A soft glow of early morning light began to barely peek over the horizon and the Bennett household was still sound asleep. A gently breeze flowed through Jamie's open window, slightly shaking the curtains, having them create dark shadows on the carpet. The small chill made Jamie shiver and grip the covers closer, pulling them to his bare chest, leaving his legs exposed and hanging off the bedside.

He was still deeply dreaming, totally undisturbed in the pristine world that his mind and Sandman created together. As he dreamed, his hair would periodically illuminated a golden hue and cast its shine on his flawless features. He looked so safe and peaceful, totally wrapped up in the innocent rapture of his mind.

The hill was huge! So big that from his spot on the sled all Jamie could see was the arch and not the flat ground below. He fidgeted excitedly with his giant snow goggles that sat lopsided on his small face and it just made them worse.

"You ready, kid?" asked a voice from behind the boy.

"You bet!" exclaimed Jamie, bouncing in his seat.

The voice came from the gangly and pale, Jack Frost, who sat behind Jamie on the sled and yanked his hat down playfully.

"You're not scared, are you?" Jack taunted, smiling wickedly at the boy.

Jamie scrunched his nose. "Are you kidding? I'm fearless!"

"In that case," Jack smirked. And before Jamie could prepare himself, Jack jerked the sled forward a few inches.

"Jack!" yelped Jamie, frantically gripping the snow with his gloves.

Jack grabbed him by the shoulders and gave him a gentile pat. "Sorry, sorry! I was just messing with you. I promise not to do it again. You aren't mad are you?" Jamie didn't look at Jack. He was too busy trying to hide his mischievous grin.

"Jamie?" Jack asked again, "You oka-AYYYY!" Jack's words turned into a sound of surprise as Jamie pushed their little sled off the hill, propelling down the slope like a bullet.



Jamie whooped and screamed and yelled and it felt like the hill was going forever. He almost tipped over when he felt Jack's body disappear from behind him.

"Jack?" the boy cried frantically, whipping his head around.

There was a wind-whipped laugh by his ear and Jamie turned to see his friend flying right by his side.

"You weren't worried about me were you?" Jack grinned.

"Fat chance!" Jamie snorted. But in truth, he was quite happy that Jack hadn't fallen off or got crushed by the sled. Because at that moment he was flying in the middle of winter with his best friend by his side.

In Jamie's dream he replayed that scene over and over. It personified all the childlike innocence that defined there relationship for so long; just being friends and having fun. That might be why he always thought back to that memory so much; it went back to the time when Jamie's life was much simpler.

Unbeknownst to the dreaming Jamie, there was another presence, a dark presence, which lingered in the air around him. It hung in the shadows and hid in the darkness corners of his bedroom, eyeing the golden trail of dream sand around Jamie's head with envy and spite. It crept toward the bedside, pulling shadow after shadow towards itself until it rose up and became a towering figure.

"Why, what do we have here?" said the figure, its black eyes hungrily following the dream as a small Jamie made out of sand slid around the real Jamie's head with a flying Jack close behind.

"You couldn't be that boy, could you? The one who said that you weren't afraid?" The shadowy figure became more human-like with a pale face with gray features. He loomed over the sleeping teen, smiling like death.

"And you have the Sandman's powers, eh?" he added, noticing the golden aura that hung in the air around him. "Yet you are not a true Guardian." His smile widened, with a look of a shark as his eyes followed the sand-Jack around and around. "But you want to be one so desperately," the creature pouted with mock pity, "To be with your love."

With a sinister expression, the figure reached out a long, pointed finger and snatched his hand outward, latching onto the image of Jack. Jamie winced with a pain that almost seemed to be physical. The sand-Jack couldn't struggle and at the figure's touch transformed into black shadow that slipped between the creature's fingers. The shadow twisted and morphed until it was a deformed nightmare with blazing eyes.

"Remind me to thank your fellow Guardians for choosing you, a weak human, to have these powers. You know what they say, 'to err is human'," the figure chuckled, his hot breath brushing Jamie's cheek. "And I hope that you do plenty of it. You might have been my downfall, boy. But now, now you are my chance at vengeance."

Sorry to kill all the romance but the plot must thicken. :) I'm sure you all know who that wonderful dark visiter was... ;)