Hope y'all are having fun because I sure am! I'm glad to hear how happy everyone was with the last chapter, makes me feel so good about it! Here's another chapter to keep the people happy! Anybody up for a game of basketball?
The meeting was soon coming to a close and Jack had been bored long before that. He was sitting on the edge of the table with Sandy floating nearby while Tooth fluttered next to North who sat in his big comfy chair while Bunny stayed close to the fire in order to stay warm. As North began to bring the meeting to an end, a yeti happened to walk past the globe room with a net full of assorted sports toys, mostly soccer balls, volleyballs, basketballs, and footballs. The yeti didn't seem to notice as a basketball from the top of the net toppled out and bounced unnoticed into the globe room. It lightly bounced against Jack's staff making the winter spirit notice the slight jostle of the staff. Jack looked down and smiled as he spotted the basketball on the floor.
It was perfect timing as North announced the end of the meeting and Jack pushed himself off of the table and bent to pick up the basketball, tossing it around in his hands. Sandy noticed and smiled as he conjured a basketball net out of dream sand a few feet away in front of Jack. The winter spirit glanced at Sandy with a playful smirk as he turned to the sand basket and tossed the ball. The ball landed perfectly through the net earning a triumphant cheer from Jack and silent clapping from Sandy. The others turned as Jack retrieved the basketball and tossed it around in his hands once more.
"Anybody up for a game of basketball?" Jack said as he managed to twirl the ball on the tip of his finger for a few seconds before catching it. Sandy waved his arms at Jack, motioning for him to pass the ball and Jack happily obeyed as he bounced the ball a few times before passing it to Sandy who aimed at the sand net but unfortunately missed as it bounced off the edge of the net, dissolving it.
"Way to go, Sandy!" Jack cheered as Sandy shrugged and moved to retrieve the ball. Jack turned to the others "So? What do you say?"
Tooth giggled, "It sounds like fun but I can't stay. My fairies need me back at the palace. You boys have fun though!" Tooth bid everyone goodbye and swiftly kissed Jack's cheek before calling her mini fairies and heading out the door.
Jack faced North and Bunny as the two haven't said anything yet as Sandy floated up next to Jack with the basketball in hand, obvious that the other two wanted to play and North smiled. "We have a court with net on lower level of workshop," he said and he turned to Bunny, "Will you be joining us, Bunny?"
Bunny seemed to consider it for a moment, "I suppose one game can't hurt."
"Yes!" Jack cheered.
"Just one game, mate. That's all I have time for."
"Good enough for me. Me and Sandy against you two?"
"You're on, mate."
Jack laughed as he flew up and hovered over the banister railing, "Hey Sandy, pass!" Sandy did as Jack caught the ball and tucked it under his free arm, "Last one to the court is a rotten egg!"
With that, Jack dove over the railing and was soon followed by Sandy, both disappearing out of sight. North glanced at Bunny, "I suppose we should catch up." North said and Bunny chuckled as the two made their way to a flight of stairs.
Jack and Sandy were already at the court bouncing the ball and passing it back and forth by the time North and Bunny arrived. The basketball court was smaller compared to other courts in a high school or stadium but was still relatively big enough to accommodate a few players and a pair of basketball nets hung from two sided of the wall across from each other. Against the other walls sat a small set of bleachers on one side and a score board hung on the other wall. Jack had placed his staff safely against the bleachers seeing as how he would need his hands free for the game.
Jack was the first to notice the others presence, "You guys ready?" Jack called out as he dribbled the ball, a playful smirk on his face.
"Let's play!" North said as he and Bunny positioned themselves on the court.
Jack laughed as he passed the ball to Sandy who had to float a few feet in the air to match his fellow teammates. Sandy dribbled the ball across the court as Bunny came up and attempted to block him. Jack called out and Sandy passed but just as Jack was within reach, North managed to steal the ball and began dribbling towards the other end of the court, laughing as he went. North passed to Bunny who began to take aim for the basket but the ball was knocked out of his paws by a sudden blur of gold. Sandy's smile was wide as he dribbled the ball down the court and passed to Jack who then jumped as high as he could and dunked the ball in the net, grasping the metal edge of the basket as the ball fell through.
