|| I always feel like somebody’s watching me || (Pitch Black x Jack Frost)
What if Pitch never left the North Pole? What if the eyes he left behind witnessed the identity of the potential new recruit to the Guardians?
What if he got there first?
After his successful raid on Punjam Hy Loo, a trick to distract the Guardians from tracking down their quarry, and to snatch a few prize jewels in the process, Pitch lures Jack into a trap. He exposes the confused spirit to memories he didn’t know he had, and points the finger of blame at the one who would use Jack to benefit his own agenda.
And Jack feels sinking disappointment that the Moon was never his friend at all…
(This is a present to all the faithful Blackicers that still believe. I’ve had a couple of comments recently that inspired me, so thank you my darlings!)
I got impatient with some of them so I decided not to finish some of the characters, also sorry about the backgrounds… Finals week
Cinderella- Elsa Arendelle
Prince ‘Kit’- Jack Frost
Lady Tramaine- Madame Göthel
Anastasia- Anna Arendelle
Drizella- Merida DunBroch
Fairy Godmother- Rapunzel Corona
Captain- Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III
Grand Duke- Pitch
Princess Shelina- Toothiana Punjam Hy Loo
Jack's personal space / comfort zone / interaction / physical contact - Analysis
(Because I wanted an excuse to make some RotG screenshots/edits AND do a thorough analysis that’s been on my mind for a while. I’ll be referencing the frames I’ve posted in my discussion below, though I’ll also mention a bunch of other instances or scenes.)
This is inspired by a post I saw a while back that pointed out how Jack stood separately from the Guardians in the Warren when Bunnymund had Sophie in his arms – how even after helping them reconnect with their love for children, he still wasn’t truly a part of their group. So then I thought, this is a theme that carries strongly throughout the entire movie - and it pivots around the fact that Jack has been essentially alone for 300 years and unable to touch or interact with anyone.
At first, of course, Jack doesn’t get too close to the Guardians. (The only reason they caught him in the first place was because he let down his guard, acting cheeky and casual around Bunny. Of course he didn’t like being manhandled by yetis, shoved in a sack and tossed through a magic portal, but that was the only way they would’ve gotten him to the Pole with minimum fuss. North may have no concept of sarcasm, but he’s always practical.)
At the Pole, the closest Jack voluntarily gets to one of them is Sandy, when he kneels down to pay attention to Sandy’s symbols. (See the post I made here earlier today discussing their relationship.) Otherwise, he stands fairly far apart from them. Except for, of course… when they themselves invade his personal space, which in Toothiana’s case is just plain weird, in North’s tense (when he backs him up against the door) and also weird, and with Bunnymund, just plain tense. Jack doesn’t oppose it - after all, he’s not used to it and tends to just go with the flow anyway, even with the Tooth Fairy’s fingers digging around in his mouth or the Easter Bunny breathing heavily into his face - but he’s not exactly over the moon about it. (Pun intended.)
He reluctantly agrees to the sleigh ride, and doesn’t mind the company there, as he’s in his element (literally - wind and cold), plus he gets to poke fun at Bunny too. Once they’re near Punjam Hy Loo, then the first voluntary physical contact he makes with someone so far in is Baby Tooth. I find this pretty symbolic, believing firmly that she’s his sister reincarnate and all. She’s the first one he willingly reaches out to and assists – which is, of course, the reason why he was chosen by MiM in the first place.
Then at the palace, after Baby Tooth leaves his side, Jack’s relatively alone again. He doesn’t feel comfortable joining the others in comforting Tooth. The distance is palpable; he’s a whole level lower, a platform away, even Pitch ends up closer to him than the others are at that point. Until, that is, Bunnymund jumps forward right after Pitch insults Jack, actually pushing Jack aside to get at the Boogeyman. It’s hard to tell how Jack feels about this, but as Pitch said, he’s currently a ‘neutral party’. He feels no less poorly about Pitch compared to Bunnymund right now.
