This is my first attempt at writing a fic for the wonderful The Graveyard Book. This is just some sort of things that I expected when the character Jay Frost was introduced. Shame, really. I like him D:
Summary: For something he actually should not dream about, Frost sure wishes the world to just stay still like this, a moment of serenity where he could just forget about his job, his goal, his pride, and his, well, name. Spoilers.
Warning: Spoilers for the end of the book.
Disclaimer: The Graveyard Book © Neil Gaiman.
"Mr. Frost! Mr. Frost!"
The bespectacled man turned his head to look at the adolescent girl at her fifteen running towards him. The girl was wearing her casual attire consisted of dull-colored, short-sleeved skirt paired with a blue jeans, while the older man wore his usual dark and black shirt.
The man called Frost was leaning on the body of his car, and after knowing that the voice was Scarlett's, he prodded his glasses further the bridge of his nose, and asked, "What is it, Scarlett?"
"Can we stop at a restroom or somewhere? My clothes are all dirty and ragged," Scarlett answered, pointing out to her skirt which was covered in mud, lifting it ever so slightly. "Mum's not going to like it."
Mr. Frost blinked twice before nodding and giving the girl a light smile. He opened the door of the front-seats and then offered, "Well, step in, then. Might not make Noona wait for long, now, might we?"
Scarlett took his offer and slipped into the front seat, while the man stepped into the driver seat and turned on the car, leaving a vrooming sound filled the air.
"Think there's a restroom in the park nearby? Let's try to hit there." Mr. Frost said, although not really asking for an answer as he already answered it himself. Scarlett just gave the man a nod; too busy looking after her dirty skirt.
Scarlett and Frost; they –or practically, only himself- had had another grave-rubbing job today. And for it was a lovely sunny Saturday that day, Scarlett had offered her help again as school was closed for the day. And at the usual gloomy and dull graveyard, Scarlett coincidentally stumbled upon a hole (it was covered with thick bush, hence she did not see that) and fell into a pool of mud below. Not odd, considering the graveyard here was pretty much filled with marsh with the help of the earth's high moisture here. In addition that the town was soaked with rain yesterday.
Anyway, that was one funny spectacle, though he needed to hold his chuckle as it'd make Scarlett angry, given her moody attitude. Well, you really were not going to make the daughter of someone you like mad, were you? Or else, no more roasted chicken with wine accompanied with whisky tonight.
Ooh, as for just now, he was waiting at the car because Scarlett said that she was going to find water to clean her clothes, refusing his offer to accompany her. Alas, she ran deeper into the graveyard and was completely out of his sight thanks to the thick bush and the sea of tomb scattered between them there. Although the truth why Scarlett didn't want Mr. Frost to accompany her was that she wanted to ask his living-with-the-dead friend Bod for water (which the latter stated there's barely any water available at the graveyard, much to the former's annoyance) and, no, she really did not want anyone ever discovered about her being acquainted with the enigmatic boy, especially after hearing that there was a murderer looking for her friend.
And, much to Scarlett's confusion, Mr. Frost didn't ask too much of her being when she was practically lost to the world that time. Oh well, she preferred not to be found out of his bond with Bod anyway, and it was better this way. So, the rest of their journey was filled with solitude.
Before they knew it, they already found themselves beside the park at the center of the town. Parking his car on the edge of the road, he then found out that the girl was already rushing towards a small rest-room consisted of three blocks of toilet in the right side of the park.
Frost deadpanned; why did teens, especially girls, pretty concerned about their looks, anyway? It's not like it would be the end of the world if they appeared disheveled, right?
Frost sighed, maybe it's not his things anymore, looking at his soon-to-be wrinkled skin on his hand and rubbing his thinning grayish-hair.
He then made himself comfortable on a lone bench in the park, and watched in amusement at the children running wildly with its parents trying to catch them. Why, he thought, maybe by coincidence then he would spot a certain fourteen-years old boy running frantically or just sitting idly between the mass of people here…
With the chances were slim to none.
Jack sighed at the thought and rubbed the back of his neck. He was exhausted with the other Jacks forcing him to kill the boy already. You got an entire organization to track down a single boy with nothing in result. Really, how nice that was to help him finish his mission.
He never really took parts in the organization anyway, despite his hidden desire to be the organization's leader, so he could have just left all the tracking to others and leaving him with the dirty job—hence his title as the most dangerous Jack.
Because if he did take part, then when would he take his time to fulfill his desire of unveiling the mystery of history?
Frost then was pulled out from his contemplating as a sound of a jingle rang in the crowded park, followed by voices of children shouting, "Vanilla!" and "Strawberry please!" and "Chocolate, chocolate!"
He turned his head to found a stall covered with urchin, to the part he can't even see the peddler's nose.
Ah. Ice cream, he thought. A snack most children if not all love to eat. A cold yet sweet snack that could send you a tingling sensation at your teeth and a shiver to your mouth. A snack should you eat too many, will make some nasty cavities in your teeth. Ironic, if the things that made you the happiest person in the world would bring a disaster afterwards.
Yet they still love to eat it.
And their parents, adults who knew the risk of eating sweets except they're dumb, didn't prohibit them to do so.
Frost sighed, again. Once again, maybe it was not his things anymore and yet. He had passed his time as a mischievous child, but had not had the time yet to be a parent. He was too busy with his job, and couldn't risk having both job ruined by the existence of one like a family.
