Thirty-two years passed since Jamie Bennett died. Sophie had been searching, hoping, wishing, praying that the man had been reborn and chosen. About five years ago, she gave up. Though, she had lost track of time. She was unaware of how long it had actually been. The years had melded together into a blur of fruitless searching and working. She had visited her friends and the Guardians once in a while. She tried to make a point to see her family, though each time she went to visit, she noticed how much time had really passed.
It was getting worse. How she would lose herself in her work and how time no longer effected her. She ignored time's passage actively after a while. It was an accident at first. But now, she just wanted it to keep going. She knew the more time that passed, the better chance she would have of meeting Jack and maybe things would get a little easier without Jamie around.
Not one sighting of Jack.
Sophie sat in the room of a writer. She was a teenager, still quite young. She sat at her computer and wrote a story, referencing material from a book propped near her. Sophie hadn't had a chance to glance at which book it was, but it looked old, beaten, and loved. The girl was careful as she turned fragile pages that threatened to fall out of the spine. It was clear to Sophie that the girl loved this book and had it for quite some time.
Clearly, the story was most likely a fanfiction. Sophie remembered her artist friends in life would write stories like them and Sophie herself would draw fanart.
Sophie was using her magic to trace shapes of light in the air as the beloved book glowed as well as several other objects around the room. Sophie focused on the figures she created that disappeared like smoke soon after their creations. She would take a look at the girl's story once she was done writing for the night. Sophie wondered if it was a story she would recognize. Perhaps a book series from when she was still alive.
Sophie nestled herself on the bed, getting comfortable. She felt an object press against her and pulled a device out of a pocket she built into her dress. It was a palm tablet, no bigger then a phone. It use to tell the date, time, and had some applications she used to pass the time. Her brother had given it to her. It hadn't been charged since he died. The black screen reflected her forlorn expression as she remembered when her brother had given the item to her. She still had the charger, she just never bothered to charge it. Sophie pocketed it, thinking perhaps she should charge it soon, just to be able to keep up with time again.
Then, through the window, a bundle of fire phased through the glass and crashed into the floor, causing discarded clothing and books to be shoved aside. The crash went by, unheard and unnoticed by the writing girl. Once she turned around, though, Sophie knew she would notice the shift of the items at once.
Sophie was more concerned about what had just crashed. She stood up, off of the bed she was lounging on and stepped towards the figure that coughed and got to his feet.
A tiny boy, no older then four or five. His hair was a fiery crimson color with yellows and blacks streaked through. A circlet adorned his face with tassels that were dressed with feathers. She couldn't get a good look at his face. He turned and straightened his red and gold wings.
Sophie's jaw dropped. "H-Hey… kid. What are you doing here?"
He ignored her and walked up to the girl. The child climbed onto the desk, sitting close to her. His legs were kicking back and forth from his perch as he looked over what she was doing.
"Whacha writing?" he asked the girl who did not see him. She pushed her sleeves back and fanned her face before continuing. "Oh, a story? Hmmm… Hey, look at that! That book is pretty old, you know. I'm surprised you've even read it."
The boy seemed excited that she was reading it. Now, curiosity really hit Sophie. She stepped closer, eying the boy. His white and red shirt was disheveled, red-brown pants tightened at his calves and his gold sandals were in danger of being kicked off.
Sophie stopped when the boy leaned closer to the girl. He whispered into her ear and when he leaned back, she sat, looking thoughtful.
"What did you say to her?" Sophie asked.
The boy looked to her with a smirk. … What?
Then, a screech. The girl jumped back, looking right at Sophie. Sophie stood, frozen. "Who are you?! What are you doing here?! Holy crap!"
Sophie's eyes widened. "… You can see me?"
The girl stood up, completely petrified. Sophie could see this wasn't going to end well. She quickly plucked the boy from his seat on the desk and jumped out of the window, phasing through the glass. Sophie rolled into a landing, holding the boy's head close to her, making sure he didn't get hurt before she transported them to Jack's pond and dropped the boy, panting.
She looked to the child. He was smirking, his gold eyes gleaming with mischief. Her jaw dropped.
