Hello guys! Finally, the long waited sequel to "Living" is out! As always, I'm starting with a short first chapter, which will elongate as the story goes. Still, I wrote more than two thousand words, so it's not too short for you. I hope you like this story and that you still support me. I have added some characters of my own, on this chapter only one, but the rest belongs to DreamWorks animation. The plot is also mine, as you all know. Here comes Chapter One! Enjoy!
Jack was sitting next to the window of his room at the North Pole staring at the white landscape. He had his hood covering his white hair and he was lost in his own thoughts. It had been a week after he passed his test, a week after discovering that Jamie couldn't see him. He still felt shocked about it, and he was in a depressed state that not even the guardians knew how to help him be cheerful again. Unbeknownst to him, the four other guardians were peeking inside his room through a very thin opening of the door. With a sigh, they took retreated back to the globe room.
"He's been like that for a week, it can't be normal, can it?" Bunny said, beginning to miss the laughter and pranks of Jack, even if he were to regret it later.
"I don't understand. What could have happened between Jamie and Jack that he's been so upset about it?" Tooth asked remembering when Jack flew into the workshop after he left excitedly to visit to Jamie looking tired, shocked and utterly destroyed. She remembered how North and Bunny joked with him about being too soon for him to be back, or about how Jamie might have been asleep, and a bunch of other hypothetical nonsenses. Jack flinched, but he didn't argue or fought back. He just kept hovering slowly a few feet above the ground before going to his room and locking up inside of it. He hadn't left it since.
"We figure it out, we help Jack," North said firmly and looked at the other guardians. Sandy seconded the motion with both his thumbs up and Tooth nodded. Bunny took a step forward "I'll go, it's been a while since I last saw the little ankle biters," and afterwards he tapped three times on the ground and hoped into the hole that appeared beside him. When it closed, there bloomed a tiny flower.
"I'll go try and talk to Jack," Tooth said heading towards his room. She hoped it wasn't futile like the past times she had tried to talk to him. He would just stare at nothing in particular in complete silence. Tooth spoke and asked questions, but Jack never even turned to look at her. He never even acknowledged her presence, and that hurt the Tooth Fairy deeply. She took a deep breath and entered Jack's room. He was still by the window looking at the landscape, well, his eyes directed that way. Tooth could tell that he wasn't seeing anything. Tooth reached out her hand and was about to speak, but Jack beat her to it.
"Why is it that Jamie can't see me? Is it because I took too long? Did he lose faith in me…?" he asked in a pained voice, to no one in particular. Tooth was really shocked. Jamie could not see him? Wow, that was enough to upset anyone; and it was enough to get a usually cheerful spirit down into a heavy depression. Just remembering about when she was not believed in…
"Jack…" she started but Jack cut her off. He looked at her sternly, his eyes reflecting confusion and pain. He didn't understand… he couldn't. It just didn't make any sense. Jack looked like he was about to cry, but he was not going to do it in front of Tooth. He turned his head back to the window, as if he didn't expect an answer, and fell into a heavy silence once again. "Jack, I'm sorry," she said. She didn't really have any words of comfort. When she lost her believers, she had felt so weak and so sad. To Jack it must have been awful, not only because he lost a believer, but he lost his very first one. To anyone it would have been shocking.
Jack snorted. "Don't be. You don't have to. I knew that if I told any of you, you would just say that and feel bad because you can't do anything about it. But I just can't keep quiet anymore… I want to understand, I need to," Jack explained bitterly, his voice completely serious. The once happy and mocking voice he used to use when he spoke was gone and replaced by sadness and despair. Tooth looked down, not knowing what to do. Then, an idea came to mind: Jack helped her get her believers back; she would do the same for him. In a swift and fast motion, one that not even Jack anticipated, she flew to Jack and hugged him tight.
"We are going to figure out what to do together, Jack. That's what friends are for; we will all help you," she told him in a low voice.
"Ya' bet we'll do," Bunny said from the door frame, looking at Jack and Tooth with wide eyes and a mischievous grin, startling both of them and thus breaking the hug. Once Tooth got the meaning behind Bunny's smirk, she blushed and fluttered clumsily away from Jack. He on his depression, awe and simply shock didn't get it, but instead stared confused at Bunnymund, North and Sandy, who had been peeking in the conversation from the other side of the door. All three of them had expectant looks on their faces, and behind the façade they were feeling guilty for peeping.