"Alright!" Jack cheered as he hung from the basket with both hands, "Point for us!"
"Get down from there ya show pony!" Bunny said though he had a small smile on his lips.
Jack giggled, "You worried, cottontail?"
"Not a bit. Now get down!"
Bunny and North glanced at one another, both having the same thought as North winked and looked back up at Jack. "Whatever you say." North said as he reached up and poked Jack's side with a finger making the winter spirit let out a laugh. Jack quieted as he looked from North to Bunny and then over to Sandy who smiled yet pointed and accusing finger towards the other two as a sand exclamation mark flashed over his head along with a caution sign. Realization dawned on the winter spirit but it was too late!
"Oh yes." North chuckled as he reached up once more and began tickling Jack's side making the immortal boy squeal.
"No, no, no! Stop, no! Stop!"
"Not until you come down, my boy!"
"This -ahahaha- isn't fair! Ahhh stop!"
Jack's fingers began to slip from the net and with another tickled jab to his side, Jack released his hold unwillingly and slid down landing in North's arms yet the jolly man still continued to tickle the winter spirit while Bunny and Sandy laughed.
"Y-you said-ahahaha- you would s-sto-op! Ahahaha!"
"Not fair! S-stop hahaha! Dad, stop!"
North abruptly stopped but it took Jack a few seconds to catch his giggling breath, his face at first all smiles until he suddenly realized what he just said. Jack's smile slowly faded as North stared down at him. Upon realizing what had just happened Bunny and Sandy soon stooped laughing as they looked at the jolly old man and the winter spirit in his arms.
North set Jack down on his feet, "Jack…" he began but Jack's sudden quick movement stopped him as Jack collected his staff and only just barely glanced over his shoulder to address the others.
"I'm going to go check on Pippa." He said and within seconds he was up in the air and out of sight.
The remaining guardians watched the winter spirit leave but once Jack was gone, Bunny and Sandy looked at North who continued to stare towards where Jack had flown off. After a few moments, Bunny spoke, "Mate, you alright?"
North turned to Bunny, "Did you hear…?"
"I heard, mate."
"He said 'dad'."
North glanced down at Sandy who nodded, confirming that he heard what Jack had said as well. A snowflake and a Santa hat appeared beside each other above Sandy's head. A clock appeared and circled the two objects before all three diminished.
"Sandy's right," Bunny said, "You do spend the most time with the kid. It only makes sense he would say something like that. Be it a slip up or on purpose I don't know."
"I suppose you are right, my friend," North said, "Game is over then, no?"
"Yeah, I gotta get back to the warren. Eggs and all."
"Yes, see you next time then."
Bunny tapped his foot and a tunnel appeared and just before he jumped in he said "Good luck, mate." And was gone along with the tunnel. Sandy floated up to North's height, the basketball in hand, as an image of a bed and the letter Z formed and North nodded.
"You have yourself a good night, Sandy." North said and Sandy nodded as he handed the ball to North and floated away and was soon out of sight.
North sighed as he glanced down at the basketball in his hands. One moment they were having a great game and the next Jack had said that one word and within seconds it was all over leaving North standing alone in the basketball court. With another sigh, North began to casually dribble the ball as he turned to face the basket. He held the ball up and took aim as he tossed it and the ball bounced into the net and fell through hitting the floor with a series of thumps. It soon came to a stop against the wall and North left it where it was as he turned and began heading out of the room and wandered elsewhere into the workshop.
Jack had flown off as fast as he could, not wanting to stick around any longer for a supposed awkward moment or something worse. He didn't know what was worse at the moment; all he knew was that he had to get away for a while, to be alone. Well not entirely alone, he still had Pippa but he just had to avoid North for a while was all.
What was he thinking? Had he even been thinking at all when it happened? He didn't think so, it just came out. Did he really mean to say it? Jack did not know what it was like to have a father, if that's even what he considered North to be. He really didn't know. Some of his memories were still pretty vague but so far he still can't recall having a father or a father-like figure in his past life. He liked North well enough but what did he feel towards the man who had given him a place to stay and call home? The man who had provided him with everything he would ever need.