"You—What did you do?! How did you—?!"
The kid began to laugh. "Do you act like that every time someone starts to believe in you?"
"Why, you little sh—!"
"Watch you're language." He wagged his finger at her, feathers swaying from the gold bangle on his wrists. "I'm just a kid. Weren't you raised better?"
Sophie wasn't sure if she should be happy, excited, or mad. This winged child had made a girl believe in her. He didn't have to do that. And the fact that he had the ability to do so was astounding.
"Who are you?" she asked, calming down.
The boy's expression fell and he looked genuinely hurt. "You don't recognize me, Sophie?"
"… Wait. Did you just call me Sophie?" There was something familiar about him. Something that her long-since muddled memories recognized and then it clicked.
Sophie covered her mouth as she gasped and scrambled backwards. There was no way, right? No, it had to be. This was him. This was definitely him. No doubt about it.
"… Jamie?" she breathed.
The boy lit up. "Yeah!" he exclaimed, relief washing over him. "It's me, Sophie!" The child stood up, moving closer to her. "MiM chose me! And here, I thought I made him mad! I've been looking for you since I was reborn! Well… About two years after that, anyway."
It was him! It was her brother! He stood right here, right in front of her! She wasn't sure how to feel. She wanted to cry and laugh and smile and scream all at the same time. She was so excited, so elated that the man she had thought dead was actually chosen. She didn't know where to start. She there were so many questions she wanted to ask, so much she wanted to know and so much she wanted to tell. Sophie didn't know what to do or say. Her emotions and thoughts were a large jumble of everything. She had trouble organizing herself, so, she did the first thing that came to mind.
With a squeal of delight, she pulled her brother onto her lap and squeezed him tightly. "Oh my god, Jamie!" she blurted out. "You're so cute!"
"Weren't you just about to call me a little shit?" Jamie laughed, poking her ribs playfully. She squeaked and flinched away from his fingers, but held him tighter.
"That still hasn't changed." Sophie's voice was muffled into his shoulder. Tears stung her eyes. She was choking. "You haven't changed at all, Jamie." She hated how her voice cracked and betrayed how emotional she was feeling.
Jamie was quiet. He rubbed her back. "Shh… it's okay. I'm here, Soph."
The dam broke and she wailed, clutching the boy as tight as she could. Her big brother was here! She had her best friend right here, in her arms. She wasn't going to let him go. He wasn't going to go anywhere. She pulled back and held Jamie's face and was relieved to see the boy was just as tearful as she was. She brushed his fiery hair out of his face and held him by the cheeks. She couldn't get enough of him.
"You're a little kid." she sniffed, rubbing her eye.
"I've been growing!" Jamie cried indignantly. "You should have seen me ten years ago."
"You're… You're growing?" Sophie hiccuped. She didn't understand. Jamie was an Immortal now. He wasn't supposed to age or get sick or die.
"I'm a Phoenix, Sophie." he explained, brushing tears off her cheeks. She furrowed her brows, returning the favor. "I was reborn from the ashes scattered in Santoff Clausen. You remember Jack took us there, right? I told Jack to scatter some of my ashes there when they cremated me. I was just a baby. Mother Nature found me. While I could remember my human life, I knew who I was, I understood what was going on, I was unable to act on it. I was just as fragile as an infant should be. I couldn't talk. I couldn't walk or crawl. I was useless and Mother Nature told me so several times." He shook his head and snickered.
"A phoenix…." Sophie was familiar with the mythical creature. A bird with healing tears and was virtually immortal. When it died, it would burst into flame and be reborn from the ashes.
Jamie settled on her lap, adjusting his wings. "It took me thirty-two years to reach this age. I've been slowing down and speeding up kinda sporadically. It took a year to reach two, but then I stopped for a while. Kozmotis taught me a lot about being an Immortal. He's actually a really good father. He was… kind of a father figure for growing up in this kind of world."
"Kozmotis?" Sophie's eyes widened. She knew he was no longer the Boogeyman, but she wasn't certain about how Kozmotis was. She had never met him. Though, she did remember the kindness in his eyes, the worry for his daughter in his expression, the innocent confusion as to the situation around him.
