Hello FanFinction fans! I know I've been away long, I know I have no valid excuse, I know I've disappointed some of you, I know you have been waiting for a long time. I also know that some new people have like my story because they have followed it and even followed me, and I owe you all a big thank you. If it wasn't for those who still reviewed, favorite and followed the story, then I might have never found he inspiration I needed to finish the story. I also owe all of you a BIG, BIG, BIG APOLOGY! I am so, so, so, so, so, so… so, so, so, so sorry that I didn't updated sooner. It's just that I consider the ending one of the most important and crucial parts of the story, and I didn't want to rush it. I think I made a good job, and I hope you all like it. Here we go with the Epilogue of the story that took me a long time to write! :D
Just as promised, before Jack woke up the next morning Jamie was already there. He was so excited, that he kept bouncing and running all over the place. He was going to the kitchen, to see if he could steal some of the cookies that were perpetually being made, but what caught his eye wasn't the food. On the table was Leonora, leaning her head in her hands and looking utterly… confused? Cautiously he neared the woman and gently tapped her shoulder.
Mother Earth was startled, fearing to see there the one person he was trying to avoid, but instead he saw Jamie. She let out a sigh of relief and smiled warmly, motioning at him to sit down next to her. "Good morning," she greeted.
"Good morning," he replied, a little awkwardly.
"Would you like to eat breakfast? Before Jack wakes up," she asked him but he shook his head.
"Mother Earth, why are you upset?" he asked innocently.
"You noticed, huh? I'm just a little confused, that's all."
"Well, because…" she hesitated and then she shook her head negatively. "I don't want to bother you with this grown-up stuff."
"But I want to help. Sometimes my mom gets upset too, and most of the times it's because of my dad. Could it be that you had a fight with someone?" Jamie pushed her with questions.
"It wasn't a fight… I think that I just yelled at this person from pure frustration with me, and now I don't know how to fix it because I don't know what I'm feeling," Leonora traduced in a simple language that was by far not what she actually felt.
Jamie kept quiet, thinking about the situation Mother Earth was in and tying knots. "Could it be that this person is, by any chance, North?" he finally asked. Mother Earth blushed madly; in her mind she was cursing Jack for choosing Jamie to guard, and she looked away. It's not in the nature of spirits to lie, so she decided not to say nothing at all.
"I knew it!" Jamie exclaimed. Leonora was dumbstruck.
"You… knew? What did you knew exactly?"
"Duh! I know what you are feeling," he clarified.
Mother Earth rolled her eyes. "Please, illuminate me because I don't even know it myself;" she was skeptical. How would this kid know about something that probably had to do with her thousands-of-years-nature.
"Don't underestimate me; that's the problem of adults, they always think we don't know because we're young. Well, we are also more perceptive than adults so we can actually draw accurate conclusions;" Jamie explained her in a much practiced scientific manner that he probably used with his mother and to impress his pears.
"And what would that conclusion be, young man?" She played along, still skeptical.
"My conclusion is that you feel love towards North."
If Leonora was blushing before, now she was a living tomato. "That's… not possible, I'm not going to believe it," she stuttered.
"Then why are you blushing?" the kid asked.
"Because I have this strange sickness that keep doing that to me," she said, pissed off.
"Yes, and that is not a sickness. It's called love by us humans."
"Precisely, love is something humans feel, not us, spirits."
"How do you know? Because, apparently, this is the first time you've ever felt like this. So, that would make sense in the description of love: it just happens once in a lifetime."
Leonora was surprised by the bluntness of the kid, but not only by that, but by the philosophy behind his reasoning. It made sense, in a childish and innocent way. Of course she wasn't going to break the illusion to the kid telling him divorces exist and that most of the time love doesn't really last a lifetime. And yet, she wanted to believe, deep inside of her, that it was true.
"There you are!" North exclaimed entering the kitchen with the two of them in there; Leonora nearly jumped out of her skin and blushed deeper. Jamie just sneered at her reaction, but was soon to jump over to where Santa Claus was standing.
"Can I see him, please, please, please?" he asked the big man, who just laughed loudly as he always did.
"Of course you can! He's already waiting," North replied.
"Yay!" he exclaimed and ran to the exit. "Oh, Mother Earth," Jamie called one last time and got her attention. Once she was looking at him, he winked. Jamie winked! Leonora just sighed in exasperation while she watched him leave.
"Just how long were you behind that wall?" she asked him. North was surprised, not to the fact that he was caught, but to the fact that she knew beforehand.
"Not long, actually," was his humble replied.
"But you did listen to something, right?" she confronted him with her gaze and North found it unable to look away. He blushed; the big mighty Santa Claus blushed.
