I could begin this story with 'Once upon a time...' But I rather start it in a completely different way.
Quite frankly, I didn't know how lost I was... Until I found her.
I rode the wind the same way I had always done. Over, sideways, under and backwards, bringing the joy of frost and snow everywhere I flew. Jack Frost was a name that now every kid remembered and called for. Life as a Guardian was never dull and I felt the greatest sense of pride and joy knowing that kids remembered me, saw me, and believed in me.
I could hear the wind howling in my ears as I somersaulted into the air and surfed the northern winds at my leisure, inviting kids to play in the freshly fallen snow. They played with me, I played with them, making memories that would last a lifetime.
And yet, no matter how much I played and how much I enjoyed being who I was there would always be just one moment of my day where I would feel completely lost. I would look at my surroundings and wonder how lost was I truly.
The Easter Bunny actually brought it up one time over a post-Christmas party.
“Really, Jack. There's always that one moment while you fly, when you just... are you even listening, mate?” he waved a paw over my face.
I smiled and focused my gaze back at him and the rest of my friends. “I'm listening.”
The Sandman was in a corner playing chess with North. And Tooth was nearby counting a few pearly teeth she had been brought.
I remember shaking my head and heading outside to get a hint of fresh air. I looked at the colors floating in the starry night sky and for a long moment I just watched them move to their own rhythm.
I looked back to see Tooth looking at me with a concerned look in her usually happy face. “What's wrong?”
I sighed. “I don't know... I know my past. I know who I am. I know what I'm supposed to be and do. And yet... there's something missing... I feel like I lost something that I can't quite grasp.” I shook my head and looked back to the borealis.
Tooth gave my shoulder a comforting squeeze. "Listen to me, Jack. Whatever it is you're looking for... You know you won't find it here and it won't just come to you."
I looked back at her and saw the gentle smile she had always given me when she knew I was feeling conflicted.
She gave me a little push. "Go. It's up to you."
I smiled faintly and floated away riding the northern winds to wherever they led me. I looked back only once to wave farewell.
"This will always be your home, Jack. Never forget." She called out and smiled reassuringly.
"I won't." And I flew away not know where I was going but determined to find what I was missing.
"Oy! Where's Frost going?" Bunny asked as he hopped outside to stand beside Tooth. He watched Jack fly away without a single glance and he couldn't help but think: 'What the hell?'
Tooth smiled politely and without looking away from Jack's retreating form she answered. "I'm sure he'll come back someday. Don't worry. He'll be alright."
She felt a strong hand settle on her shoulder and pulling her close for a warm hug.
Jack Frost was a part of the Guardians. He had helped kept the legends alive. And for many years he had followed them and had helped even if it wasn't his season. However, he had always been different. At times, it was simply as if he wasn't there. The Guardians knew that at some point he would leave for reasons unknown to them. Perhaps the Moon Man ha a different path set out for him. They would never know. And Tooth had somehow always known that her feelings would never be returned, not because he didn't care but because he didn't want her to hurt.
Tooth's vision blurred with unshed tears.
"Aye... but will you?" North said quietly as she leaned into his embrace, crying silently.
They all watched in silence as Jack Frost disappeared into the night sky.
I wondered the skies for days on end. Going nowhere in particular and thinking nothing at all. I just let the wind carry me as I gazed into the skies one moment and the earth below me the next.
At some point I decided to come down from the skies and touch the solid ground. I landed on some freshly fallen snow and I chuckled to myself. For a long moment, I just laid there and sighed. I didn't remember ever feeling so empty.
A faint tinkling sound echoed around me and I slowly sat up and looked around me. There were trees covered with snow but I couldn't find the source of the soft tinkling sound I could hear. The breeze tickled the trees and the twinkling became a little louder. I looked around me and saw the frozen dew drops on the branches clinking against each other, making that magical sound. I came a cross a frozen lake with a frozen waterfall. As I stepped on the ice lake I skated slowly over the surface in circles taking in the beauty around me.
I knew snow. I knew cold and frost. But this kind of ice... I had never seen it before.
And yet... I couldn't help but feel a hint of familiarity.
I tensed and stopped in my skating at the sound of my name being called.
For a moment I thought I had imagined it but it came again. Louder this time. It seemed to echo everywhere around me.
I knew this voice!
I looked around me frantically, trying to find the source of the voice and my eyes stopped suddenly on a ghostly figure standing on top of the waterfall looking at me. Her silver hair floated around her in the still air. Her translucent skin seemed to be covered in a thin layer of frost, forming a dress that seemed made of cold smoke the further down it went until the white clouds of the cold stirred around her feet. Her azure eyes changed to various shades of blue as they caught the light of the sun that shined through the tree branches. And there seemed to be a snowflake tattoo over her left eye that had the same effect as her eyes.
I slowly made my way down from the air and landed a few feet away from her.
