Author: winter's-lion PM
Norman helps Jack find his sister... or what's left of her...Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Supernatural - Jack Frost & Norman B. - Chapters: 19 - Words: 27,897 - Reviews: 118 - Favs: 111 - Follows: 126 - Updated: 02-28-13 - Published: 11-29-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8750299
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Hold still," Jamie reprimanded for the millionth time.
Jack ground his teeth together and bit back a growl. The sleeves of his hoodie were pushed up to his elbows, and he had both of his arms extended, palms up. His tendons stood out in sharp relief, straining against the delicate filigree of burns the dark sand had left behind. Both of his forearms were covered in a strangely elegant network of wounds, black trails that resembled something akin to a spider's web.
Jamie was gripping Jack's wrist in one hand and gently wiping a cloth over the wounds on the underside of Jack's arm with the other. The combination of cloth aggravating his raw flesh and Jamie's hot fingers wrapped around his wrist was making Jack uncomfortable, and he squirmed in his chair, fighting the urge to flee out the open window.
"Is it working? Can I see? What does this do?" Neil, in his concern, had suddenly contracted momentary ADHD.
"Put that down!" Jack snapped, eying Neil warily. Neil quickly set Jack's staff back down on Jamie's bed and moved away to rummage through Jamie's bookshelf.
Jamie lifted the cloth and sighed. "I don't think it's helping any," he informed Jack. "It looks like it's coming off onto this, but it's not coming off your skin." The cloth was stained black, as if it were soaking in the inky marks, yet the tattoo-like things on his arms were unchanged.
Jack unclenched his jaw. "Thanks for trying." He gingerly pulled his sleeves back down, effectively hiding the damage but for the markings that marred his fingers.
"What happened?" Neil asked earnestly. "What happened to Norman?"
Jack drew a deep breath. Though he grew exhausted just watching the red-haired menace whirlwind around Jamie's room talking a mile a minute, Jack could see that Neil's concern for Norman was real. "Pitch happened," he said bitterly, tracing one of the black burns on the back of his hand and wincing.
Jamie's eyes widened. "Pitch is back? But I thought he was gone. Like, you know, the dead sort of gone."
"That's what I thought too," Jack agreed heavily.
Neil cocked his head. "What's a pitch?" He mimed throwing a ball and giggled.
"He," Jack corrected flatly, "was the manifestation of Fear, until last year."
"How can he be back?" Jamie asked nervously. "He's not… undead… or something like that, right?"
Jack just shook his head and shrugged.
Norman sat down on the wooden step, resting his chin in his hands. He was dead tired, his eyes still heavy with lost sleep.
The sun was slowly coming up, burning off the dew on the grass left over from last night's rain. People were starting to move again, waking up to obnoxious alarm clocks and cups of coffee before trudging off to work, standing in hordes at the bus stop, or waiting in an idling car for the red light to turn green.
Norman paid them no mind. Instead, his eyes tracked the ghosts that inhabited Burgess. Some, clearly only recently deceased, were trying to talk to the living, while the more experienced dead floated about, unconcerned with the daily life that continued without them. The population of ghosts here was significantly lower than that of Blithe Hollow, Norman noticed.
"Will play for cigarettes," one ghost was calling forlornly, his accordion hanging limply in his hands. He caught Norman watching him and floated closer. "You can see me, right? You got a spare smoke?"
"I'm eleven," Norman said. "And you're not even breathing."
The ghost sat next to Norman, chucking his accordion down the stairs in frustration. It clattered down and hit the ground, vanishing with a poof of green ghost-light. "It'll be back," the ghost sighed, seeing Norman's expression. "I'm being haunted by my own accordion. It's depressing."
They sat together quietly, watching as an elderly lady ghost chased her living, harried cat down the street.
"So when did you die?" Norman asked conversationally, hiding a yawn under his hand.
"'30's." The accordion reappeared next to the ghost, and he kicked it away impatiently.
Norman glanced sideways at his companion. "You're not the oldest one around here, by chance, are you?
The ghost chortled. "Heck, no. No one ever really moves on, you know? 'Cause being mostly dead is just so much fun."
"Is it?" Norman asked absently. He wondered to himself, if he's not the oldest one around here, maybe Jack's sister is still here? He nibbled a thumbnail thoughtfully. Even if she isn't, maybe one of the older ghosts would know where to find her, or even where to start looking…
The ghost snorted, oblivious to Norman's internal commentary. "No. But it does have its perks when-"
"Is there anyone around here who died somewhere in the late 17th century?" Norman interrupted. "Or in the early 18th?"
"Uh, yeah," the ghost replied, clearly confused by the directness of the question. "Did you know that there used to be a colony settlement near here?"
"Yes, them!" Excitement coloured Norman's voice. "Where can I find them? Where was the settlement?"
"The settlement used to be over there somewhere," the ghost waved a hand vaguely. "As for its current mostly-dead inhabitants… well, they're pretty strange. It's a tight-knit group. They don't talk much with anyone else- that is, if you can find them in the first place. They tend to hide, keep to themselves, you know?"
This had to be what they were looking for. "We have to find that settlement," Norman muttered. Loud enough for the ghost to hear, he said, "Thanks for your time," and stood to leave.
The ghost waved his hand passively again. "I got all the time in the world," he droned.
Norman traipsed back into the house, eager to share his news with the others. He closed the door just as the miffed accordion made a second reappearance and started beating its unapologetic owner mercilessly over the head.
"We've gotta contact North," Jack was saying when Norman arrived back at Jamie's bedroom.
"We're going to the North Pole?" Jamie asked excitedly.
"Who or what is North?" Poor Neil was overwhelmed. "Too many new terms; brain over-loading."
"He's Santa Claus," Jack supplied before turning back to Jamie. "Yeah, I think I'm going to have to go the North Pole to sort this out. Pitch should not be here, of all places. But I think I'm the only one going anywhere."
"Aw," Jamie whined.
Norman stepped into the room. "I don't think anyone really wants to go anywhere right now." He grinned. "Listen to what I just learned…"
A/N: Some things to say;
Alluring Alliteration- Yikes! *cowers under said angry glare* Sorry! ...and thanks...?
Twisterfoot- Heh, yeah, I was kinda anticipating the trip to take longer than it did, so the hiatus warning was fairly moot. But whatever.
SugarSweetObsessed- Okay, first of all, thanks. Secondly, geez, dude, I appreciate the love and all, but calm down and have a cookie, or something. :P Implosion/explosion would probably put a damper on your upcoming holiday season... and quite possibly the rest of your life. Just sayin'.
Woodswolf- ...I'm working on it...
Alright, that out of the way... I have been neglecting my German studies in favour of this story... my tutor will probably kill me :) ... besides the fact that I suck at German, apparently. Sigh.
Hopefully I'll manage to find a happy balance between the two. So I may or may not be keeping up the somewhat steady pace that I've more or less maintained thus far. ...wish me luck...