A/N: Oh gosh, I have so much to say! First, the last chapter, guest was the 400th reviewer, which is so awesome, thank you.
Second, I started posting this story almost two years ago, and started writing it a while before that. It had been a while since I had last really committed myself to a fanfiction and I was nervous and excited and all sorts of emotions when it came to posting it. It didn't get a lot of attention at first, but soon enough I started getting reviews and comments and it made me so happy reading your thoughts every time.
I went through some hard times writing this. Graduation was a stressful time, my best friend and I had a huge falling out, trying and failing to find a day job. I got really depressed, really anxious, and there were times I couldn't bring myself to draw, but I kept writing and working on this, even if my updates came a little less frequently during those times. I always had this story. It might seem silly, but it gave me some kind of purpose.
Which is why it's really sad for me to say that after almost two years and over sixty chapters, this is the last chapter of Something Quite Peculiar.
I know that some of you are going to finish this chapter and think, but Tera! I still have so many questions! How can this be the end?
It's the end of Something Quite Peculiar, but it's not the end of this. So, please, when you're done here (and after you leave me a review since HOLY SHIT THIS IS THE LAST CHAPTER!), head over to my account and check out chapter one of Fly Me Away, which is the sequel (surprise!).
Anyway, thank you so much to everyone that reviewed last chapter (and ever reviewed this story at all). I'm so glad that my story has entertained you guys and that you've stuck with me so long. I take a sick sort of joy in reading that I've made you cry or that you've put off homework or spent an entire weekend just reading what I've written. It's so flattering and I can't thank you all enough. xoxo.
Jack had gotten to a place where he had truly believed that he was the only one in the alliance that really cared about Rowan. That line of thinking was starting to feel very, very silly.
Chapter Sixty-Four: Lower The Curtain
He carefully buttoned the dress shirt, absentmindedly pacing the small cabin as he went, eyes fixed on his fingers. There were slight wrinkles in the shirt, but he somehow didn't think anyone was going to mind much.
Tuck the shirt in; grab the waistcoat from the floor. More buttons.
Frost covered the edges as he went. Next was the coat.
Jack didn't expect to have to wear this charcoal gray suit that Arachne had made for him again, especially not so soon.
He picked up the necktie, still undone from the last time it had been removed. He still didn't know how to tie it.
A small, sad smile pulled at his lips as he thought of Rowan twisting the tie around her own neck, wearing the slip she planned to wear under her dress for the ball.
He closed his eyes briefly, imagining the way her fingers brushed against his neck as she slid the tie into place and adjusted his collar.
No one was going to see him wearing this suit. No one was going to be able to judge him for not getting dressed up for a funeral. He could easily wear his usual hoodie and torn pants.
But Rowan had liked the suit, and said as much several times.
So, he would wear it for her.
Minus the shoes, minus the tie that he didn't have a clue how to tie.
Surely she could forgive that.
Setting the tie aside and straightening his jacket, Jack grabbed for his staff before leaving the cabin, a soft wind catching him and sending him airborne.
He had finally calmed down to the point that the snow wasn't falling as violently as it had been. It was gentle now, calm, setting a pretty but vaguely melancholy scene.
The parking lot at the funeral home was full, leaving mourners to park on the streets and other nearby lots (much to their respective business owner's irritation, no doubt). Were they all people that Rowan had touched personally in her life, or were there curious spectators among the crowd?
Knowing it would be suspicious if he opened the door, Jack lurked close behind a young man with two lip piercings and black-dyed hair as he entered the building.
The front room was decorated with Rowan's artwork, meticulously framed and arranged on easels. It was impressive, really, how quickly they had gotten all of this together. He wondered if she had already had her work framed.
His eyes fell on the Jack Frost character sheet. That one he knew had already been framed in preparation for the exhibition at her school.
Nearby, they had displayed the certificate she had received for the piece. An honorable mention for the Illustration department.
That sad smile crept back to his face as he remembered telling her that the award was at least half his.
"Luke, I'm surprised to see you here," came Bill's voice from a few paces away. Jack glanced over to see the boy he had followed in standing awkwardly before Rowan's parents.
