Hi guys! My AP Tests are DONE! So here's a new update! My longest chapter yet!
And this chapter is extremely angsty/fluffy. I hope I didn't overdo it. But please let me know! It's the chapter many of you have been waiting for! The big reveal! When Jack tells Jane about what happened to him!
I hope you guys like it!
Also, Happy Mother's Day!
Jack healed much faster than originally anticipated.
Nearly two weeks after he was brought back from the dead, he was well enough to fly about the Pole. In the event of his swift recovery, he managed to cause a complete standstill in North's work, freeze almost half of the elves, and organize an entire scrapbook of a very peeved Bunnymund.
Yellowing bruises and fading burns still riddled his body. And his ribs ached something horrible, but he let that little detail slip.
Now that Jack was out of the water, he could go home.
As could the Bennett's.
It was a long-awaited journey, but they finally made it through the worst of it.
They said their tear-filled goodbyes, Jack promising his teammates not to worry and that he'd be back soon.
Jane couldn't say the same about her and her family. They might not ever see the Guardians again, save for Jack, their Friendly Neighborhood Winter Spirit.
But she lived with the reassurance that they were actually real, and not just a figment of her imagination. They had really been there. She'd worked with them, laughed with them, cried with them. And that fact alone was comfort enough. Even if she never saw them again.
If anything, this adventure brought their little family even closer.
So they left, North manning the sleigh, back to Burgess.
First to greet them were 5 young faces, eager and more excited than ever. When they caught sight of Jack however, all facades were broken as they ran up to encompass him in their grasps. Even stoic Cupcake was bawling.
Jack awkwardly tried to return the hugs, consoling the children to the best of his abilities.
"I'm alright!"He told them with a smile. "See? Nothing's wrong."
He refrained from telling them the full truth. The truth of his death and revival. They didn't need to hear that. Jamie was the strongest kid he knew, and even he had an extremely hard time dealing with it. No, he would spare them the unnecessary heartache.
For now it was time to play.
"Snowball fight!" He howled in the crisp, Winter air.
And the game began.
Jane watched from the sidelines, taking care to make sure that Jack didn't agitate his still healing wounds. She giggled when Jack was slammed in the face by a rogue snowball.
Hours went by. The children kept playing without taking a moment's rest. How these kids could maintain such unending energy, Jane didn't know. Those days were far behind her, now.
Finally, as the Sun was beginning its final crescendo into the horizon, the children dispersed into their homes.
Jamie and Sophie came running up to their mother and gave her a warm embrace. "Hey Mom! What's for dinner?"
Jane vaguely heard her son's question. She watched as the wayward Winter Spirit waved goodbye, and took off into the air. Before he turned away, however, Jane caught a look in the boy's eyes that she had never seen before. She furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. That couldn't go without further investigation.
"Hmm. Yes. Go ask Dad to order a pizza. I'll be right in." She smiled warmly and gave both of her children a kiss on the cheek.
"Okay!" They synchronized, sprinting to the door. A burst of warmth flooded her chest at the sight of her children's happy faces.
But the question currently at hand: what was going on with Jack?
She quickly meandered through the streets in the general direction that Jack took, searching high and low.
After nearly a half an hour of wandering past streets, parks, and shops, she began to think the search would turn up fruitless. The Sun had completely set, and the gentle haze of the Moon was taking its place.
She was about to turn back home when she saw the telltale blue of Jack's hoodie in the corner of her eye. She smiled and was about to shout his name when she noticed where they were.
Jane froze, and with wide-eyes she cautiously walked toward her charge.
Jack was kneeling, his hand extended and resting on an elevated gravestone, his head bowed.
Jane slowly approached, careful not to make a sound should she disturb him. Jack's eyes were closed, his mouth moving around hushed words. She peered over his shoulder in an attempt to decipher a name.
His hand had created a shimmery design of frost over the gravestone. It seemed as if flowers had bloomed right on the stone. Diamonds of ice spread over the marble, giving it a celestial glow. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
Through the glittering of the ice, there was only one word that Jane could see.
"This is your family?" Jane whispered before she could stop herself. She slapped a hand over her mouth, silently reprimanding herself as Jack turned to face her. "Oh Jack, I'm so sorry—"
"No, it's okay." He smiled softly, and turned back to the stone. "Yes. This is my family." He slid his hand gently over the stone, spreading more white tendrils where he touched. "They were buried together." He lowered his head.
Jane placed a nurturing hand on Jack's shoulder. "Tell me about them." She could tell that he needed it. He needed a release to all of the bottled up emotions. This was the only way she knew she could help.
Jack nodded slowly. "They were amazing. Dad, he would take me out to chop wood with him. We built our house together when I was 12." He sniffled and wiped his nose with a sleeve. "Taught me everything I needed to know, 'bout being a man. He taught me how to work. But at the end of the day, I knew he loved me. Wasn't good at showing it, but I still knew. Guess I got that from him." He smiled, pausing for a moment. "And Mom. She was remarkable. She was stronger than any woman I knew. She would get really sick, especially during the Winter. Sometimes we didn't think she'd make it. But that didn't stop her from taking care of us. She loved us, and she always made sure I stayed out of trouble." He glanced up at Jane. "You remind me of her."