Down at ground level, it’s the first time Jack actually tries to understand and connect with what it is the Guardians do – specifically, Tooth. He crouches a little closer to her, walks along with her on the water as she explains the meaning of the mural and her job, and even lets her touch his shoulder. North, Bunny and Sandy are currently very far away, just a blur in the distance; it’s a pretty personal moment for him right now, learning that he may really have memories after all. Once excitement sets in, though, he flies off - perching an equal distance from all of them, but still separate by being on that rock.
Come tooth collection time, things really start to change. He’s pledged himself to their cause in exchange for getting his memories back (which is actually a problem in and of itself; he should really have done it in a purely selfless way, which is why he’s had trouble being seen/believed for so long). So of course, he chats a bit with Tooth, competes with Bunny, and by the end, is in cramped quarters in Jamie’s bedroom. Tooth gets pretty close to him and touches him again when they again share a quiet moment together (note - these sort of moments are a big reason why I ship them, I could go on about Rainbow Snowcone all day but nvm). He seems to be part of their group when Jamie awakens, until reality harshly sets in again and it’s like he’s really not there at all. He’s still so different from the Guardians, even while standing in their midst.
True to character, he’s happy to dive into the fray all by himself when he spots the lone Nightmare – except this time, he’s not alone; Sandy makes the choice to follow him, and Jack’s incredibly comfortable flying and fighting alongside him. And again he charges forward alone, with nothing but his sheer will powering him, when Sandy - perhaps his only friend amongst the Guardians - falls, and then he’s back on the sleigh again after having his full weight lifted by Tooth (think about it - he most likely weighs more than her), Bunnymund actually clustering closer to him in concern. He’s not properly conscious, though, and by the time we get to Sandy’s memorial…
… Jack is nowhere in sight. This always surprises and confuses me - but I guess Jack is just too hurt and alone, and again too much of a stranger, to be able to share such a personal moment with the Guardians. It’s the only scene with the Guardians (after he meets them) where he’s completely absent, feeling terrible about the fact he couldn’t do anything to save Sandy.
He’s understanding more now. He’s walking forward with Tooth and North, agreeing pretty readily to go ahead with helping out for Easter. He charges forward in sync with them when they’re surprised by Sophie, but then moves quite far away again to perch on a mossy boulder when he realises just how clueless they are about kids. He only gets close to them some time later when he sits next to Bunny; I suppose he also wanted to give them space, give Bunny the time to connect with Sophie without interfering. And then as North and Tooth crouch around Bunny and admire the sleeping girl as well, Jack’s distance is pronounced. He didn’t seem so far away when just sitting beside Bunnymund, but with the others there, the contrast is striking; he’s still alone.
He willingly carries Sophie all the way back to Burgess (I know he’s technically not supposed to be able to touch her, but it’s my headcanon that he can still physically interact with beings like animals or very small children, especially if they’re unconscious/sleeping, as children don’t yet have the necessary level of awareness; it’s why so many kids have an 'imaginary friend’. Anyway.) And Baby Tooth is still with him at this point. Again, symbolic for the sibling-connection. She always flies close to him, right until Pitch distracts him and snatches her away. It’s almost like… she’s his last lifeline, his only connection to what he is and what he can possibly be, and in one master stroke she’s taken away from him and replaced with his memories. (Same difference, no?)
He finds the Guardians, Bunnymund comes an inch within punching him in the face. An understandable reaction, but still, it really, REALLY stings, even if it didn’t meet its mark. The knowledge that Bunnymund actually could have laid a hand on him and really hurt him, that he accidentally let down one of the only beings in the world who had started to have faith in him… of course it’s shocking. Of course Jack sheds a tear in this scene and nowhere else. His happy facade has finally broken.
He abandons the miniature North-doll, and all he has left on him is the tooth-box. But the tooth-box is cold and empty to him. Everything is cold and empty to him, so he goes to the coldest, emptiest place on Earth – Antarctica. He doesn’t activate his memories – either he doesn’t want to, or doesn’t know how to. Again, same difference at this point. And the next person who tries to get close to him (both physically and emotionally) is met with harsh screams and icy blows. Jack’s had enough of being close to people, maybe it would be better off if he was alone after all; what’s the point in friendship and trust if he never fails to screw things up?