"Yes," he admitted in a low voice. Mother Earth sighed; she was going to stand up and leave, resigned to be ruined before this man for the rest of her existence and feeling something close to a heart break inside of her, but North her grabbed her gently from the wrist. Such a gentle and subtle touch startled her, for he was not known for being gentle and subtle.
"After you stormed off a while back I went to the library because you left this in your place," he started explaining and showed her the Lilac that was left where she was standing. When Leonora saw it she cursed again in her mind: how could she have been so stupidly reckless? "I have some books in herbs and I wanted to know the meaning… and I found it."
"I also know what it means, thank you," Leonora told him trying to get away from his grasp but being unable to. She didn't want to hear it from him; she so not wanted to hear that from him.
"Then you know that it represents first love, right?"
Time seemed to stop, both of them stood there like unmoving statues. Leonora wanted to run away, escape from the butterflies, the blushing, the feeling of stupidity, and everything that came with loving someone. Maybe Jamie was right and she was just stubbornly denying it, but yet again she couldn't allow herself to fall in love. She didn't want to, she didn't need love; and still she longed for it just like any person who has been alone for an awfully long time.
North, on his own internal conflict, was wondering how on earth that had happened. What does this meant for the both of them? What would happen from now on? It was unheard of two spirits falling in love with each other, and he feared what Manny would say. He feared, not so much the anger or scolding, because he knew the Man in the Moon wasn't like that, but he feared instead that he would forbid them of those feelings. He had never given much thought to love or to loving someone for that matter, but he might have been feeling it for a while now. That would explain why he was always working even when Christmas was months away. North couldn't help but ask himself, when did this happen? When did all of this start?
Leonora decided to confront the situation head on, just like the strong woman she usually was, but couldn't help but sigh. "I know the meaning of the flower, yes. I've been jumpy maybe because I've started to realize those feelings… I might have… for… you know…" at the look of uncertainty of North she almost begged. "Don't make me say it," she pleaded.
"Say what?" Santa Claus asked like a little innocent kid. The worst part of it all is that he wasn't faking or teasing, he really had no clue.
Mother Earth sighed again. "You, North, this feelings I might have for you;" she had to breath in order not to face-palm herself when he saw the wonder and amusement in his eyes. Just like the eyes of every kid on Earth on Christmas. "Anyway, don't get your hopes too high. This is new, without precedents we know of, or at least that I know of and, believe me, I am old. You are confused, I am confused. Maybe these feelings we have mean something, maybe they mean nothing." Again, North looked like she had no clue on what she was getting at. "What I want to say is, North, that I need time. I need to get used to being in love with someone and I need to figure out if this isn't just going to fade away over time. We have to take into account that we might have an eternity ahead of us and I don't want to ruin the current relationship we have to make it awkward. You, me and these feelings will have to wait."
North was looking at her in bewilderment and Leonora feared that she hadn't got the message through to him. She was going to add something, to make sure he understood, but instead she froze when he felt a big hand grabbing hers. "I don't mind waiting, I'm patient. I am, indeed, confused; and I believe we have to take it slow and manage it delicately. We don't have to hurry, and if we wait, maybe the feelings will keep flourishing," he smiled at her and she gratefully hugged him. Both of their hearts skipped a beat, but they managed to control themselves. After all, they did have all eternity to sort out their feelings.
On the other side of this story, and perhaps the most important, it's relevant to say how fast Jamie ran towards the stairs and into the room he remembered Jack being. When he opened the door with his laughter echoing around the hallways, surprise, surprise! Jack wasn't there. Jamie was confused, he was supposed to be there and not move until he got there. He couldn't wait to see him and it pissed him to no end not finding Jack. Suddenly, she felt something hit him in the back of his head. Something cold… and watery… snow.
He quickly turned around, but again Jack managed to escape him. Jamie kept repeating in his head I do believe, fearing that his faith might not have been strong enough to lift the veil covering his eyes. He heard a light laughter behind him and turned around again, but this time he might have done a little too fast.
He crashed into something cold, someone cold actually, and was about to fall off when he felt strong arms on his shoulder so that he wouldn't fall to the ground. He shook his head to rid himself of the shock and looked up. There, with his usual cocky smile and all the swag he had, was the one and only Jack Frost, the guardian of fun. Jamie was about to jump around, and show his excitement; he was real! He believed and he was real! Just like all the others! But he didn't have the time because Jack, without previous warning, knelt down and hugged him.
It was almost as if Jack was holding onto him for dear life, and he was pretty strong, so no wonder Jamie was having difficulty to breathe. "Jack… Jack… I can't… breathe…" he managed to get out of his mouth and immediately Jack let go. Jamie took a few breaths and then flashed a smile to a still ashamed Jack. "Don't worry, I can breathe now," he said and smiled at the white-haired guardian. He smiled back.