Her eyes were intense and gentle at the same time. “Jack Frost.” She murmured gave me a slight nod as a greeting. “The Moon Man said you would be coming.” She moved away, gliding over the frozen water and heading toward the trees in the shore. There were no footprints when she glided over the snow.
“Who are you?” I asked floating behind her, keeping my distance.
As she walked the cold clouds swirled around her and stirred the breeze, making the trees twinkle yet again. “I am Fria, the guardian of the Enchanted Winter Forest. I have been for the last six centuries.” She turned to look at me over her shoulder. The snowflake tattoo showing a reflection of me like a mirror. “From the Fjord to the High Mountain; I guard these lands.” She glided ahead getting deeper into the forest and I followed her.
I didn't know why. I could be walking into a trap for all I knew! And yet... the feeling of familiarity was to empowering the closer I got into the forest behind her. I had so many questions. I needed to ask. “Do you know why I'm here?”
I heard a soft chuckle. It sounded homely. “Sometimes, Jack Frost, we arrive to the place on the time we are needed and there need not be any other explanation, only that you are here.”
“At the right place and at the right time, huh?” I smirked but more questions ensued. “In time for what?”
She stopped in her tracks and turned her intense gaze on me. “Do you not remember what brought you here in the first place?”
I knew my past and how I became a guardian. And yet I had always felt as if there had been something missing. Something that wasn't in my reach. “I don't know.” I sighed as I answered honestly.
She came closer to me and I couldn't look away from her eyes. My breath suddenly stopped and I could no longer see anything.
A little girl sat crying under a frozen tree, curled up into a tight ball. The cold air was still around her, mirroring her emotion. Suddenly, there was a cold breeze that surrounded her and fresh snowflakes fell around her claiming her attention.
She saw a man floating near her holding a wooden stick with a sad smile on his handsome face. He sent more snowflakes swirling around her and she played around with them making snow flurries of her own. He watched her surprised and saw her smiling up at him again. “Do it again, please!”
He floated down closer to the toddler. “You can see me?” he asked completely taken aback.
She nodded happily. “Frost? Play with me! Frost!”
He smiled. “I will.” He created his own swirl of frost in his hand and let it fall over her. She watched amazed and she copied his trick. He smiled surprised and began to show her how to create swirls of frost.
He never knew why she was crying but he always came back every day while the winter lasted to play with her. Soon he found out that she had been born with her winter powers and that she was the heir of Arandelle's throne.
“Will you come back, Frost?”
He nodded after a day filled of snow fun. “I will, little Elsa.”
And he always did. He saw her grow. He was there when she cried herself to sleep after she had hurt her sister Anna. And although they would not play, she would fall into his arms and cry into his chest, knowing that no one but him would ever understand her as he could, where her powers were concerned.
And then her parent never returned from their trip.
He slipped through her window and pulled her close to him to comfort her. Her grief was so that not even his powers could lift her spirits. She pushed him away and he felt his heart break into a million pieces. He would never be the same.
It was the last time he saw her.
I slowly came back from my long forgotten past. The pain in my chest as real and as painful as my memory.
“She's waiting.” She whispered and disappeared, as I regained my sight, turning into fresh falling snow.
When I focused my eyes around my surroundings I was standing at the bottom of flawlessly made ice stairs. I had never been here before, I knew. But I knew what awaited inside this ice castle. I flew up and inside overtaken by sheer and pure unchecked emotion. There was a young girl I hadn't seen in centuries. I could only hope to dream that she would remember me.
Everything inside was flawlessly made of ice and ice sculptures. But I couldn't focus on that. My heart seemed to be guiding me into the unknown and I followed the staircase until its end.
When I entered the chamber I looked around me slowly until my eyes fell on the ice throne over looking the balcony. As I glided closer, the full moon broke through the clouds and illuminated the entire room. And yet I couldn't look away from the frozen beauty that sat in her throne holding her hands against her chest, her face contorted with grief.
She had grown from the last time I had seen her. But she was beautiful. Even in her pain, she took my breath away.
For a long moment I pondered what I was supposed to do.
And as the moon shined, the words slipped through my lips. “From a breath of Winter you were born, and in Ice you always lived. Frozen, you found eternal sleep and with the breath of Frost you'll awaken. And with Snow you will always live.” Creating a flurry in my palm with my breath, I blew the snowflakes in her face and waited.
Slowly, the blue ice of her skin thawed and turned into her alabaster skin. Her lips regained their crimson hue and her eyes became the ice jewels I had always known.
The breath returned to her body and she blinked a few times focusing on me. Her eyes widened in surprise and a smile was instant. “It's you!” she rasped in a whisper and suddenly found the strength to bolt out of her throne and into my arms, where I caught and held her. “Frost...” she murmured in my ear as she wrapped her arms around my neck and tightened her hold on me.
She didn't have strength in her legs yet but that didn't matter. I held her close to me and felt for the very first time, in the longest of times, the warmth spreading through my being. “Little Elsa...” I murmured in her ear as I buried my face in her hair and tightened my arms around her.