Until Pitch reveals Baby Tooth and returns Jack’s purpose to him. If anything, Pitch’s two biggest mistakes were a) giving Jack his memories in the first place and b) giving back Baby Tooth. Together, they held the key to unlock what Jack needed in that deep, dark crevasse in Antarctica. Even in gingerly sheltering Baby Tooth in his hands, Jack regretted that he couldn’t make her warm. Even in holding the most important person in the world to him, in his very hands, he felt regret and disappointment at himself. This, guys, is what I call heart-wrenching character development. The boy who hasn’t been able to hold someone he loves for three hundred years still feels bad, even when he can.
What he did for Baby Tooth - giving up his staff for her - was pretty selfless. It’s the only material possession he has. If she couldn’t already see him, I bet that act would qualify as something for him to be believed in for. But that true moment comes soon after, when he saves the very existence of Bunnymund in the nick of time. He doesn’t make Jamie believe for himself. He does it for Bunny. He does it for the Guardians. Because he is still overflowing with compassion, even after he let them down. That is why he rejected Pitch Black’s offer, and that is why he finally earns himself a believer; he’s finally worthy of being believed in. I wonder now if it’s actually partially under the Man in the Moon’s control whether or not Jack could be seen.
From then, Jack is close to Jamie like he was (and still is) close to his sister. He stands beside him and playfully nudges him, he stands protectively in front of him as Pitch Black threatens him. And the Guardians cluster worriedly around him after Pitch knocks him out of the sky; he’s proven his worth, and he’s now their only hope. They have nothing left to lose, and he now has everything - a shining happy future in particular - to lose if they lose to Pitch. From hereon out it’s not 'him’ and 'them’, it’s 'us’. He stands beside them every step of the way and nearly is killed fighting (if it were not for Sandy’s resurrection). And he really is a part of their team as they huddle joyfully around Sandy.
There’s one more step to go, though, and it’s mere minutes away as the sun starts to rise on Easter Monday. Toothiana tacklehugs him - he’s truly at ease now, he automatically places his hands on her waist and probably has some cute thoughts running through his head (at least until Baby Tooth separates them. Imagine her squeaking “Ew mom, hands off my brother!”). And then of course North hugs Jack as well and kisses him on both cheeks, leaving the poor thing pretty dazed but no longer weirded out.
And the best moment of all - we all know it, it’s been analysed so thoroughly - when Jamie runs at Jack but doesn’t run through him. The shock on Jack’s face is plainer than the day that’s just started. He’s finally - finally - able to accept that maybe he’s worth believing in, worth loving, worth being trusted. It’ll still be a rocky road for a while - it’ll take a while for three hundred year’s worth of fear and disappointment to fade away (WHICH IS WHY I NEED A SEQUEL SO BAD GDI DREAMWORKS), but for now, Jack is able to cherish the hug from his first believer.
*rolls around in the eternal feelings RotG gives him*
“I can’t do this, North!” Bunny shouted, his tones sharp and clipped as he waved his hands in the air. His ears were constantly twitching, the fur down his spine sticking up, making him look fluffier as he paced back and forth in a short line in North’s office. “I… Cannot… I don’t have the words, I cannot do this.”
“Bunny, Bunny, relax!” It was all North could do to keep from chortling with glee. Drift Compatible! With Jack Frost no less! The way they moved, all speed and lashing instinct, it had been a glorious sight to see.
Well, until Bunny chased the rabbit and the neural bridge broke down. But still, he hadn’t seen numbers like that since… Well, Toothiana, but she was technically drifting with herself.
The alleged first meeting between Pitch Black and Jack Frost at Punjam Hy Loo was not in fact the first, and sets in motion an ensuing battle of flirtation and violence, with steps that seem frighteningly familiar to both the Frost Sprite and The Boogeyman.
The Guardians choose not to interrupt for fear of that vicious rage being redirected in their direction.
Pitch and Jack had obviously met before, and the way they stare and snipe at each other seems both savage and wanting, but this can’t be normal…