"Yeah… well, I mean… I know we haven't always seen eye to eye, and I know I was an idiot in high school, but I mean… I really am sorry to hear about this. She was special, and I guess I always thought there would be some opportunity to make things okay, but… here we are. I won't make any trouble," Luke replied.
"No, you won't," Bill said, glaring daggers at the boy.
"Be nice," Dot whispered to him before turning her attention to Luke. "Thank you for coming."
"I'm sorry for your loss," Luke said again.
"Thank you," Dot nodded. The boy walked inside to take a seat.
"That's Danny and Luke, I wonder if Jack will be joining us," Bill mumbled.
"I don't want to think about that today," Dot said, sounding exhausted. Jack's heart sank. As far as they knew, the Jack that Rowan had been seeing either didn't exist at all, or was all a cover created by someone that had been involved in her death.
And really, were those assumptions wrong?
Jack snuck a program from the table, tucking it in to his jacket before creeping into the room where the service would be held. The coffin was displayed at the front of the room, closed now and draped in roses.
Many of the seats were already filled. He could see Jamie and Sophie sitting with their grandmother at the front. Lorelei stood nearby, speaking to a man that resembled Bill, though had far more gray hairs. His brother, Tom?
Instruments were set up to the side of the coffin. They were out of the way but could easily be retrieved for their part in the service later.
A projector was set up, displaying a slideshow of photos. Rowan smiling with friends, Rowan working on a drawing intently, Rowan with pink hair in high school, Rowan at Christmas when she was little, Rowan smiling with braces, Rowan at an art show.
It was hitting him, as all these strangers took their seats, exchanging memories, that Jack truly hadn't known Rowan for long. It had felt like ages, certainly, but she had a whole life before he and other immortals came barging in.
He couldn't help but wonder, yet again, if she would have been better off without him.
He leaned against the back wall, watching the slide show intently. A ten-year-old Rowan carefully holding a newborn baby, who he could only assume was Jamie.
A picture from a Halloween around the same age. Fairy wings, glitter, a skirt styled to look as though it were made of leaves. Tinker Bell.
"Over here," someone said softly. Jack was surprised he had heard it at all over the murmurs throughout the room. It was a voice he recognized, however, and his eyes were drawn to the side.
Polyhymnia, dressed in black, mortal clothing, was taking a seat in the back corner of the room.
She was not alone.
Calliope sat beside her, donning a black, sort of business-looking suit. Next were Clio, Terpsichore, and a very ill-looking Euterpe. Euterpe stumbled before taking her seat; Jack could somewhat hear Terpsichore hiss something to her about wearing heels when her depth perception was still bad.
Erato, her hair straightened and missing her usual roses (likely to avoid drawing attention), gently pat Euterpe's shoulder. Beside her was Thalia, scratching at the cast still on her wrist.
The only Muses missing were Urania and Melpomene. This was the most low-key he had ever seen these flashy women. They blended in with the crowd well, staying out of everyone's way and flipping through their programs. They were fully visible to the mortals around them, he was sure, or they wouldn't bother with the hushed tones and disguises.
Why were they here?
Thalia glanced his way and mumbled something to the others before standing up and walking over to where he stood.
So much for doing this by himself.
"Hello, Jack," Thalia whispered, trying to be discreet.
"What are you doing here?" he said, sounding more stern and irritated than he intended.
"I know that you must think this is too little too late. We weren't very welcoming to Rowan, and actively tried not to get close," Thalia said, still speaking in hushed tones. "The thing is… we do feel badly about that. Say what you want, but she was our sister, and we want to pay our respects."
"Well, seven of you do," Jack mumbled.
"Melpomene doesn't like funerals and she feels really guilty about this, believe it or not. And Urania hates crowds, they give her anxiety," Thalia explained. "So, it's just us. And I know you probably wanted to do this alone, so we're going to stay in our corner, you can stay in yours. We won't bother you; we won't look at you. Is that all right? Or would you rather we left?"
The way Thalia was looking at him made his stomach turn. Somehow he knew if he asked, they would leave.
