Chapter One: Winter Activities
Jack loved being out in the rural areas, where the cold lasted longer and he was more freely able to manipulate the cold around him. The space was another factor, as he had enough room to jump around and fly, bringing his frost with him wherever he went. Plus, it was always the kids who lived in the countryside that were more readily able to believe in him. And Jack loved being believed in.
What Jack didn't love was school.
Whenever Jack was in his home town of Burgess, he made it a goal to spend time with Jamie whenever possible. Come day or night, sickness or school, Jack Frost was by Jamie's side when he visited. Jack and Jamie shared a brotherly bond, most likely formed due to Jamie being the first child who believed in Jack. And that bond had grown during the two years since they had known each other. This bond, apparently, was strong enough that Jack didn't mind spending the occasional tedious day or two in school with Jack.
With the sun just beginning to lean towards the west in Burgess, Jack knew that school was almost over. And he was extremely grateful for that. With that in mind, he just smiled and kicked up his feet on the small desk, staff resting on his lap. The contact of his bare feet on the desk made a noise, and most of Jamie's class turned around to look at the source of the noise. Most of the kids could see him, and snickered, while the others frowned in confusion. Jack waved to them nonchalantly before the teacher could speak up.
"Something must have fallen over." The teacher muttered to herself before returning to the whiteboard, writing down the day's final math problems. She turned to face the students, unaware that an unwanted winter spirit had joined their class. "Okay students, who can solve these problems?"
Jack, feeling somewhat bored, perked up that. There was a sparkle in his eyes, and he smirked. Slowly, Jack raised his right hand, catching the attention of nearby believing students, and started to stutter out an "Ooh! Ooh!"
Jamie watched Jack's childish behavior and let out a small laugh, which only made the teacher's astute eyes target the small boy.
"Maybe you know the answer to this, Jamie." The teacher stated as she crossed her arms with an irritated look on her face..
"Uh . . ." Jamie stuttered before giving a glance back at Jack, who was invisible to the teacher.
Math wasn't one of Jamie's strongest subjects, and the teacher knew this. Jamie felt his face blush red in embarrassment as looked at Jack for the answer. The other children who could see Jack also turned, and Jack's smile faltered slightly. Jack shrugged at the boy's uncertainty, feeling slightly guilty for forcing the kid to answer.
"Two hundred sixty five?" Jack offered, feeling unsure of himself. Jack never went to school when he was a human, but he had a feeling that math would have never been his strongest subject either.
Without further delay, Jamie relayed Jack's answer to the teacher. The teacher thought for a second before surprisingly nodding her head in approval. Jamie let out a visible sigh of relief and sank into his chair, Jack's roaring laughter at his luck making him smile.
The class continued their work for a few minutes longer before the last bell rang off. Jack instantly jumped up, staff in hand, and landed slowly on the top of the desk. He rushed forward, jumping on the tops of the small desks faintly before landing next to Jamie. Jack put an arm around the human's shoulders, and the two friends made their way out of the classroom and towards Jamie's locker.
The halls were crazy as the children who believed in Jack Frost saw him. It was as if the very sight of the winter spirit caused a ripple of excitement through all of them. The students gave him high fives, and even someone threw a foot ball at him. Jack caught it easily, much to the amazement at unaware children as the football hovered out of thin air. Jack blew on the football, covering it in a thin layer of ice before throwing it back at the kid. The kid had trouble catching it, but was grateful just the same.
"Thanks, Jack!" The kid said before running off with his friends, happy that they could now play a game of what they dubbed, "Frosty Football" named after Jack.
"No problem." Jack said gleefully as he turned around to face the retreating kids, and then began walking backwards. He turned slightly to look at the boy walking with him. "So what's the plan, Jamie? Hockey, sledding?"
They stopped by Jamie's locker, and the kid quickly retrieved his winter coat and hat. Jack leaned against the lockers next to Jamie's, poking at the child's foot with his magical staff, and patiently waited for the kid to suit up for winter fun. Of course, Jack wasn't bothered by the cold; he had no need for warmer clothes other than his brown pants and frostbitten blue hoodie. With his body temperature at a comfortable chill of 23 degrees Fahrenheit, who would?
Jamie swung his backpack on and turned to look at the winter spirit.
"Hockey sounds good." Jamie agreed with an excited smile, but he frowned slightly as he looked out the nearest window. "But it looks like last week's snow is almost gone."
"Well . . ." Jack said slowly, gripping his staff tighter as he stepped off of the lockers. Jamie could see a sparkle in Jack's silver blue eyes, and the kid knew that the other was up to something. "I know a certain winter spirit that could possibly change that."
"Oh?" Jamie asked with fake confusion, his voice inflecting higher. "And who might that be?"
