow manage to fall into a restless sleep.
Maybe it had something to do with that moonbeam that wiggled its way through the canopy of dark clouds and flooded directly into your bedroom.
The moment sleep takes you, you’re transported into the realm of dreams.
You’re standing in an entirely white space. So pure, so devoid of anything corrupt. It goes on endlessly, stretching onward for all eternity.
Not knowing what else to do, you walk forward, your footsteps echoing even though you’re barefoot.
Just when you begin to think that you’re absolutely alone, you feel a presence behind you.
You cautiously turn around, bracing yourself for anything.
Well, just about anything.
Because what you’re now facing completely throws you off.
Or rather, who.
He stands no taller than four feet high. He’s dressed like a gentleman, with trousers that are a subdued gold color, black steel-toed shoes with white tips and heels, a long-sleeve white dress shirt whose sleeves poke out slightly from underneath a long dress coat that reaches down to his feet (and is the same color as his pants), and a shiny golden vest on top of the shirt but beneath the coat, a line of golden buttons on both sides. A matching pocket watch-looking item is stuck front-and-center on it, the dark cord connected to it reaching down his plump stomach and disappearing into his pants pocket. Tied around his neck is a big, bright red bowtie. A single, shockingly long blond hair sticks straight up from his bald head, ending in a curlicue that makes it look like he’s stuck a miniature shepherd’s staff on his skull.
His round face—complete with a button nose—is turned up towards you, his beady black eyes concentrated on you. He’s holding his hands behind his back, his lips curled into a soft smile.
He looks as though he’s seen you before. As if he knows you.
But you don’t recognize him in the least.
What seems worse is that, despite how badly you want to look away, you can’t bring yourself to do so. There’s something in his look, in his eyes. There’s something odd about him. As if his middle-aged appearance belies how old he truly is.
His eyes…so wise. So all-knowing. Beyond anything you have ever seen, a knowledge compiled over centuries and centuries, its roots in ancient times long forgotten.
MiM? you think, not wanting to say anything just in case you’re wrong. Plus, you feel like you wouldn’t be able to speak even if you wanted to.
His smile grows wider, his eyes twinkling like stars.
You return his smile with a confused one of your own.
You must be wondering why you’re here, you hear his familiar, soft, omniscient voice play in your head.
I wanted to speak with you.
Before you can say—or rather, think—anything, his voice comes again.
I couldn’t very well transport you to the moon. Besides, dreams are sometimes more powerful things.
You kind of wish he would have taken you to the moon. What an adventure that would have been. But you’re not going to question the Man in the Moon’s decisions.
I have seen your actions, your selflessness, your sacrifices for the sake of the children of Earth, he says.
Ah, it’s no big deal, you respond, feeling yourself blush a little out of embarrassment.
He shakes his head. I cannot thank you enough. For that, for all that you have done. And so, I would like to reward you.
You furrow your eyebrows. A reward really isn’t necessary. But if he insists…
What reward could he be thinking about giving you?
He beckons for you to come closer to him. You kneel down on the ground, much like a hero about to be knighted, your eyes now level with his.
He then reaches inside his coat and withdraws something from the inner pocket.
Laying across both of his hands is a long stick, thicker at one end and finishing in a sharp point, that appears to be a diamond. It shines slightly, as if a single moonbeam is living within its crystal housing.
It’s out of this world, absolutely beautiful.
He holds the diamond above your head, which you instinctively bow.
This I do vow, he begins, the diamond shining even brighter, that no harm shall come to Jack Frost, the fifth Guardian of Childhood, the Guardian of Fun, in that his powers and abilities will be in no way affected by maladies brought on by love not only due to his own heroic actions, but also because those of the selfless, valiant deeds of this One before me, who is a Guardian in their own. The love between these two will flourish and last for all time, this One kept alive in memory even after passing. This, I, the Man in the Moon, known also by MiM and many other titles, who oversees the children of the Earth so that they may know light, who ventured forth from a distant land to come here by fortune’s hand, in the name of the Guardian before Guardians, do henceforth promise.
You feel a warm, tingling sensation sprout from the top of your head and spread through your entire body, the diamond sword shining brighter than ever before with a light equivalent to that of a million brilliant moonbeams.
You lift your head, smiling wide. MiM is holding the diamond directly before him once again. Its bright light hasn’t faded in the least. Oddly enough, though, it doesn’t hurt your eyes even remotely.
Thank you, you telepathically think to the small man, who gives you a small nod and kind smile in return.
The light grows even brighter. It soon envelopes everything in a dazzling white light, fading out all scenery, including the Man in the Moon, who was lifting one hand up at you in a silent farewell.
You awaken and sit up in your bed.
Your cheeks are damp.
But you’re still smiling.
You use your sleeve to wipe away the happy tears, laughing a little in spite of yourself.
You look outside your window, wanting to get a glimpse of the moon.