What right did he have to kick them out?
Rowan's parents probably wouldn't want him there if they knew he was around. Why did he have any more of a right to stay than they did?
He wanted to say that Rowan wouldn't have wanted them there. But he remembered the way she rushed after them at the ball.
He remembered Terpsichore trying to teach Rowan and him to dance.
He remembered Thalia telling them her and Melpomene's story.
Polyhymnia easing Rowan's mind at the ball; Erato offering her kind words and unwanted relationship advice.
Euterpe and Terpsichore gossiping with them all, embracing Rowan and being so kind.
Calliope making sure that their grand plan was adjusted so that Rowan would be able to seek help for her flashbacks once all was said and done.
Melpomene searching for Rowan after she showed up at Burgess.
Urania fishing Rowan out of the lake, trying to revive her.
Jack had gotten to a place where he had truly believed that he was the only one in the alliance that really cared about Rowan. That line of thinking was starting to feel very, very silly.
"No, no, stay," Jack said.
"You can sit with us, if you want. Otherwise, like I said, we'll stay out of your way," Thalia said.
"I'm, um, I'm gonna stay back here," he said. Thalia nodded and returned back to her seat with the others.
"Thank you all for coming," Lorelei said, standing at the podium up front, a hush falling over the room as she spoke. She explained that she would be speaking on behalf of the Sawyer family, and a quick glance toward Bill and Dot showed exactly why that was. Dot was already dabbing at her eyes again, fighting sobs.
The eulogy wasn't a long one, but it covered everything it was supposed to. Rowan was a happy child with a big imagination. She wrote and illustrated her own stories as soon as she could hold a crayon.
She was a good student. A great student, even. Graduated high school with honors and was on course to do the same in college.
She was kind, but stubborn. She stood up for herself and was loyal to those that earned it.
She inspired everyone around her.
Once again, Jack felt himself cringing at all the past tense.
When Lorelei finished speaking, Jamie took her place at the podium, barely able to see over the edge. He had the notebook that Rowan had begun transcribing her pirate story into.
Jamie introduced himself first, then began reading the story aloud.
The slideshow changed to sketches of characters from the story that she had been working on in her sketchbook. Some of the sketches he had seen before, sneak peeks he had gotten when he asked.
Others he hadn't seen. Some were very rough and he wondered if Rowan would have wanted them to be seen. Perhaps if she were still alive she would be cringing at a room full of people seeing the unfinished work.
Perhaps somewhere, in some afterlife, she was cringing.
A sketch of Jack staring intently out a window appeared in the slide show. He remembered the night she had drawn that. It was that new moon back in December, right after they had gotten together. He had to stay on guard for Shadow People all night and she had killed some time sketching before going to sleep.
Understandably, it had been mistaken as a sketch of the pirate character she had based on him.
Jamie finished reading what had been written and stepped down from the podium to polite applause.
Lorelei returned to her place, speaking a bit about how creative people tended to surround themselves with other creative people. Storytellers understood other storytellers. Rowan was not a musician but, like many, loved the craft and the way it could be used to tell stories.
Lorelei introduced Rowan's friends from the band and returned to her seat as they approached the front.
Nicolette, the vocalist with the red and black hair pulled her microphone over from the side. She spoke a moment as her band mates made last-minute adjustments to their instruments, saying that they hoped to go a different route than the usual sad memorial songs and instead hoped to perform a few things that Rowan had enjoyed listening to. They were to perform three songs total.
The songs they chose were songs he remembered playing on her car stereo during those long drives between her apartment and her parents' house. Her eyes would light up, she would turn the dial that controlled the volume, and immediately begin singing along after warning him not to make fun of her.
It had been obvious that Rowan hadn't had any singing training (unlike Nicolette, who was hitting every note, tugging on every heartstring in the room with her voice) but that wasn't what had been fun about watching that. She was just having fun, as though in that moment her only problem was that the song was going to end soon.
When he knew the song, he would sing along with her.
There had been a point where she had prodded at him until he sang along to Frank Sinatra for her.