"Yeah. He doesn't remember being Pitch Black." Jamie explained, nestling his cheek on her shoulder. A child making himself comfortable with his sister. She maneuvered her arms around his wings and stroked his hair as she listened to him. "He knows he did a lot of bad things. He feels overwhelming guilt for a life he doesn't recall. He sticks with Mother Nature. But a lot of the time, she had to leave to tend to her duties. So, she'd leave me with him. They both 'raised' me in a way."
"And they never thought to hunt me down and let me take care of you?" Sophie chuckled.
"Sophie. When have you ever been near a baby?"
"Excuse me? I took care of your kids while you and Laura were being lazy and sleeping."
"You sang them to sleep. And you barely know about this world as it is. You kind of avoid it all, Sophie."
She realized he was right. She blocked out both worlds, the human and the Immortal world. She was only in her own little world, bringing a little of each into it every now and again. Both worlds were confusing and mind-boggling, no matter how much time she spent in it. She no longer belonged in the human world and the Immortal world was still a stranger to her. What she learned about it was twisted and skewed from her time with Pitch.
"I'm glad they took care of me. So that I could teach you, Sophie." Jamie smiled at her. "You're hopeless without me."
Sophie laughed. "You're right, as always, Jamie. I've been a wreck without you."
The two of them spent the next few days at Jack's pond, catching up. They laughed and played and reveled in each other's company. Sophie felt the hole in her chest left with her brother's death heal, better then before.
Jamie, though, still had his own holes that needed patching. Above everything, he missed his wife and children. He wondered who was still alive and if any of them became famous and he wondered how many grandchildren he ended up with. He wondered about great-grandchildren.
When Sophie asked Jamie if he thought Laura possibly made it, the boy grew grim. He shook his head and explained that, while Laura loved children, they weren't her life. Not like how it was for Jamie. Jamie based everything he did around children and childhood. Not just his own children, but the children of the world. Though he did not reach as many children as he would have liked, he was glad he touched the hearts he did.
Jamie always believed he was a Guardian of some kind, because Jack Frost told him so. When he was eight, he made it his goal to keep his belief and to make sure others kept theirs for as long as possible. He wanted to make sure the Guardians never lost their power again.
And this was why the Man in the Moon chose to make him Immortal. So he could continue his work of keeping faith. Jamie was also there to help restore the lost belief. Children needed this belief more then anything. The world could be a cruel place, and with a little wonder and magic, it certainly would help to make it brighter for the present and future.
"So, you're, like, really important." Sophie decided.
Jamie laughed. "I don't think I'll ever be a legit Guardian though."
"You're my Guardian."
It was true. Jamie was always there for her. He was her big brother, and even if he could not be with her physically, he was there if she ever needed to call him. He helped calm down more panic and anxiety attacks then she could count. He helped her with homework and other humans that she found were hard to interact with. He was there for her first gallery opening and stood beside her when the director spoke to her. She would not have been able to respond without him there. She was so terrified.
He was there when her parents couldn't be. When Jack couldn't be. Jamie was always someone to rely on.
The next few years, they stuck close. They did their work either together or in the same town. Sophie found it hard to meet with Jamie at the scheduled time. There had been times she had been days late and finally, Jamie swiped a palm tablet from someone and found a charger. Sophie protested, but the boy shrugged it off.
"We'll be getting better use out of it then they will." Judging from the applications installed, this was true. It was probably a teenagers' tablet. They sat in a cafe and charged their tablets before installing a sort of texting feature. Jamie cleared out the apps and installed only the ones they would need.
When Sophie was able to turn hers on, there was a barrage of notifications. She had a texting application before. There were messages from her brother's family.
Hey Aunt Sophie! Miss you!
Come visit sometime!
Happy Easter! I'm excited to see what eggs you and Bunny made this year!
Muse, Mom's a little sad. Please come and cheer her up!
Hey, have you seen Dad? Jack hasn't, but I hope you have! I'm sure he's out there somewhere. I believe, I believe, I believe!