Jane tried hard to remain composed as he relayed those words to her. She remembered what he said in his delirium at the North Pole. She had initially pushed it aside, concluding that Jack was simply in a post-traumatic haze. She hadn't thought he'd actually meant it. But here he was, telling her with all the sincerity in the world. She didn't know what to say.
"And my sister…" Jack swallowed, his eyes glazing. "I miss her so much. She was my best friend. She never judged me. No matter what horrible things I did. Not even when I stole that pie from the baker's window. She kept quiet, and even promised to help me eat it." He chuckled. "She even ran up to defend me when rotten Bill beat me up. We did everything together. Climbed trees, played tag, went ice-skating… She loved to ice-skate…" His blue eyes looked far away, his mouth gaped open as if in a trance.
"Jack?" Jane questioned, worry filling her tone. "What happened?"
In a split second, he snapped out of his reverie, turning to stare hard at Jane. His eyes looked desperate. Haunted.
"The Lake." He whispered.
"The Lake? What do you mean?"
"It was warm that day. Too warm. But I didn't think it would matter. The Lake always holds." Jack began. Jane was thoroughly confused. "Mom told us we shouldn't go. But I didn't listen. My sister wanted to go. I had to take her. It was the last chance to go for the season, and she was so excited. I had to take her. So I convinced Mom. Told her we'd be fine. She told us… she told us to be careful. I told her we would be. But, I couldn't help but look back one last time. I knew I had to look at her face. But I didn't know why. So I looked back. It was the last time I ever saw her."
Jane's insides grew cold. What had happened to Jack? Was he kidnapped? Was his family killed? What had happed to so emotionally damage this boy?
"So we went to The Lake. The Sun was hot. I didn't realize. And the ice... I told her it'd be okay. I told her I wouldn't play any tricks. And then I saw this." He held up his staff. "I pulled her to safety just in time." Silence. "Everything was supposed to be okay. I was supposed to be careful. We were supposed to go home and have Mom's chicken soup for dinner. Dad was going to teach me how to make snares the next day…" He closed his eyes. "I was so happy. She was safe. But I didn't know… I didn't pay attention. I was right there and the ice…"
He furrowed his eyebrows painfully, as he ran a thumb over a small portion of the grave. Horror welled in Jane's chest as she read the newly revealed words.
Jackson Overland Frost
"It was so dark and cold and I couldn't breathe and all I could hear was her screaming my name."
Jack was breathing hard. Snow fell from the cloudless sky.
Jane's eyes went as wide as they could possibly go. A hand clutched her chest as she tried to take in this new information. Jack had… drowned? Hundreds of years ago? He had lost everything, including his life, and he was still here? Her heart pounded in her ears. She looked down at the broken boy before her.
Several minutes passed before Jack was able to speak again.
"And then I saw the Moon." He turned his gaze upward. "He somehow brought me back. But… I couldn't remember. Anything." His face turned furious. "Why wouldn't you let me remember?" He screamed to the sky, which quickly became a blizzard. "I could have seen them! I could have watched after them! Told them that I was still there! I could have been their Guardian! Why did you take that all away from me? Why did you leave me here, alone, for 300 years?" His shoulders shook with sobs, and he dropped his head into his hands. But before he hid his face away, Jane caught glimpse of that look in his eyes again. They were filled with longing. Longing for something he could no longer have. Longing for something that was lost to him.
Jane wrapped her arms around his slight frame, pulling him close to her. She paid no mind to his freezing cold skin and the whipping of the wind and snow around them.
She held him as he cried, whispering soft words as she stroked his hair.
"I just want them back." He cried. "I just want them back."
"I know." Jane said. She couldn't help the tears that came to her eyes.
For a long time they sat there, in silent companionship. Jack held on to Jane for dear life, fearing that if he let go, she would also disappear.
"I'm here, Jack. Chris and Sophie and Jamie and I all love you. The Guardians love you. You will never be alone again." She promised. It was an oath she would never break.
He nodded into her shoulder. "They brought me back, you know."
Jane frowned. "What?"
"My family. When I was gone, they told me to go back. They told me it wasn't my time yet. So I came back." He raised his head to look at her. "That was the hardest decision I've ever had to make."
"Well, I'm glad you chose to stay here with us. I don't know what Jamie would do without you by his side." Jane smiled, wiping away her own tears.
"I'm glad I stayed too." Jack smiled. His eyes were red and puffy, but he smiled. A genuine smile. Somehow, he knew that things would get better. He had a new family now. Two families. And another one waiting for him. That was a lot to live for.
And in his heart, Jack had finally forgiven the Moon.
There you are! I think I still have room for a few more chapters, so stay tuned! Tell me what you wanna see! I'd love to put it in!
And also, if any of you guys have a tumblr and would like to follow me under the URL Starryeve17, then that'd be awesome! I post a bunch of multi-fandom stuff (like ROTG, LOTR, Hobbit, Avengers/Marvel/Superheroes, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Supernatural, Sherlock, and the works) if none of you mind. And I'll follow you guys all back! I love to get to know my reviewers! And if you ever need anyone to talk to, then I'll be happy to oblige!
Thanks you guys! You da best:)