Jack smirked, "I'll give you a hint."
And with that, Jack sprinted down the emptying halls, barely touching the ground with his bare feet. He held his staff at an arm's length away, using the staff to lighten his weight and speed himself up until he was as fast as a gush of wind. With a couple twists and turns through the small school, Jack pushed the front doors open with a harsh shove and finally stepped outside into the melting winter day.
Jack only caught a quick glimpse at a few children playing in what snow that was there before leaping up into the air. Jack opened his arms up, and used his staff to fly to the top of the three story school building. He deftly landed on the rooftop, leaving frosted footprints in his wake and stared over the small town of Burgess.
Jamie was right; his handiwork from last week was already melting away. And with December just a couple days away the thought of a barely white winter didn't sit well with Jack. He took in a deep breath, held it for a small moment, and then exhaled. The result was a small, translucent snowflake. Jack admired his work for a second before touching the falling snowflake with his staff. Before his eyes, thousands upon thousands of nearly identical snowflakes came into being, falling from the sky, and then covered the small town in a thick blanket. The clouds overhead seemed to take over Jack's work for him, and it soon gave off a trickle of small snowflakes.
Down below him, the sounds of children all gasping at once caught Jack's attention. Jack looked down and soon saw the children from school stop and stare at the falling snow. Some even saw Jack and pointed at him. They didn't move for a long minute, just enjoying the pretty sight. The collective silence wouldn't last though, as the children's excitement broke like shattered glass.
Jack couldn't help but laugh as a snowball fight was inevitably started just below him in the school yard. Jack hopped down onto the ground with a small spring in his step and hastily joined the ensuing fight. Children who could see him soon decided to make the winter spirit their walking target, while the few clueless children continued to wildly throw small balls of snow.
Jack easily dodged all snowballs thrown at him, dancing around the children. A few kids had good enough aim to land a couple on Jack, but Jack was just too fast for most of the kids. However, soon most of the kids turned on Jack, and it became a seventeen on one, making Jack the children's easy prey.
"Okay guys, this is where it gets serious." Jack said with a wide smile as he bent over and scooped up a handful of wet snow. Before Jack could chuck his snowball at the nearest bundled up kid, a tightly compacted snowball hit the back of Jack's head, making the Guardian cringe slightly. He turned around, only to see Jamie standing ten feet away with his hockey stick in hand. Jack stared at him, almost accusingly. "What?"
"You still have to freeze the Pond over before we can start the game." Jamie said, fidgeting slightly as he impatiently waited for Jack.
Jack nodded and dropped the snowball in his hand. He pranced over to Jamie, only glancing back at the snowball fight to shout, "Hockey game at the Pond!"
His call was answered by a few Sweet's, a couple let me go grab my skates', and surprisingly one where are you guys going? Jack waved to the dispersing children and headed towards the Pond, Jamie right beside him. The two walked through the small town at a quick pace, talking and enjoying the new, pristine winter weather Jack had brought upon them.
"How's North doing?" Jamie asked once they reached the edge of town.
Jack made a face. "Well, you know. Probably pulling out his hair at the moment. Christmas is in a couple weeks, and the whole North Pole is a wreck. I honestly haven't been up there since October."
"I thought he's been working non-stop since you guys defeated Pitch?" Jamie asked, frowning in slight confusion.
"He has." Jack quickly stated, almost cutting Jamie off. His response was a little too quick. There was a small trace of guilt on his face, and the winter spirit sucked in a deep breath through clenched teeth before admitting. "I might have . . . accidentally destroyed a large part of the toys."
"You what?!" Jamie said as he reeled on his heels. His brown eyes were wide in panic, matching the shocked expression plastered on his face.
"Relax Jamie, it wasn't that bad." Jack said as he put his hand on Jamie's hat and patted it. "North said it was okay, and I cleaned up the mess I made. No harm done."
Jamie wanted to retort, but kept his mouth shut. If Jack said that everything was fine, then hopefully everything was fine. Hopefully. And Jamie remained silent for a long second, but he couldn't hold his curiosity forever.
"What did you do, Jack?" Jamie asked, his curiosity seeping through his voice.
Jack looked down at the younger boy and smirked. "I made one of the hallways into a giant slip and slide. Some of the yetis enjoyed it actually, but they forgot it was there when they moved some of the stock over to the hangers. It . . . wasn't pretty."
Jack grimaced, and the conversation seemed to stop at that. It wasn't long before they reached the Pond, and there were a few other kids, including Cupcake, who were already strapping their skates on. They sat on the snow, trying their laces and already picking teams. Jack smirked as he heard that he was the most debated team member. That was obvious, as he was as light and agile as the wind when he was on ice, making him the most valuable player.
