It had been a long time since North actually went in person to listen to children's wish lists. Perhaps a shopping mall had not been the best place to go start again. He loved the children, don't get him wrong. Many of them just seemed to be in foul tempers. Many of them were also lacking in manners and nearly got moved to the Naughty List for trying to pull off his beard or insisting that his hat was wrong. Then there were crying babies and irritable parents, and some people the mall had hired to pretend to be elves for whatever reason. His real elves were better help than these fake ones who were mildly intoxicated the whole day long!
But he had to admit it was fun, despite all that. The Guardian of Wonder had forgotten how precious each and every child could be in their own way. Even the ones with three yard long lists, or the mischievous ones who pulled on his beard were precious beyond measure. He didn't realize how much he'd missed this until he started doing it again. Then for the life of him, he couldn't figure out why he'd ever stopped.
Later in the day, he noticed something a bit strange start to happen, as more and more children spread through town the news that the real Santa Claus was at the mall that day. He'd already noticed that he'd had more requests than ever before for a white Christmas. Though controlling the weather was beyond his powers, he promised each child he would do his best to make them happy that year, same as he did to the children whose lists were so long that all the toys they wanted couldn't possibly fit inside their houses. But that was not the odd part. The odd part was not even when many of them actually asked him to ask Jack Frost to bring them a white Christmas this year.
No, the odd part was that an unusually large number of tweens showed up and started using sharpies to try to imitate his tattoos. Except instead of writing "Naughty" and "Nice" on their arms, they wrote "Team Jack Frost," or "Mrs. Jack Frost." Yeah. Very weird. And on their shirts too. North really did not understand it.
But the strangest thing of all happened right before the mall was about to close. North was right about to leave when one last boy dashed inside and skidded to a stop in front of him. His eyes were wide as he looked around as if expecting Santa to have brought presents with him that very day.
"Sorry kid. Santa's finished for the day," said the fake elf, slurring his words slightly.
"Not so! Santa has time for one more boy," insisted North, sitting back down and beckoning to the child.
The child scowled and continued looking around. "I don't want to talk to Santa."
"You . . . you don't?" asked North, very startled. Not one other child had said that to him today. Even the very young ones who would normally have been afraid of being placed on the lap of a stranger had come eagerly to the Guardian of Wonder, instinctively sensing that he was safe.
"No! I want to talk to your son!"
North stared at the boy dumbfounded. "My . . . my son?"
"Yeah! Your son! Where's Jack Frost?" demanded the boy.
"Jack Frost? My son?" asked North. He still wasn't able to quite believe what he'd just heard.
"Yeah. Where is he?"
"He . . . is not here. But . . . I could give him a message if you wish," offered North.
"Tell him I want lots of snowdays this year! Lots and lots of snow days! Okay?"
"Okay," agreed Santa.
"Yeah! All right!" The boy clapped his hands then ran off.
It was only after he was gone that North realized he'd never corrected the boy's mistake and let him know that Jack Frost wasn't actually his son.
Please also check out the companion fic to this one: "Your Father" which is written from Jack's POV, and shows more times when people mistake North for Jack's father.
And if you have any ideas for chapters you want to see, drop me a line. I'm taking requests :)