"You will…?" That's all Jack could mutter in his state of shock. He wasn't exactly thinking straight, so he didn't even consider that his fellow guardians were spying on him.
"I just came back from Jamie's house," Bunny started, Jack flinched when he heard the name of his first believer, that now didn't believe. "Surprisingly enough, he seemed quite able to see me just as Sophie could. What I noticed was that there is a big, very big statue of you in the middle of the park. Don't you think there might be a connection?" he explained briefly.
"You let yourself be seen by mortal children?!" Tooth fluttered in shock. That was a silent ruled imposed on them by the Man in the Moon. They should never be seen by the children they protect. Fighting Pitch was an exception; they needed to get the children to believe once more; even Manny allowed it.
"It had to be done," Bunny said sharply, and Tooth flew away fanning her face.
Jack meditated on the rabbit's words. It was true that there was a statue, but it was forgotten as soon as he noticed he wasn't seen by the kid he cherished so much. True was too that he never considered that there could be a connection at all, but now that it was mentioned it made perfect sense. Although he still didn't know how, Jack knew it made sense; it had to, it was the only explanation and he planned to hang on to it. "Maybe it has, but I can't figure out how," Jack replied honestly and a little hopeful.
Seeing his reaction, the guardians cheered inside of them. The small steps towards recovery were already been taken, and the guardians would be there to support Jack. "Let's go to the library," North suggested and everyone nodded. Jack stood up, but he did it too fast and was about to fall face first to the floor.
Bunny saw it and he rushed to catch the boy. He made it just before Jack's nose kissed the ground and before the guardian that nipped at noses would have broken his. "Easy there," Bunny told him and Jack chuckled for the first time in the week. That made everyone smile. Bunny helped Jack regain his balance, and he did but he was still weak. "When was the last time you had a proper meal?" Bunny asked.
Jack thought about it. "I think in the party after we returned," he confessed and everyone glared at him. "I'm sorry, I'll eat now. I promise," he said raising a hand in front of him and soothing the guardians. They all nodded, but at the same time made a mental note to force some food down the kid's throat. They got out of the room, Jack walking while leaning heavily on his staff. As promised, they stepped into the kitchen before going to the library. There, the yetis prepared a nice meal for the guardians, who ate in silence.
The meal consisted of roasted chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes, Cesar salad, chicken broth, meat broth, among other delicacies and fruits, lots and lots of fruit; Tooth claimed she was vegetarian. Jack wondered how the yetis had prepared all that so fast, but he didn't ask fearing it would be rude. Even when the atmosphere had lightened up a bit, Jack was still depressed that Jamie couldn't see him. It didn't surprise anyone, but it still worried them. Jack ate a lot, even when he tried to disguise it. He hadn't noticed how hungry he was until he saw the food in front of him. He tried to keep himself calm and eat like a civilized person, and not devour the food in front of him. There were still some parts of him that he didn't want the guardians to see.
When he tasted the broth, he couldn't help remembering his mother. The broth she prepared for him when he first arrived to his home was the best he had ever had. Besides, it had the prefect ingredient that Jack had missed so much: family love. And now, remembering it, he cherished the feeling and longed for his family. He couldn't help but feel a little lonely; yes, he had the guardians and they were his family too, but he missed his mother's warmth, his father's strength, his sister's innocence. And with Jamie not seeing him… it was even lonelier. Jack had wanted to tell the kid everything about him, because he knew Jamie was a lover of the stories. He missed him.
Jack was about to spill tears right there on the table, but he controlled himself. He didn't dare look at the guardians, so he finished his meal in silence. Still, the guardians did notice Jack's feelings and his urge to cry. They wanted to soothe him, to make him feel at home, but they knew that after being with his real family they would have had to deal with being just there for him. He would need time to sort his emotions and his thoughts. They also kept eating in silence.
When everyone finished they headed to the library. Jack's mouth dropped when he saw the infinity of books that were in North's workshop. He never thought he would find so many books all in one place. North laughed as he patted Jack's back. "It's amazing, isn't it? When someone is immortal, books start collecting themselves in the shelves, some to be read several times while others to be forgotten. Now, we look for the cause of Jamie's disbelief;" he told the still stunned child and the guardians split. Tooth and Sandy, who could fly, went to the top shelves; North, Bunny and Jack stayed with the bottom ones. The shelves were infinite. They extended all the way from the floor to the ceiling in form of a cylinder. The books there were as many as the stars in the sky, and the guardians knew it would take a while to sort all of them.
