Hi all, thanks so much for the reviews/favorites/follows! I know I promised this chapter to be up sooner but I caught a cold and thus, I couldn't update until today. Sorry.
I just watched Rise of the Guardians (which was awesome by the way) and only now did I realize that Jamie has a sister named Sophie. You will be seeing her in the story but in future chapters.
I apologize in advance for any grammatical/spelling mistakes.
To Be a Guardian
Jack Frost grinned as he admired his handiwork.
Snow enveloped the entire college campus, the usual dull red of the buildings' rooftops buried underneath a fresh, white blanket. Bare trees were made beautiful once again as their branches became encased with white powder. Everywhere, white flurries that haven't already made their homes on buildings, trees, or lampposts drizzled down on students and professors, tucking themselves in between their clothes and hair and of course, nipping at their noses.
Even college kids loved snow days.
Out of a corner of his eye, Jack could already see a couple of teens shielding themselves from incoming snowballs from early arrivals. If he didn't already have an appointment with another kid, he would've joined in and made frozen slushies of them all.
Jane grumbled as she steered the car into the driveway. Her day had started with a wake up phone call from Jamie's school announcing its cancellation thanks to heavy snowfall. At the news of a snow day, Jamie celebrated. At Jane's suggestion of staying home to care for him, however, he folded his arms and looked away.
"I'm not sick," he said, "just broken." Jane knew he wasn't just talking about his arm, but now wasn't the time.
Jane pressed on. "What do you want for breakfast? Porridge? Do you need an extra blanket?"
Only when Jamie remarked that he'd get warmer without her in the house did she finally give up and leave.
But as she drove towards the university, whomp! Another surprise snowfall greeted her windshield and it was then that her phone decided to ring. Rolling her eyes as soon as she saw the caller ID, she hit the reject button; she could see with her own eyes that class was cancelled. Cursing at the weatherman and at her professors for not calling earlier, she turned around and headed home.
"Jamie!" she called as she opened the front door. "I'm home!"
Only the wind answered.
Dropping off her books in the kitchen, she walked towards Jamie's bedroom and knocked.
"Jamie? Are you in there?"
Jane sighed. Maybe the time was now.
"Jamie…listen. Sorry about yesterday. What I said was stupid, rash, and immature. I'm not going to lie though. I still can't believe in them, the Guardians. But I guess I should've at least tried to understand. I don't want you to see me as another bully. I'm your sister and your guardian and I'm sorry I haven't been living up to either title."
Jane decided that Jamie was either sleeping or still angry. Probably the latter, she thought as she headed back towards the kitchen to prepare lunch.
Thirty minutes later with a tray of soup in hand, Jane approached Jamie's door and knocked again. "Jamie, lunchtime."
But she might as well have been talking to the door.
With an exasperated sigh, Jane kicked the door lightly. "Is this the silent treatment? All right, I get it. I know I deserve it. But can you at least open the door and get your lunch? Heck, you can just grab the food and go. I'll even let you slam the door in my face."
"I'm not opposed to breaking down the door." Jane tried not to calculate how much it would cost to fix it.
"I'm giving you three seconds," said Jane, taking a step back when Jamie failed to respond. "One…two…" It was then that she realized she hadn't even tried the doorknob.
"Three?" she asked when she turned the knob, allowing the door to open without resistance. She sighed with relief as the calculations in her head disappeared.
"Jamie?" Jane asked as she stepped into the room.
Her breath hitched as soon as her eyes landed on Jamie's bed. She wasn't even aware of the tray slipping from her fingers and crashing onto the floor. The hot liquid and broken ceramic that pierced her feet were nothing compared to the tightened pain in her chest when she found that Jamie's bed was empty.
Jamie panted as he struggled to suppress his breathing. Though he had taken shelter behind a tree, his loud gasps and his visible breaths as he exhaled in the cold air were enough to alert the enemy of his hiding spot. He got into a crouching position as he slowly peeked around the tree trunk. He'd have to rely on his legs for a quick escape; his arm already gave him a disadvantage.
But who says a broken limb can stop you from having fun?
"Oof!" exclaimed Jamie as a snowball hit him in his shoulder.
Apparently not Jack Frost.
The winter sprite laughed as he rained another round of snowballs towards Jamie, careful to avoid his bruised face and left arm. The glimpse of white at the corner of Jamie's eye sent him running towards the next safe zone. He slid behind another tree just as another snowball barely missed his foot.