They had both sang dramatically when a Bing Crosby song (her grandparents' song, she had explained) came on, serenading each other through laughter.
He blinked back tears again, realizing they would never go for a drive with the stereo blasting again.
The band ended with an eerie, haunting rendition of Under The Milky Way, which he remembered playing whenever Rowan's phone would ring.
Once the song was through, and after applause from the sniffling audience, the band began putting their instruments away as Lorelei approached the podium again. She introduced Rowan's high school art teacher who spoke fondly and began to cry at the podium halfway through.
Bill spoke for a short period, clearly speaking quickly in an attempt to leave before he lost his composure. He thanked the community for their support in this difficult time, and mentioned the people that had reached out to them nation-wide hoping to help with funeral costs.
Apparently the amount had been excessive. He announced that he and Dot hoped to use the leftover money, as well as some of their own, to start a scholarship in Rowan's name. It would be for students hoping to pursue illustration.
"The Rowan Sawyer Memorial Scholarship" just felt strange to consider. "The Rowan Sawyer Memorial-" Anything felt strange to consider.
Lorelei spoke again, bringing the service to its close.
There were six pallbearers, only a few that Jack recognized. One was the man he had earlier assumed to be her uncle. The room was quiet as all eyes watched the casket be carried out to where a hearse was no doubt waiting.
All that was left was the burial and reception. Jack had little interest in lurking around the reception, but he wanted to be there when they put her in the ground.
Avoiding glancing toward the Muses, he headed outside, ready to follow the hearse wherever it might go.
Her hair was a bluish black like the clearest night sky, with reflections of what had to be the most beautiful stars dancing in their strands. Her hair was long and flowing, both too beautiful to touch and so tempting to stroke.
Her eyes were a strange silver, framed by soft lashes. They were focused and precise, never once leaving the arrowheads she was carefully sharpening as she sat comfortably on a stump in a lush clearing.
She didn't see Cupid coming; she heard him.
"Hello, Eros," she said. "Do you have a report for me?"
"You just jump right into it, don't you? It's never 'Hello, Eros, how are you?' or 'Eros! It's good to see you, how is your mother doing?' It's always 'Eros! Report!'" Cupid said, taking a seat on the ground beside her, gently rubbing at his knee.
The woman stopped what she was doing only long enough to roll her eyes and sigh. "Hello, Eros, how are you?"
"Well, my legs are killing me ever since I broke my wing and had to start walking more. Oh, and then there's the crippling guilt over everything else," he said.
"Now, now, don't feel guilty, you've done so much good," the woman said. Cupid just stared at her incredulously for a moment.
"First of all, if my mother or my aunts knew that I was communicating with you behind their backs, much less Apollo's—" Cupid started.
"The power my brother has over everyone is completely absurd and you know it," the woman replied. "That's why you're here, isn't it? That's why you've been listening to me and following my orders, isn't it?"
"I wasn't expecting to have to look everyone in the eye and lie to them. I can't even stand being around Toothiana anymore, she trusts me again and I'm so… ashamed," Cupid mumbled, focusing his attention on his knee again.
"You're not lying," the woman shrugged. "You said that you wanted to keep your mother and her sisters safe, and that's true. You just… kept them in the dark about a few things."
Cupid sighed. "No one was supposed to die, Artemis."
Artemis set her arrowheads aside, finally giving Cupid her full attention. "No. Especially not a Muse. It is incredibly unfortunate that had to happen, but it is not our fault."
"We're the reason she was attacked the last new moon!" Cupid said. "You leaked information I gave you to the Shadow People to use against Jack and Rowan. Then you just so happen to suggest I go to France that night so I can show up and save everything."
"Why are you feeling guilty about that? You didn't even know I leaked the information until after the fact. All your heroic deeds that night were genuine," Artemis said. "Yes, things got out of hand, but the girl survived and it solidified your place in the alliance so we could keep tabs on things. Not to mention, I had you smudge the room, I sent you with healing crystals to put in the room—"
"And if anyone had found out that I put them there we could have been caught right then," Cupid said.
"You're being paranoid," Artemis said.