North was not a naive man, and he knew his books as much as he knew about making toys. The chance of finding the explanation for Jamie's disbelief would not be found there among North's books; that kind of information was stored elsewhere, but not on the workshop. He also knew that Jack wouldn't give up until he had read every page on every book, and he hoped it would keep him busy while the North would search somewhere else. He thought he knew the cause, and he feared it was true. Still, he didn't have the heart to break a child's heart. He would do his best to fix everything, even if it had to be done behind Jack's back, and he counted on the support of the other guardians. North made up an excuse of needing to check on the Yetis and he left the library and took to his office. There he has his own personal journal and his own resources to get information; one of them was stored inside a snow globe, or a portal, which is the same.
He threw it and he was suddenly in the top of a very high mountain. There he found himself completely alone, but he knew he was being watch. "Show yourself, for I know you are here!" North exclaimed and in front of him the landscape shivered. He thought for a moment that he was seeing a mirage, but then it took form and in front of him stood a very tall woman. She had brown hair, like the trunk of the healthiest tree; her skin was a beautiful tan and she was dresses in green leaves that formed a dress that melted with the land on her feet. Her aura was powerful and intimidating, but she also radiated warmth and love towards all living things. That woman was the personification of none other than Mother Earth.
She bowed her head slightly, as a sign of respect, and spoke with a soft voice that seemed to be the conjunction of the winds or the sound of a waterfall. Still, it didn't sound messy, but just the opposite. She was also the personification of peace, order and balance. She was a woman that reflected respect. "St. Nicholas North; I must say this is a surprise. What brings you here?" she asked respectfully.
"I have an inquiry on an important matter; I am positive that you already know what I mean;" North told her but she didn't make the slightest sign of recognition on the matter. Of course it wouldn't be that easy, he thought and sighed. "The Man in the Moon tested Jack Frost. For that he asked the Master of Time a favor. Now Jack's first believer can't see him, meaning he doesn't believe in him. I have a theory about what happened, but only you can confirm my suspicions," North finished. Mother Earth made a face.
"Why would the Man in the Moon test Jack Frost? He's an elemental;" she asked North, with the pride only she could attain. North gulped. So Mother Earth didn't know Jack was a guardian; that was wrong in many ways. Being an elemental, Jack was under the responsibility of Mother Earth and not only of the Man in the Moon. To create a winter spirit, Manny required help. North decided it would be best to get over with it.
"Jack Frost became a guardian last spring," North told her and he witnessed the reaction he wanted to avoid. Mother Earth's beautiful features turned into an angry glare, still beautiful, but now dangerous. Her powerful aura turned into a powerful and fury aura that made North flinch a bit, but he couldn't back off. He needed to find the reason of Jamie's disbelief.
"The Man in the Moon did what?! How dare he turn an elemental under my responsibility into one of the guardians without consulting with me first? That would explain a lot of things concerning Jack's change in behavior now though," she said containing here rage. She would have a long, nice talk with the Man in the Moon that night, but first she needed to take care of Jack's matter. "Why is it that you seek me for help? The Man in the Moon is responsible for the guardians, isn't he?" she said quite spitefully. North cleared his throat.
"I do not know what matters you have to fix with Manny, but right now my priority is Jack. I would like to consult with you the reason why a child would stop believing in Jack in the blink of an eye," North explained and his serious tone surprised Mother Earth. He was not being disrespectful; quite the contrary. He was doing his best to keep his politeness while being firm in his desire to help the white haired child.
"Fine, I'll help you," she finally said after a long, meditative silence. "On one condition, though," she added. North suspected it wouldn't be anything good. "I understand that Jack is under my responsibility, and I do not wish anything wrong to happen to him and that's the reason I'll help; but I am still uncomfortable with the fact that the Man in the Moon dared to step over my authority and chose him, of all the other spirits, to become a guardian. I know why he did it, I know it was a wise choice, but someone must be punished for his lack of respect. When we sort this out, I will chose one guardian to step down."
Cliffhanger! So, what did you think about the first chapter of this sequel? Do you like it? Do you hate it? Review and tell me your comments, suggestions or even questions. I was glad that some people did ask me about the ending of "Living", and I answered the best I could without giving away too much of the plot. Thank you for reading, and see you on the next chapter. Oh, and if you see any mistakes in the grammar or in some words or something, feel free to tell me.