It wasn't really his fault.

They were the ones who left the window open, after all.

It had been two years since he was 'born', or at least, two winters. Jack had been so frightfully underinformed about time or years or seasons.

And he was lonely.

The type of alone that isn't at all comforting or relaxing; but instead the type that drowns out all comforts, all joys. The type of lonely that dangles, always unreachably unbreakable, in front of you with every action, every thought, every wish tainted by the loneliness that accompanies it.

And so when Jack had spotted the open window, leading to a half-empty bedroom with a spare bed, his small lonely heart ached for the chance to at least pretend he belonged there. To imagine. That is, after all, what every child does. They hope and dream and imagine themselves a world that is not the one they live in.

A world where they are not alone; for what better does a child do, then dream?

And Jack is still very much a child, in body and mind. So he creeps quietly to the spare bed, softening his already unheard footsteps as he walks. Really, it is silly to creep when no one can hear. He does it anyways, though, pretending his footsteps make a louder noise than drums and so he must quiet them as to not wake the sleeping girl in the other bed. It's a pleasant falsehood, one that chases him as he slips into the untouched bed, silent as ever, but even softer in his head.

Jack doesn't need to sleep, he never has. Always, he has rested against the snowbanks and let his mind run free, imagining himself in to a careful dream. Sometimes, Sanderson comes and he touches the streams of sand, stealing away other's illusions, other's hopes, other's dreams. He steals them and pretends they are his, that they are real.

That he is real.

But tonight he has no dream sand; so he sits, and he imagines. Imagines that this is his bed; and the girl over in the other corner of the small room, his sister. Perhaps, in the room to his right, there is his mother and father, even, and in the morning he will wake up, and they will have breakfast and play in the snow. His mother will warn him to be careful and his sister will throw snowballs at him, and his father will laugh at them both and he will be happy and full and he will have a family.

And he will be loved.

He can picture it so vividly that when the sun shines through his window he believes it. So that when the mother calls (not his mother, never his mother) for her child (singular) he arises, too. So that when the girl (the one whom he had imagined his sister) walks through him he still manages to feel surprised. To feel forgotten, hurt.

He pretends it doesn't phase him, as he always does, but it is crushing him because it had been such a warm thought, a pleasant dream.

Jack knew, in his heart, that what he did was wrong. That he had been bad, slipping not invited to someone's home, and so he did not deserve the pleasures his illusion granted him.

Jack knew that he was lying cruelly to himself, giving himself false hopes when there were none to give. But if those were lies, is it worth it or not to live the truth? Certainly, the lies are nice. Even if the girl still looks through him (he exits modestly as she begins to dress, still lost in his own world of disappointment and crushed hope) he can pretend, until she does, that he is real.

Still, the next night, the windows were closed. And the night after that, and so on, until years had passed (until Jack knows what a year is) and the windows still stayed shut.

Until his not-sister had many not-children who once, he might have been a not-uncle to.

Instead of focussing on this thought, on this undeniable unshakable truth, though, he throws snowballs and plays with his not-nephews and not-nieces. With his not-sisters and not-sons and the children that are his not-friends.

For what better is imagining, when there is playing to also be done? What good are dreams, when there is fun to be had, play-fights to be won?

Jack has accepted his reality, his truth. That he is forever banished to the shadows. And yet, also, he embraces it.

Being invisible is ever so good for tricks.


A/N hush now! Yes, I realize that I just wrote fanfiction for an animated children's film and that is not something I normally do. But I had this idea and it wouldn't leave me alone and hush, you, because you just read a fanfiction about an animated children's film so you're really no better, are you?

anywho