He had dreaded this day. He had dreaded this in his almost four hundred years of existence. His heart clenched with pain—he was in agony.
"Jack...I," the old man croaked, but his words turned into hacks and coughs.
Jamie Bennett didn't have any more time.
"I believed. I've never stopped believing. Never in all these years."
Jack squeezed his friend's shrivelled hand tightly, shushing the man.
One last shuddering breath. He simply couldn't speak.
His bony frame shook, his heartbeat slowed, and life had left him.
Jack bowed his head in a silent prayer, begging to anyone, anything would take Jamie away to a better place.
He didn't even notice his tears.
The winter spirit didn't turn around, assuming that it would be another person who didn—
No one else had entered the room, not since Jamie's son wished his aged father a good night several hours.
Another subtle cough, followed by a polite statement.
"I came to collect one Jamie Bennett's soul."
Jack turned his head toward the voice.
The man was young—more a teen, to be exact. No older than Jack himself, but from centuries of existence, Jack had learnt not to judge a book by its cover.
Even behind the foggy, ill-fitting glasses, the man had the brightest green eyes that Jack had ever seen.
Polite (British, of course). Professional. And most of all—completely and utterly neutral.
"Death?" Jack asked cautiously.
"Something of that sort," the teenager replied with a weary smile.
There was a period of comfortable silence, where Jack processed his long-time friend's passing, and where Death silently waited for Jack.
Finally, Jack asked, "Where is Jamie going?"
"A better place."
"Will he be happier there?"
"A wise man once told me that death was the next great adventure. But I can tell you no more than that."
Satisfied by this answer, Jack turned to his friend, smiling his crooked grin with a hint of longing in his eyes.
"Then...good bye, old friend. You better tell me all about your adventures once I'm there."
There was an upward twitch on Death's lips. He looked to his right, and seemingly grabbed a child's hand.
A young Jamie suddenly came into view.
"A soul takes on the form of its happiest year after it leaves its body," Death murmured. He then glanced at Jack. "And Jamie's happiest year was when he met you."
Death turned towards Jamie.
"I'll take my leave. Jamie, won't you say good bye?"
Jamie grinned and waved to Jack wordlessly. There were no more words to be exchanged. It was time for the two to part their ways, and for one to go on his next adventure.
And for the other to find his way again in the world.
Death and Jamie vanished.
Jack was alone, once again.
There was a creak, but Jack only turned his head. A little girl entered the room, her hair mussed and eyes still clouded with sleep. "Grandpa...?" Her eyes landed on the bedside of her grandfather.
She saw him, and her eyes cleared and lit up in excitement.
Maybe he didn't have to search long to find his way after all.