Jack shook his head to clear his mind of the thoughts as he reached his room and opened the door. Everything was just so confusing; he didn't know how to deal with it entirely let alone want to deal with it in the first place. Instead Jack focused on Pippa as the wolf pup greeted him at the door, whining and yipping at him happily. Jack stroked Pippa's head as he calmed her and once she calmed, Jack patted his knees signaling Pippa and the pup jumped into the winter spirit's arms.
Jack took Pippa first to her spot in the stables to relieve herself and once that was done the pup followed Jack at his heels as he headed towards his window sill to sit, grabbing a book from the library on the way. Once at the window sill, Jack sat down comfortably with his legs up on the sill and his back against the wall, Pippa jumped up and settled herself next to the winter spirit's side. Jack placed a hand on Pippa's head casually stroking it as he leaned his staff up against the wall and placed the book on his lap, opening the cover and to the first page. The day had turned to night as it began to get late and Jack was content to read by the moon's bright beams with Pippa beginning to fall asleep beside him. Soon Jack was beginning to feel the same and after running around all day and then the basketball game leading to the awkward 'dad' drama had left him feeling tired and his energy sapped. Jack closed the book he had been reading, taking a moment to save the page he was on, and he glanced out the window at the snow-capped mountains and valleys as his eyes began to get heavy and close.
The work day was finally finished as North began closing up the workshop and was prepared to get ready for a relaxing sleep. He was about to head to the kitchens for a few cookies and milk when he spotted Jack on his windowsill, fast asleep. Jack's staff leaned against the wall and a book lay on Jack's lap with Pippa at Jack's side, the pup also asleep with her head against Jack's stomach. North took a brief moment to gaze at the sight before him and then smiled as he walked over, carefully and quietly taking the book and setting it aside yet the small movement woke Pippa as she lifted her head and blinked tiredly. North chuckled quietly as he reached over and lifted the pup up from the sill and setting her down on the floor. He then turned back to Jack as he carefully slipped one arm under the boy's knees and the other around his shoulders and slowly lifted him up. North had to shuffle Jack slightly with the boy's legs over North's wrist so as the jolly man's hand was free to grab Jack's staff leaning against the wall.
With the boy undisturbed in his arms, North turned and began heading towards the bedrooms with Pippa following close behind. North managed to ease open Jack's bedroom door as he stepped inside and placed Jack's staff against the head board of the bed. He lifted a corner of the blanket away as he lowered the winter spirit onto the bed, making sure not to jostle or disturb him in any way and pulled the covers back around to cover the boy. As North tucked in the sleeping Jack, Pippa stood on her hind legs to stand against the bed with her front paws and glanced over at Jack. She lowered herself back down to the floor and bent her legs just enough so as to jump onto bed, her hind legs almost making it as they scrambled against the covers to work her way all the way up onto the bed.
North quietly chuckled as Pippa moved up and settled herself next to Jack's side, placing her head on his stomach once more. "Just this once then." North whispered as he stroked Pippa's head and turned to leave the two to sleep, the jolly man also needing a good night's rest. North quietly headed out of the room, leaving the door slightly ajar as he headed back to the window sill and picked up the book Jack had been reading. North was curious as to what Jack had been reading now as the boy must have gone through almost every book in the workshop by now.
The title of the book read 'How to Speak Russian'
North knew that Jack had wanted to learn Russian only by the means of training and commanding the wolf pup but this book was not on dog training and commands. This was a book on speaking fluent Russian. North noticed a piece of paper sticking out through a few more pages and he turned to the page finding a guide of simple greetings and phrases. North assumed that this must be the page that Jack had saved right before he fell asleep. North did not know if Jack was trying to teach himself the language or if this was just morbid curiosity but either way the jolly man was happy that Jack seemed to have an interest in something from North's culture. Closing the book North walked back to Jack's room and quietly stepped back in and the winter spirit and wolf pup were fast asleep earning a small smile from the jolly man. North quietly placed the book on the bedside table next to the bed and carefully moved his hand so as to brush a few strands of snow white hair from Jack's face. The boy did not even stir.
Smiling, North turned and made his way back to the door and just before he walked out, he glanced over his shoulder at the bed and whispered "Goodnight… son."
Oh snap guys! I bet y'all liked that! To be honest I know nothing about sports but this was irresistible! See ya next time!