Title: Winds of Change
Fanbase: Rise of the Guardians (2012)
Genre: Light romance, mystery, family, friendship, some angst
Rated: T (character death)
Warnings: Character death, tiny bit of shounen ai (light boys' love)
Note: Includes my original race (explanation in my profile). Alternate Universe-ish. Beta'd by raven2547 (on Fanfiction). This story follows the plotline of the movie, with the insertion of three of my Original Characters (after this chapter) and a bunch of plot twists of my own.
It was a freezing winter night in the forest surrounding the small town of Burgess. Snow weighed down tree branches and frost made it nearly impossible to see out of windows.
Just outside of the town, hidden within the border of the forest, was a lake, layered with ice.
Ice that was not strong enough to handle the weight of the seventeen year old boy and his younger sister.
"It's okay, it's okay! Don't look down...just look at me!"
"Jack, I'm scared!" The girl whimpered, wobbling on her skates.
The boy, Jack, shook his head and shifted his weight slightly, causing the ice to creak beneath his bare feet. "I know, but you're gonna be okay, you're not gonna fall in, uh...We're gonna have a little fun instead!"
"No, we're not!"
"Would I trick you?"
"Yes," the girl cried, "you always play tricks!"
The youth gave a light laugh at his sister's scrutiny. "Well, not...not, not this time, I promise. I promise you're gonna be...you're gonna be ine. You just have to believe in me. Do you wanna play a game? We're gonna play hopscotch, like we do every day! It's as easy as one," he paused to take a light step, faking a loss of balance, "whooooa!"
His sister gave a tiny laugh, her fear fading the tiniest bit.
"Two...three," he counted as he lightly hopped over to the long stick that lay on the ice, picking it up between his thin fingers. "Okay, now it's your turn. One..."
The young girl slowly shifted her feet forward, the skates sliding over the scratched ice. A small gasp slipped past her pale pink lips as the ice cracked beneath her. "I want Conrad," she whimpered, fear bringing her to near tears.
"That's it," encouraged Jack, smiling in hopes of lifting her spirit a bit more, "that's it! Conrad's busy, but I'm here! Two..."
The ice cracked again as her feet shuffled forwards, earning another small, fearful gasp and whimper.
"Three!" Without warning he lunged forward, hooking the crooked end of his staff around her leg and pulling her to safety. They looked at each other in silence for a second before they laughed in relief.
However, their relief was sucked away as quickly as it had come as the ice beneath Jack's bare feet gave way, and he was plunged into liquid darkness.
"Jack!" The word rang through the air, filled with horror, panic, and worry.
The sister cried out and scrambled for the hole in the ice, but was dragged back off the frozen lake by a force unseen to anyone's eyes but hers. She fell back into a small snow bank out harm's way.
She thrashed, sobbing, "Conrad, let me go! I have to save him!"
The wind moved as if trapped in a transparent, flexible encasing, every motion fluid and human-like. The wind solidified a few feet from her, taking the form of a tall youth in his late teens.
Eyes of frost glistened with worry and horror, half hidden by a mop of hair the colour of clouds that would accompany a winter breeze. Fresh snow could not compare to his skin; so pale the sun's rays could almost be seen right through the soft, almost feminine contours of his face.
"I'm sorry," came the soft apology.
There was silence as the words sank in. Jack could not be saved-not by her, at least.
Her fury hit him with full force. She raised her fists and pounded against his chest, spitting as tears fell, "you could have saved him! You were supposed to protect us! He's gone, and it's because of you!" A deep breath was taken before she cried words that the teen would never forget. "I never should've believed in you!"
"I'm sorry," was all he could say, his voice barely audible, barely heard as he watched the girl turn and sprint away with every ounce of her strength. He turned away from the sister, facing the lake and started forward.
He stepped out onto the ice, frost marking his foot prints as he dashed to the hole, his gait awkward. He fell to his knees at the edge and stared down, forcing his panic away as the hole began to quickly freeze over.
Jack had sank to the bottom, out of reach, making it impossible to reach him, and the hole had frozen over completely in seconds in his presence.
There was only one thing he could do.
From his body came a translucent, silver-lined figure. The Northern wind, brother of the Three Great Winds, was barely contained within his ethereal form.
North faced Conrad momentarily as he underwent small but rather startling changes. His eyes, frost white-blue for almost a thousand years, slowly faded to a tone of wrought iron, his hair turning a light winter grey, and his skin now appeared an ashen version of what it once was.
The Northern wind turned as it passed through the ice and drifted down to the nearly dead Jack.
Jack's chocolate eyes, almost closed, struggled to open and his lips formed the name of the one he had always kept in his sights.
The Northern spirit brushed its fingertips against the boy's cheek before it wrapped around him.
Cirled him. Encased him. Comforted him.
When the boy's eyes closed, signifying his death, the spirit held him closer. A single, crystal tear was shed. It sank to the rocky lake bottom.
Day quickly turned to night. Moonlight fell upon the boy, passing through the transparent Northern wind spirit and thick ice overhead.
Under the light of the Man In the Moon, the spirit melded into the boy's body, and the boy was immediately, irreversibly changed.
Above the ice, the teen was trembling and in tears with what he had just done- what he had helped the Man In the Moon do. He shakily got to his feet, nearly slipping on the ice that he, until that moment, had had no trouble walking on.
Conrad shifted his gaze to the sky, to the full moon, and lifted his head.
A roar of sorrow and agony and fury ripped itself from his throat, lifted to the moon, and was carried across the world as the teen shed tears that stained his skin a dark colour.