"C'mon, Jamie!" said Jack, as he rolled another snowball in his hands. "I know you can do better than that, even with both arms broken!"
Jack slowly walked forward, his smirk growing wider as he approached the tree, snowball poised and ready.
Laughter followed the satisfying sound of snow slapping against skin. Unfortunately for Jack, the only sound he could make was a surprised muffle as mouth filled with snow. He felt his staff slide from his hand before spitting out the mushy, cold content.
Though bewildered, Jack couldn't help laughing as he put both arms in the air, staring at his staff which was pointed at his neck like a sword. Grinning with snow-drenched winter clothes and hair, Jamie slowly let down his arm and held out the staff for Jack to take.
But before Jack could retrieve his staff, a distant wailing stopped him.
Jamie heard it too. "Sirens?" he asked as he looked wildly around him.
Jack swiped his staff from Jamie and flew to the tallest tree in the vicinity. Perching on a tree branch, his eyes scanned the neighborhood for flashing lights and speeding vehicles.
"What do you see?" asked Jamie from below.
"Police cars, heading this way."
"To the park?"
"No, to…" Jack's eyes widened. "To your house, Jamie."
"He's twelve years old, brown hair, brown eyes," Jane quickly explained, making frantic hand gestures with every other word. Her heartbeat hadn't stopped escalating, even until now. She was shaking as she spoke to the police officer and she knew it wasn't due to the cold. "Last time I saw him this morning, he was wearing a long-sleeved shirt with green sleeves and checkered sweats. I've looked everywhere! He's not in his room, not in the house, not in the backyard-"
"Ma'am, please slow down," said the officer as he held out a hand to stop Jane. "We'll find your brother, rest assured. Now does he have a favorite place he likes to visit? Perhaps a bookstore or an ice cream shop?"
"I told him to stay inside today, but even then, he'd always consult me before going anywhere. AND I JUST SAID HE WASN'T IN THE HOUSE!" Jane resisted pulling out her hair when she saw a couple of officers trickle out of her home. They were wasting precious time.
"Ma'am, you still haven't answered-"
"For Pete's sake, I told you he's injured! He knows better than to wander off with a broken-"
At Jamie's voice, Jane's entire body seemed to stop functioning. Her heart, her shaking, even her hands froze at her sides. She had only turned her head for a few seconds before her feet suddenly remembered how to move, propelling her towards the boy wearing a long-sleeved shirt with green sleeves and checkered sweats.
"Jamie!" Jane slid in front of her brother and pressed her gloved hands against his forehead. "Are you all right? Are you hurt? Your eye's swollen! Oh wait, that was yesterday…oh my goodness, yesterday! Jamie, I'm so sorry about yesterday! What if you were…and the last thing I said to you…"
Jamie cried out in pain as Jane pulled him into a crushing hug.
This was never supposed to happen. Jane could feel the police's eyes piercing through her skull, judging, disapproving. A careless adult. Irresponsible. Unfit to be a legal guardian. Jane didn't even feel justified in calling herself a sister anymore.
She squeezed Jamie tighter. If they deemed her unworthy to care for Jamie, he would be taken away. She was not going to let that happen. Not again.
Jane sighed as she reluctantly let go. She struggled to control her breathing which was threatening to turn into hiccups. Don't let him see you cry, Jane told herself. She was a guardian and therefore a role model. She must stay strong at all times.
Jane slowly exhaled and wiped off the last of the tears before turning to face Jamie.
"Don't ever do that again." Jane hoped her face wasn't red. "Please."
"Young man," said the police officer as he approached the two. He was the same man Jane had been speaking to. "A word."
"No!" Jane scrambled to her feet and stood her ground before Jamie. "Y-you're not…you're not taking him away."
"Miss, do not worry. I only wanted a word. Shouldn't take more than a few minutes."
Jane took another deep breath and glanced down at Jamie before looking back at the officer. "All right." Jamie stared as Jane removed herself from the front yard and into the house.
Jamie looked at the tall police officer standing before him. He wasn't afraid nor intimidated, just slightly confused.
"Jamie, right?" asked the officer.
"Jamie, do you think Jane is a good guardian? Do you think she takes good care of you?"
Yesterday's events were still fresh in Jamie's mind, all of it.
Just put a lid on it already!
Go cry to your Guardians.
But that wasn't all.
Who works day and night, during weekends, during school breaks to pay for the roof over your head? Who wakes up early each day to drop you off to school before driving to her own classes? Who stays out late instead of hanging out with friends so that you can play with your own?