But sometimes, he kinda wanted that kind of thing –children and family-. Nah, he didn't feel any guilt for his past homicide –not now, not when the boy was still living in the world-, he just regretted that he didn't try to make a family earlier, just to simply waste his time beside finding grave to rub or when his bloodlust did not take over him again.
Or maybe it felt like this? Wasting your time in another peoples' house –a widow and her only daughter-, treating its owner cake and wine and chocolates…
Treating Noona and Scarlett like they were—
"Are you alright? You were spacing out there."
Frost blinked, finally realizing the girl she was thinking about was already standing in front of him, her clothes now clean although some stain still could be spotted if one took enough looks at her.
"Ah—it's nothing." He replied way too quickly, although Scarlett did not notice it. "I'm just thinking about something…,"
"What was it?"
"Nuh-uh, just sort of things you'd expect from an adult." He waved his hand flippantly.
"Now, why don't you sit here—," Mr. Frost quickly added, trying to change the topic as his accusing finger pointed at the bench he was sitting on a moment ago. "—and I'll treat you an ice cream before we get home?"
Frost didn't even wait for an answer as he quickly scurried to the ice cream stall where the crowd of children had died down and bought two ice creams; one mint and one chocolate. Then he went back to where Scarlett had sat on the bench.
"Which one?" he offered both ice cream with his reached out hands.
"Well, that's a relief," Mr. Frost handed the chocolate-flavoured ice cream to Scarlett before licking his mint-flavoured ice cream as he sat down beside the adolescent girl on the bench. "I happen to like mint, and remembered something you said about how your mom and you yourself like chocolate—,"
"You like mint?" Scarlett cut his speech abruptly. "You've never told us before."
"I haven't?" he asked disbelievingly.
"No. And you should have told me earlier. There were some spare mint chocolates in the refrigerator yesterday."
He chuckled lightly, taking a small bite of the ice cream and said, "Well, that's a shame then."
Scarlett smiled at the older man and bit her ice cream, eyes gazing at her feet, "You know, you've never told us about yourself."
"Really?" Jack asked, adding a slight sarcasm to his question although grew unspotted by the girl.
"Yeah, like, where you lived before moving into this town…, or what kind of job you had before…," said Scarlett, while her eyes gazed upon the sky of the small city.
"It's nothing." Frost said way too fast, which earned an anxious blink from the adolescent girl. Frost, finally realizing his mistake, quickly added, "Earned the living by running errands others gave me. And if I had to add some pennies at the end of month, simply would've done the grave-rubbing then."
There was a silence in the air, growing Frost's mood to be not uncomfortable around the contemplating girl. But his awkward speech was only replied by a blatant, nonchalant, "Oh."
Did she know?
"Huh, I thought you were, like, an illegal merchant or something that distributed drugs and what-not." Scarlett continued, which made Frost sweatdropped for a moment. She sounded to be…dissapointed? Well, he said what's the truth anyway, he was and is doing errands other Jacks told him to. But maybe he did have done such illicit (by the world's perspective, not by the organization's) errand like that. He didn't remember. Why would he, anyway?
"Hey, Mr. Frost?" Scarlett asked again. Huh, the girl sure was nosy today, wasn't she? "Will you leave us?"
"No—no! It's not like t-that! I mean, will you leave the town?" stuttered the younger girl, nearly throwing her ice cream as she did so.
Frost didn't answer. He just fidgeted for a moment, making the glasses of his spectacles shade his once kind gaze, giving him a mysterious aura around him. And last, he smiled, eyes still shaded by the glasses.
"As long as there were graves to rub—,"
'And as long there were peoples to cut—,'
"—and tombs to dig—,"
'—and hearts to rip—,'
"—or histories to find—,"
'—or a boy to hunt—,'
"—then, no, I won't leave you guys. Beside, this town's graveyard was rather big, you know? Still full of unresolved mystery."
Scarlett's mouth twisted into a happy and grateful smile, licking her ice cream once before leaning her head on Frost's shoulder.
"Thanks," Scarlett said. "Mum's happier now that you're here you know?"
Frost blinked at her statement.
Then, Scarlett seemed to hesitate for a moment before gazing faraway to the now reddish sky and finally whispered, "…you're a nice man." despite her embarrasment for speaking so bluntly.
Jack blinked at her statement.
A nice man.
Regardless of Jack's thought about throwing up after hearing such compliment (or mocking, as Jack would address as for calling him 'nice'), Frost gave the sincerest smile you would not expect coming from said man to the young girl. Then he reached out his free hand and patted Scarlett's head benignly, making her brown hair grew untidy as he did so.
"Thank you, Scarlett."
Scarlett smiled. Despite his name as 'Frost', his hand was warm.
Really, what a very peaceful life should it continue like this for ever, Frost thought.
Where there was no boy to kill nor bloodlust to be quenched nor an organization to be cared about. A carefree life; no rules to bound him nor superior to force him to do things, where he could discover new things within the enigmatic graveyard as freely as he wanted and peoples to care as much time as he wanted to waste.
A glimpse, just a very little glimpse in his mind, where the thought of throwing his life as Jack and trade it for as Frost passed by.
Mmmh, bad I know. Jack in the real book, of course, would never, ever, think about such things. Because Mr. Frost character was pretty well-written and, heck, when he stuttered when talking about Bod's family, I thought he had some sorts of trauma in the past, and turned out that he… Oh, well, Neil Gaiman got me there.
Review guys? Advices and critiques about my horrible grammar are welcomed.