Jamie joined the other kids and was already claiming the right to be team captain. There were only a few mumbles of disappointment, but that soon disappeared as they saw Jack approach the Pond to freeze it over. Jack leaped onto the pond, ice forming where he landed. He began to run the distance of the Pond with the top of his staff trailing behind his feet. In his wake was a small layer of ice four feet in diameter, and growing.
Within a moment the Pond was completely covered with a thin sheet of ice, and Jack began to double over it to thicken the coat. The kids waited, slightly awed, as Jack nimbly danced over the Pond, smiling cheekily as he did so. However, one kid in particular was eager to begin the game and he waddled over to the edge of the Pond. He didn't even notice how thin the ice still was.
As Jack had his back on the kids, a boy in a red sports jacket began stepped on the edge of the pond and tested the ice. After only a few seconds, the red jacket boy looked content with the results and started to pick up speed, prancing across the ice.
Suddenly there was a crack! The red jacket boy froze, letting out a gasp as his gaze instantly fell to the ice. There was a crack akin to a broken eggshell right underneath his feet and it seemed like his whole world fell into silence. Just as another large piece of the ice fractured, the boy felt something pull on the nape of his red jacket. He felt himself rise up into the air just as the ice gave way beneath him, screams of some of the frightened children filling his ears.
The kid looked up only to see that Jack was hoisting himself up in one hand while tightly grasping his staff in the other. Jack flew over to the side of the Pond and roughly dropped the boy just a couple feet off of the ground. The red jacket kid landed with an oof and quickly turned his attention up to Jack, Jamie and the others following suit.
Jack was still floating in the air, looking unnaturally upset at the kid. His mouth was set into a thin line, forming a frown, and his eyebrows meshed together, displaying how angry he was. Another silence fell over the kids and they looked up at Jack, slightly scared from seeing his nice misdemeanor change right before their eyes.
"You could have gotten yourself killed!" Jack shouted as he finally fell back down to solid ground. He crossed his arms and stared down the kid he had just saved. "Do you know how dangerous thin ice is? You could have drowned to death in that pond!"
The poor kid looked up at Jack. His eyes were wide and found his mouth unable to function. However, Jamie was quick to react and he put a hand on Jack's nearest shoulder. The contact between the two seemed to extinguish Jack's sudden anger, and the winter's spirit's hard gaze softened until he was too embarrassed to make any eye contact with the children.
"It was just a mistake, Jack." Jamie said softly, defending his friend.
That seemed to make Jack hunch his shoulders in embarrassment, and he turned away. Jack nervously brought a hand up to his hair and ran it through his perfectly white locks. It was obvious that Jack realized his mistake in his outburst and he wasn't comfortable with it.
"Look I'm sorry. It's just . . ." Whatever words Jack was trying to form wasn't capable of leaving him.
Jack sucked in a deep breath and turned to look at Jamie, one of his closest friends. Jamie looked back at Jack, his eyes telling the winter spirit that he was confused, and wanted to know the truth. "It's just that I fell through the ice on this same exact pond three hundred years ago and died." Jack's brain finished for him. But he couldn't tell his close friend that. Not yet.
Jack let out a sigh and forced a smile as he turned to look at the others. "It's just nothing. Let me finish coating the Pond, and then we can start."
None of the kids argued with the Guardian. They waited for him to coat the Pond with ice for a few more times before he declared the Pond ready for skating. After some hesitation, the kids flooded the Pond, racing around with Hockey sticks flailing. Jack wasn't as quick to fall back into his care-free façade as thoughts of his death hundreds of years ago still lingered in his mind.
But with a shout from Jamie, Jack snapped out of it and joined the Hockey lineup with the least amount of players, using his staff as a hockey stick. Cupcake pulled out a hockey puck from her pocket, kissed it, and the game began without further delay. Jack's outburst was soon forgotten, and he and the group of kids were fully into the game. Time passed, and soon the air was filled with Jack's bellowing laugh.
Hours later, they were just beginning their second game. The sun was now closing in on the horizon, and the cool air grew to a chilling level. Of course, Jack didn't even notice the temperature change, but it was beginning to take its toll on the children. It wasn't long before Jamie started shivering, chattering his teeth as he did so.
Sooner than later, Jamie's mom shouted for her son to come home. Jamie reluctantly went, followed soon after by the rest of the children.
"Goodbye, Jack!" One of the children said, waving as he made his way back into town.
Jack waved back, heaving a sigh soon afterwards. Now he was alone, and he would be until tomorrow afternoon. He put one hand in his hoodie pocket and kicked his staff up and caught it with the other. With a jump, Jack landed onto a tree branch and sat down, his back resting on the trunk. Jack let out another sigh before closing his eyes, resting them.
With nothing else to do, Jack fell asleep.