"One of the crystals was amethyst, that's your crystal," Cupid said.
"And they still don't believe I had anything to do with it," said Artemis.
"That's all beside the point. Maybe if she hadn't been attacked during the new moon, she wouldn't have died on the full moon. Maybe she would have had the strength to swim to the surface before she drowned," Cupid said.
"And maybe she would have been attacked somewhere else and died some other way," said Artemis, setting a hand to Cupid's shoulder. "I didn't want her to die either. But what's done is done. We must focus on the other Muses."
"They don't want your help," Cupid said, shaking his head. "Even after the new moon, they didn't think to ask for your help."
"They're still too afraid of Apollo," Artemis practically growled, rising to her feet. "Oh, wise and mighty Apollo! Powerful, strong Apollo, who raises the dead when the story has entertained him—ha!"
"I mean, that's… what happens, isn't it?" Cupid said gently.
Artemis smiled softly, shaking her head. "Not exactly. Apollo isn't the one that judges whether the Mortal Muse has left a great enough legacy. The mortals are. If they don't keep her story alive in the year it takes, he can't bring her back, whether he wants to or not."
"That's… why Yelena didn't come back, because he gets his powers from mortals and basically everyone that mourned her and told her story was immortal," Cupid said. Artemis nodded. "He always made it out like he had all the power and control."
"He would never admit that the magic in mortal belief dictates what he can and cannot do with his precious Muses. He hasn't even told them that I'm the one that picks the Mortal Muse! They still think it's random. Anything to keep them bound to him," Artemis said. "I never said anything because I didn't want him to think I talked them into anything… I wanted them to come to me on their own, despite all he's done to keep them away from me. That would be the sweetest way to get under his skin."
"Which is why you wanted me to join the alliance and did all that with the new moon, you wanted them to be afraid enough to come to you instead of Apollo," Cupid said.
"Exactly. But, things are changing, Eros. Tell me, what does Calliope plan to do now that the plans for the bomb have gone missing?" Artemis asked.
"Solidify more alliances before shit hits the fan, basically," said Cupid. "She's going to target Athena, I know that."
Artemis lit up. "Dear Athena? Make this easier for me, Calliope, make it easier! Times are changing, Eros, and you mark my words, you and the Muses will be out from under my brother's rule soon enough."
"What are you going to do, talk to Athena first?"
"That and more. And, while we're at it, how are the Guardians and Tsar Lunar?"
"They're all as loyal to him as ever," Cupid shrugged.
"We'll see about that," Artemis said, glancing up at the moon, shining brightly in the sky between leaves in the trees surrounding them. "The moon was mine first, after all."
There were two cemeteries in Burgess. The old one had cracked headstones and was covered in weeds. They buried Rowan in the new cemetery, the one that was tended to far more frequently.
Her tombstone had her name, her date of birth, her date of death, and proclaimed her a "beloved daughter."
Below this information read, "second star to the right and straight on till morning." Two stars were etched in the top right corner of the stone, mimicking the tattoo on her wrist.
Jack watched from the high branch of a tree in the distance, his stomach feeling hollow and his heart feeling heavy. The snow still fell gently, steadily, not once letting up as those that came to see the burial shivered in their coats.
There wasn't much left to see; in fact, several people had left already.
Jack was beginning to wonder if he, too, should leave before a black bird landed on a sturdy branch near him. A moment later, in a burst of light, the bird transformed, and Calliope was balancing awkwardly on the branch.
Jack cocked a brow, knowing full well that she could communicate fine as a bird, so why change and have to deal with the balancing act?
"Right, well, this is uncomfortable," she mumbled, shifting slightly before straightening the dark suit she still wore from the funeral. The other Muses were nowhere to be seen. She turned her attention back to Jack. "I wanted to speak with you. I know this is probably a bad time…"
"Do you, uh, want to head to the ground?" Jack asked, wincing as Calliope nearly lost her balance. The Muse nodded, turning back into a bird almost immediately. Jack carefully hovered to the ground as the black bird led the way, touching down just as Calliope returned to her usual form.