After the initial joy, the air turned a bit awkward to Jamie, mainly because he knew that although he knew that what happened in the past was true, he didn't remember a thing about the events. So, he tried to say something to lighten the mood or to at least apologize.
"Jack, I…" he sighed. "I don't know what to say. I don't remember most of the things that happened before and…" Jamie looked down ashamed, and suddenly felt like crying. In a way, it was almost his fault that Jack got sick in the first place.
"You saved me, Jamie." The kid looked up to Jack and saw him smiling, not blaming him for anything. "When I met you for the first time you couldn't see me either. I remember your mom said my name once, and when you asked her who I was she said I wasn't real. That hurt, but didn't do any damage because I wasn't an official guardian." He sat in the bed and motioned Jamie to sit down next to him before continuing the story. Jamie was enchanted and complied eagerly.
"When Pitch arrived in your town I got a message: the guardians wanted me to join them to fight the threat. At first I didn't want to, because I had been ignores for three hundred years prior. Before we could come to a decision, however, Pitch attacked. The first thing he attacked was you, the children, and their dreams. Then he attacked the Tooth Fairy's castle, attacking them by making you not believe. We, the guardians, live from your believing in us, and then I wasn't a guardian.
"Long story short, Pitch launched his strongest attack on Easter Day. He broke all the Easter Eggs and not a single one went to your world, and most children stopped believing in him. You didn't. When you first saw me, it was because I wanted to stop you from believing in the Easter Bunny. But, you are a smart kid, and you saw through me and figured out it was me in your room. You don't know how thrilled I was when you could see me! Every time I remember it, I get chills."
Jamie couldn't help but smile at Jack, whom he could see that clearly loved him as a little brother, as a real guardian. Jamie was beginning to understand, and he also felt a little dèja-vu at his words because he had lived it once even when he had forgotten.
"What I'm getting at is, Jamie, that after Pitch's first attack I became a guardian. You believed in me, all of you, and that allowed me to. You know what happened later, in my test. We defeated Pitch again but this time in the past and that affected the present. You didn't believe in me anymore, but I was already a guardian. In any other case I wouldn't have been affected, and yet I was because of my status. It was never your fault, and that's what I want you to know."
Jamie looked down to his lap. "I know, but I wish I remembered."
Jack smiled. "You don't have to remember, for now you can create new ones." Jamie smiled back and hugged the guardian, the guardian hugged him back.
Suddenly, a chorus of "awwww"s was heard in the threshold of the door and both, guardian and kid, looked up to see Tooth, Sandy, North, Leonora and Bunny. Even some of the Jetis were there, like Phil.
"Looks like he's about to cry!" Bunnymund mocked, returning to the teasing accustomed between Jack and him.
Startled, Jamie and Jack broke the hug. Jack's face broke into a huge grin. "Don't complain to me when you find the Warren filled with white and fluffy snow," he retorted and burst into laughter when he saw Bunny go pale. Jamie and the rest of the guardians also started laughing, even Leonora.
"Where are all your friends?" the guardian of Fun asked Jamie. "I bet they are all lazily sleeping in on a beautiful morning."
"Probably," Jamie conceded, "it's Saturday after all."
"Well, what do you say we go wake them up?" Jack suggested.
"But it's not winter yet," the kid replied.
"But it's still not too warm, is it?" Jamie shook a no with his head. "Then we can go and have some Fun, don't you think?"
"Yes!" Jamie jumped happily and exited the room looking for Phil, to create a portal and go back home.
"I won't be long for long, I promise," Jack told the guardians who were just smiling warmly back at him.
"You know what Jack?" North asked him while putting an arm around him.
"What is it?"
"It's good to have you back;" again he smiled warmly and Jack turned his head to look at every guardian individually. They all were considerably more relaxed and visibly happier than in the last few days; the relief was obvious and Jack remembered why he loved being alive. He wasn't alone anymore, he didn't feel lonely; he had found his purpose, which was to protect kids just like the one who saved his life the night before. In time every other kid on Earth would believe in him once more, because Jamie would make sure of that. And maybe, just maybe, after everything he went through, he had finally found a place where he would never again be forgotten.
So, this is it. I hope you all enjoyed it, that you liked my way of writing, that I didn't make too many mistakes (if I did tell me and I'll correct them) and I'd like to thank all of the readers who have kept faithful to this story. "Living" and "Forgotten" would have been nothing if it hadn't been for you, and if it's not a bother I sincerely ask you to leave a review and tell me what did you think of the ending? What do you think can be better? Any doubts you might have about the plot that weren't clear enough and such.
Best regards to all of you, and again, THANK YOU!