Sophie could not read them. Her eyes blurred and her heart ached. The inbox was full from the years of ignorance. Her regret came in full swing. She had seen the family every now and again, but she wished she had been to visit more. Jamie took the tablet from her and read each one of them carefully. His reaction was the opposite of hers. He smiled tenderly, traced names and grinned brightly at the sent pictures.
It had been almost forty years since Jamie died and Sophie wasn't even sure if his children were alive any more. She was sure some of the messages did alert her of passings.
"I'm sorry, Jamie." she croaked. "I haven't kept in touch with anyone. I should have. But… but I didn't want to cling to them like I clung to you."
"It's okay, Sophie." He ruffled her hair and leaned against her to show her the last family portrait. "Look, they all look so happy. I couldn't have asked for more."
"They're your legacy, Jamie." Sophie sniffed.
"Yeah, not yours. You really don't have any obligations to them and that's okay. They understand. Besides, it looks like Jack is still taking care of them. See? Jack's even in the family portrait. They're still immersed in this world in some way. Even if neither of us are there, they still have a little magic in their lives."
"You're family is getting big." the girl chuckled, wiping her nose. "I wonder if he'll be able to keep up."
"He'll keep up." Jamie assured her. "And since when were you such a crybaby?" He teased, poking her ribs. "You've been crying so much since we met, you could make an ocean with those tears. Like Alice."
"What?" Sophie furrowed her brows.
"… That's right, you've never read Alice in Wonderland. Nevermind. Just don't cry so much, okay? We've got each other." he held up his palm tablet. "We've got communication. We're not going to lose each other again. And once I teach you how to keep track of time, we won't even need them anymore."
Jamie had spent time teaching her to to follow the rise and fall of the moon. To pay attention to time zones and understand the times of day they are at and when. You could also tell the time of year, not by just the weather, but by the constellations. She never took the time to gaze at the stars. She wished she had thought to do so because the images in the sky were more beautiful then she ever imagined.
Over the years, Jamie taught her so much more about the Immortal world that she was unaware of. She had been in it much longer then he had, but he took the time to research it. He had been taught by the oldest of the Immortals. They were both even older then the Man in the Moon, which Sophie had not realized.
And soon, Sophie was able to keep track. She appeared in the Warren the day before Easter precisely each year to help Bunnymund with the eggs. Her and Jamie would visit North in his workshop before Christmas to help with the organizing of toys via continents. The Guardians appreciated their help.
When Jamie and Sophie worked together, Jamie had the habit of making children believe in her, mostly to catch her off guard and confuse her. Then, she would tell the children why they could see her and told them of Jamie. Turning the tables shocked Jamie. He was fine without having people believe in him, which Sophie thought was not fair.
But the games because a mess when they were actually in someone's house. They learned people, no matter the age, did not take well to intrusions. Gods or Mythical creatures were about as welcome as any other intruder.
As the years passed, Jamie aged. After one-hundred years, he was only in his early twenties. The siblings had each other. But they still searched for their friend and fellow Immortal, Jack Frost. The Guardians did help, or tried to. Failed attempts at reaching Jack were becoming a normal thing. They would actually be surprised if he DID arrive. They didn't use the emergency call, oh heavens no. Jamie and Sophie both insisted they didn't.
They would catch up with him eventually.
One day, Sophie said farewell to her brother. He was going to visit Toothiana. He had just brought belief in her to a group of children that had been told she didn't exist. He was going to talk to her and see if she felt it. He hadn't had the time to experiment with the Guardians and their believers. He was curious. Sophie was going to bring inspiration to a couple visual artists in an art academy.
She spent a good three hours with the artists before a flash of fire passed by the window. She recognized the flames as Jamie and furrowed her brows. They weren't supposed to meet up for another couple of hours. She wondered what he was doing here.
The man walked into the room wearing the brightest grin she had seen on him in a long time.
"Jamie, what are you doing here?"
"I found him, Soph."
A/N: This is the last chapter! It's finally done! I hope you all enjoyed it! I had fun writing it! Thank you everyone who took the time to read this, both new and returning readers. I super appreciate you all! Let me give you love and hugs!
Oh, and if you guys want to see the Reunion, there's a chapter in my Frosted Scissors one-shot collection that is the reunion~