Ah, there it is. Still visible in the clear morning sky, warmly smiling down upon you.
Wait…the sky is clear. Fresh. You can practically hear the sigh of relief that the universe has breathed, see the joy and hope flooding back into the world.
Your heart racing wildly, you bolt out of your bed, practically flying through the house.
No more clouds, you think as you maneuver through room after room. Does that mean that…?
You fling open the back door.
You’re met by the sounds of children laughing, birds chirping, and air devoid of darkness. It’s a perfect, happy, sunny day caught in the middle of Winter and Spring. Your eyes trail from the sky to the end of your street, slowly surveying everything, double-checking that everything is safe and sound.
As your gaze comes up the street, you see North’s sleigh just down the hill from your house. The four Guardians—North, Tooth, Bunny, and Sandy—are all beaming up at you.
You feel yourself exhale quickly, your smile refreshed. They won…they defeated Pitch!
Hold on. One, two, three, four…Where’s the fifth?
Sandy waves, then points up at your hill, wanting you to look at something.
You follow his stubby finger’s line of direction.
And that’s when you see him.
There, standing in the middle of your yard, his staff in one hand, the other in the pocket of his hoodie. The sun makes his hair glint like freshly fallen snow, the frost on his blue hoodie glittering ever so slightly. He, too, is smiling—that wonderfully mischievous smile that he so often wears.
That you hold so close to your heart.
You can’t seem to run down to meet him fast enough.
You nearly trip over and fall when you reach him, and he holds out his staff-less hand in an automatic reaction to catch you. Luckily, you keep your footing.
“The-The Man in the Moon,” you begin, barely able to form a sentence in all your excitement. “He-ah-He told—No, no, he—In a dream, he—”
Jack pulls you into a hug, dropping his staff so he can hold you completely and without interference. He looks right into your eyes, his wintery blue ones focused on yours.
“I know,” he says, his voice soft. “He told me.”
“He…He spoke to you?” you respond, a little surprised. And yet, happy.
He nods. “Guess that’ll happen a bit more now that things are figured out and I’m kinda officially a Guardian now.”
“Oh, Jack,” you say, melting in his arms. “That’s fantastic!”
A small chuckle.
“It really is. And the best part…I get to be with you. That is, if you’ll have me.”
You successfully blink back a few joyous tears.
Your heart flutters. “Forever.”
He leans in, his lips just centimeters from your own.
“(Your full name), I love you.”
You reach up to meet him, your eyes barely open, as are his.
“I love you too, Jack Frost.”
And the two of you kiss.
Eighty Years Later
You’re lying in your bed, facing the nearby window.
You specifically asked for a bed by the window.
Just so you can watch the snow fall.
Your son just left. He had come with his son, and then with them his daughter, your great-granddaughter. All of them with white hair often mistaken for being an extremely light blond, all of them with stunning blue eyes.
Your breathing is heavy. It stings just a little each time.
Your wrinkled hand pulls down the thin hospital covers. They make you far too warm for your liking.
It’s time to go soon.
You risk closing your eyes for just a brief moment. Just a little rest. You’ve so little energy. It’s all you need. Just a bit longer.
The small cold resting on your chest—as it has been for all of these years—grows a little colder.
Your eternal snowflake necklace.
You open your eyes.
“Hello, Jack,” you greet your new visitor, your voice small and shaky.
“Hey there, snowflake,” he says. He still looks exactly the same as the day you first met him so long ago, the years reflected only in his vibrant blue eyes, the same wintery color that he passed onto his children, and thus down the lineage. And even then, one really has to look to see these years. They’re masked behind perpetual youth and mischievousness, always telling of a readiness to have a little fun.
He takes a seat on a nearby chair after placing his staff on the wall by the window. Well, not really sitting. Crouching on the balls of his feet as he usually does.
A silent conversation passes between the two of you.
The both of you, in your decades together, have grown to such a level that words are no longer needed.
He takes your old, withered hand into his smooth, young ones.
There’s that cold backed by a subtle, nearly humanlike warmth.
It’s getting tougher to breathe. Your head is throbbing. A nap sounds nice.
You hear the crackle of something freezing suddenly. Looking past Jack, you see frost beginning to form on the window.
“A gift,” he whispers.
A parting gift.
The frost frames the border of the window much like back when he first decorated your bedroom window. Lush ice leaves swirl all around it, connecting large roses and snowdrops. But this time, the frost doesn’t stop in the middle. This time, it’s the two of you. Smiling together, side-by-side, you appearing as you did eighty years ago.
He produces a single snowdrop flower, its white petals shining by its own accord, and places it into your frail hand.
Your vision is fading in and out, his smiling face giving way to blackness and coming back again multiple times. You can’t keep your eyes open any longer.
He kisses your temple, a comforting, cool sensation spreading from the point of contact, taking your pain away better than any medicine can.
You close your eyes.
“Sweet dreams, snowflake.”
And an eternal sleep claims you.