"Jane," said Jamie, nodding. "is a great guardian."
"How did you get that bruised eye and broken arm? Does your sister beat you?"
"NO! Jane would never-"
"Then why did you run away? Your sister gave you specific instructions to stay inside the house. Yet, you chose to disobey."
The walkie-talkie on the officer's belt started to cackle. The officer stole a quick glance at his waist before bending down to match Jamie's height. "A warning, Jamie. You can't keep running off like this. It makes your sister look irresponsible and when that happens there's a possibility you could be taken away from her. You don't want that, do you?"
Jamie sighed. "No."
The officer nodded and patted Jamie's head. "Be good."
He then stood up and called to the rest of his team before walking towards his car and driving away.
Jane folded her arms and stood before Jamie in the kitchen. "So…where were you? I specifically told you to stay inside today. What on earth could you possibly be doing outside with injuries like that?"
Jamie's eyes hardened then locked with hers. "Not telling."
"You wouldn't believe me."
"If you won't talk, you're not going out of the house without my supervision."
Jamie sighed. "Snowball fights with Jack Frost. Happy?"
Jane closed her eyes and looked down, thinking back to her unheard apology in front of Jamie's door. How could she possibly even begin to understand when she didn't believe?
"Thought so," said Jamie as he got up and headed towards his room. "Does that mean I'm still grounded?"
Jane bit her lip and didn't answer, her eyes still on the floor.
"Fine, then." Jamie paused in front of his door. "Just do both of us a favor next time. When I say you won't believe me, at least believe that statement. That way you don't have to hear my realities you call nonsense and I won't have to be forced to accept yours."
Jane winced once she heard the slam of a door.
"Grounded, eh? For how long?"
Jack hung his head as he balanced himself on his staff in front of Jamie's bed. "Sorry. I should've have taken you out."
Jamie shrugged. "I was the one who complied. I didn't want to be cooped up inside the house. Guess I didn't have a choice either way with the turn of events. I just didn't know she'd be home so early from college. It wasn't your fault."
"Actually…" Jack gave a nervous laugh.
"Does your sister happen to attend Gerrad University?"
Jamie groaned but his eyes were playful. "You didn't."
"Whoops." Jack grinned sheepishly. "Can't resist them snow days, kid. Even college kids love them."
"Do they have courses in how to have fun in Gerrad? That should be the first thing in her schedule. I can be her professor."
"But she doesn't believe in you."
Jack stopped grinning. He hopped off his staff and dropped to the floor, his back facing Jamie. "I know."
"Sorry," said Jamie quickly. "I didn't mean to-"
"No worries. How old is she?"
"Figures. Once you hit the high teens, you stop believing."
"Not me. I'll never stop."
Jack turned and smiled at Jamie. "I know you won't."
The two passed a few seconds in silence before Jack said, "I still shouldn't have taken you out. I'm not supposed to interfere with your sister's orders."
"Like I said, it's not your fault. I didn't tell you she told me to stay inside today. But I don't understand; it's just a broken arm. Heck, if I get so much as a paper cut, she makes a fuss."
"I guess it's her way of making sure you're safe," said Jack as he sat down next to Jamie. "After all, she is all you have left without your mother and father."
"But she's not my only guardian." Jamie stared at Jack. "She can't see that…but you can always help her to."
"Yeah, 'cause North is gonna love that. We discussed this already; you know why I can't." Even so, Jack lost count how often he wished he could help, just not kids, but everyone to believe. Teenagers. Adults. Those who often forget that magic existed.
Jack and Jamie both lifted their heads when they heard Jane's footsteps approach the bedroom. "Jamie," said Jane from behind the door as she knocked. "Dinner."
"Later," said Jack as he hopped off the bed and headed towards the open window before leaping out. Jamie ran to the window just in time to catch the winter sprite in the bright glow of the moon as he called for the wind to take him home.
I know Jamie may be a bit OOC but this is what I picture him as if he had someone like Jane in his life with his current situation. Speaking of Jane, I hope you will come to like her as her character develops but keep in mind that Jack is also a main character in this. Not just Jane.
By the way, Gerrad University is just something I made up. It's not real (at least I don't think it is.)
To my guest reviewers:
Mostly ghostly: What happened to Jamie's parents and Sophie will be revealed in future chapters. As for Jack Frost…well…I believe now you know. (:
Guest: Your wish is my command.
Pickle: Thanks! I hope I won't disappoint.
Yho: Your wish is also my command.