"Come on, Jamie, cheer up," said Jack.
Jamie just hugged his pillow and didn't look at the winter spirit. It wasn't that he was angry at Jack. No, his anger was reserved for another. And it wasn't like he didn't appreciate Jack's attempts at cheering him up. He just wanted to sulk for a little while. Then he'd get over it.
"Hey, come on. It's not so bad. Hey, how about I take you ice fishing instead, huh? I know it's not the same as going with your dad, but it can still be fun," Jack said.
Jamie genuinely appreciated Jack's attempts at cheering him up, but could tell that Jack was missing the point. "You don't get it, Jack. Ice fishing really isn't that fun. It's a lot of sitting around and waiting."
"Then why would you even want to go to begin with?" asked Jack.
Jamie explained, "Because it's not about the fishing itself. It's about who you go with. It's about the time you spend with them. I mean, how would you feel if your father said he'd do something with you, then decided he didn't want to, and just didn't show up?"
Jack's expression was sympathetic, but he shrugged. "I can't say I'd really be that surprised, considering my father died some three hundred years ago."
Jamie was taken aback. "What?"
"What are you talking about?" asked Jamie.
"My father dying three hundred years ago?" asked Jack, with a fair amount of uncertainty, like he wasn't sure that was what they were talking about.
"But . . . but Santa! I thought Santa was your father."
Jack laughed. "North? My father? Good one!"
Jamie flushed. "I wasn't joking. I really thought Santa was your father."
"And I'm pretty sure that just got you on the Naughty List, Jamie, but don't worry. You're in good company." Jack told him.
"What? Naughty List? Why? It would make sense that Santa was your dad! And I'm not the only one who thinks that!"
"Wait, what, what, what?" Jack asked with alarm.
"I'm not the only one who thinks that," repeated Jamie.
Jack stared at him, for once lost for words.
"All the other kids think that too! Cupcake, and Monty, and Claude –"
"Wait, all of you think Santa's my father?"
"Yes!" shouted Jamie.
Jack gave him an incredulous look. "How the heck did any of you guys start thinking that?"
"Well, we just figured it made sense," Jamie told him.
"In what way?"
"Well, you're both winter Guardians, right?"
"In a manner of speaking, I guess."
Jamie continued, "And Santa lives in the North Pole! And you live in the North Pole!"
"No I don't," Jack said.
"Nope. I don't."
"Well . . . well we thought you did. Why don't you?" Jamie wanted to know.
Jack shrugged. "Why don't you?"
"Because I'd freeze to death there."
"Touche. Though seriously, I don't live there because, well, it's not my home."
Jamie was curious. "Well, where is your home?"
"Nuh uh, I'm not letting you get off topic that easily. Why else did you guys think North was my dad, Jamie?"
"Well, because you guys look alike!" Jamie said.
Jack was affronted. "What? We do not!"
"Oh yeah you do. You've both got white hair –"
"His is white because he's old!"
"But dark eyebrows. And bright blue eyes. And your faces look alike too!"
"You can't see his face underneath that big bushy beard!"
"Well the parts you can see look like yours!"
"No they don't!"
"Yes they do!"
Jamie watched Jack flit around the room, more like the Tooth Fairy in nervous mode than his own usual carefree gliding. And he realized that Jack seemed a little upset about this, which made Jamie feel a little bad. He hadn't meant to do that, or start an argument. Jack had been trying to cheer him up, and he repaid him by reminding him that his father was dead. Jamie even understood why the idea of Santa being mistaken for his father upset him. Even though it would be cool to the extreme to have a dad like Santa, Jamie wouldn't trade his own father for Santa. And even though his dad let him down sometimes, it was still better to have him around when he actually came than to not have him at all.
"Sorry Jack. I just thought North was your father. It made sense in my head."
Jack calmed down a bit and perched on his desk. "Hey, no worries. But you should probably let your friends know the truth. I don't know how old Santa will react if you he finds out people actually think I'm his son."
"I don't think he'd mind," said Jamie.
Jack shrugged and Jamie thought he looked almost scared. He decided to drop the subject, but only after getting one more word in.
"You're like the big brother I never had. The coolest big brother ever. I'm sure Santa would be proud to have a son like you."