Jamie slumped over his desk, methodically tapping his pencil against the wood. His teacher was droning on and on about some revolution in Mexico, and he really couldn't find himself caring. American History was never his strong point, and he could not understand for the life of him why a sixth-grade curriculum included several mass executions and a civil war in Texas. Shouldn't this be a high school thing? He sighed, propping up his head with his hand. At least this class was the final one of the day, and then he was out for Friday.

He spared a glance out the window and smiled slightly. It was snowing lightly, tiny flakes drifting to the ground in an almost hypnotic pattern. If Jack were in town, it'd probably be falling faster and heavier, but the small scale of the snowfall probably meant he wouldn't get into Burgess until later that night. Jack was in the northeast United States at least; the snowing itself proved that. Jamie sighed. He'd hardly seen Jack all winter. The older boy was always somewhere else, "doing his civil duty as the spirit of winter," or whatever he had said.

But all that was about to end, for Jack had promised to be in Burgess that very weekend and all through Christmas break, which would begin the middle of next week. Jamie could hardly wait for the chance to see his friend again. He and Sophie practically counted down the days until he arrived. They were going to go sledding, have snowball fights, all the winter jazz. It was going to be great, and it would take Jamie's mind off of some things going on at home.

Until then, however, he was stuck in a class he was nearly failing, unsuccessfully attempting to translate the dull words of his teacher, Mrs. McMahon, into something that made sense. Jamie sighed and forced his eyes open for the thousandth time. Class was almost over, at least.

"...the Texan rebels then convinced Santa Anna to sign over the rights to Texas, but when Santa Anna returned to the capitol, he tried to tell the Mexican government that he was forced into the negotiation and to annul the contract. The government refused, and Texas would be its own independent country for the next nine years which we'll talk about on Monday."

Mrs. McMahon switched off the overhead showcasing the notes and the class let out a collective held breath as they began packing up their things. Jamie stretched his arms and shoved his empty notebook into his backpack, getting ready to book it out the door the minute the bell rang. His teacher, it seemed, had other ideas.

"Calm down, calm down!" she instructed firmly. "Class isn't over yet. There is still something I'd like to go over with you all."

The class groaned and disappointedly settled back into their seats, grumbling amongst themselves. The teacher paid no attention and continued, "As you may have heard from some of my past students, every year I assign an ancestry project over Christmas break. Your job is to research the history of your family and give a report on it when we come back from vacation."

Jamie moaned along with his peers. Homework over break? What kind of society was this? Chances were good that it would cut into his free time hanging out with Jack and his other friends.

The bell rang just then and the twelve-year-old sighed, grabbed his bag, and headed out the door. He needed to pick up Sophie from the elementary school and walk her home, and then he was free for the weekend. She probably wouldn't have homework over break. Man, Sophie had it easy. He'd love to be back in second grade if it meant a lighter work load. Jamie shuddered to think of what high school would be like.

Jeez, he couldn't wait to see Jack again. Jack was around high school age (physically, at least) and didn't have to do any of this dull and boring stuff. He could do whatever he wanted, really. Jamie was jealous of that.

Sophie was waiting for him alone by the gates to her school. The eight-year-old skipped up to her brother and took his hand, asking excitedly, "Is Jack here yet?"

"No, not yet," Jamie answered. "He will be soon, though."

"We're gonna get to play a lot, right?"

Jamie nodded and smiled at his sister. "Right. It'll be great."


It was late when Jack arrived in Burgess, but he was still pretty satisfied with his timing. Sure, it was too late to hang out with Jamie and Sophie tonight, as they would probably already be in bed at this point, but they would be able to start early in the morning tomorrow and go through the whole weekend. Then there were only three days more of school until their winter break.

Jack understood the concept and importance of school, but that didn't mean he had to like it. It was hard not to feel lonely when he was unable to spend time with his believers. It brought up bad memories of his three hundred years alone. It was funny how a few days apart from his favorite kids could make him feel that way.

He dropped down into the forest near his pond, settling down on one of the upper branches of a tree. Jack figured he might as well sleep a little bit if he didn't have anything to do until morning. He leaned back and closed his eyes, eventually dropping off.

He didn't know how long he slept, but in the middle of the night he felt something poking him in the side. Jack cracked his eyes open and the minute he did, he nearly had a heart attack.

He was staring into the most nightmarish face he had ever seen.


This is the very weak first chapter of what will eventually be a family story. Very much a family story. So much family, you have no idea. No pairings, though.

...It'll get better, I promise.

Thank you for reading and please review.