"I don't like having serious talks as a bird," she explained.
Jack sighed. He wasn't really up for any conversation right now, much less a serious one. "What do we have to talk about?"
"I, um, I wanted to apologize," Calliope said.
Jack eyed her skeptically. "For what?"
"I know that I'm not easy to work with," she said. "I know that I'm not easy to get along with. I know that I'm not always nice. I act the way I do because I feel as though it's all on me to keep my sisters safe. I will do anything to keep them safe. Getting into this whole thing, I thought you were a lazy, worthless kid. I was wrong."
Jack stared at the woman, mouth agape.
Did she really just admit to being wrong?
"You've proven over and over again that you're more than capable, and I am sorry that I didn't treat you that way, I truly am," Calliope said sincerely.
"Um, well," Jack said, unsure where to start. What a bizarre day. "I wasn't exactly easy to get along with either. I think I called you a 'frigid bitch' at least once."
"I think it's safe to say we were both feeding off each others negativity, don't you?" Calliope said. Jack nodded. "I know I'm not your favorite person, and honestly, you're not really mine either. But we're supposed to be on the same team."
"Right," Jack said.
"I'll try harder if you will. We're going to be seeing a lot more of each other, considering what Pitch did," she said.
Jack took a deep breath. Spending even more time with the Muses? Rowan was a big part of what had made that tolerable lately.
But he supposed he didn't have a choice. Calliope was right; they were on the same team. There was no need to make this harder.
"I guess I can try to get along with you. You can be almost all right sometimes," Jack said, thinking back to the ball when she drunkenly defended Sandy.
Calliope set out her hand and after little hesitation, he shook it.
"I really am sorry about what happened, by the way. I know how much it hurts to lose someone you love," Calliope said, glancing back toward the grave, briefly. "It was a lovely service."
Jack still didn't know what to say when others expressed sympathy about this. He didn't know what to say about her being able to relate. He simply nodded in acknowledgment.
"I have something for you," she said, pulling an object from her pocket. Jack's eyes widened when he got a good look at it. It was the necklace he'd given Rowan, pristine and sparkling. "I took it off of her before the police came by to get her."
"I was wondering why she wasn't wearing it at the wake," Jack said, taking the necklace with trembling hands, his heart racing. He wasn't sure why seeing this trinket had left him so shaken.
He had thought it was gone forever.
"Why did you take it?" he said, eyes still fixed on the charm.
"Well, you worked so hard on it, it saved her life once, she really seemed to love it," Calliope said. "I just figured, she might want it if she comes back, and you could keep it safe until then."
He looked to Calliope in surprise. "I thought you were sure she wasn't coming back."
Calliope smiled. "Well, it isn't up to me. But, you weren't the only one I misjudged, Frost."
Jack swallowed, blinking back tears again as he tightened his grip on the necklace. "Thank you."
"I'm sorry I didn't give it to you sooner," she said, setting a comforting hand to his shoulder. "You've been making yourself pretty scarce."
"I know," he said, avoiding her gaze now.
They fell into tense silence, neither looking quite at each other, neither sure what to say now.
They weren't magically friends now, after all. He didn't even know how to act around his actual friends right now.
"Well, um, I should probably head out," Calliope said. "Euterpe's still recovering from the full moon, I want to check on her again."
Jack nodded again.
"This year's going to drag, but you'll get through it," Calliope said. In the next moment, she was a bird again, flying away through the snow that was gradually picking up.
Jack watched her go for only a moment before he kicked off the ground, heading back for his cabin. There was nothing left for him in this cemetery now.
Maybe he would visit again at some point, but not now.
Now he needed to leave, to be alone.
The wind howled, as though in pain as the sky grew darker and darker. His grip on the necklace tightened until his knuckles were white, heart still racing and breathing growing heavy.
He stumbled into the cabin, the wind slamming the door shut behind him.
He had thought that today was a better day, that things were getting easier to deal with.
How could a piece of jewelry throw everything off so spectacularly?
He set the necklace down on one of his shelves before pulling off his coat and tossing it toward the box it had been delivered to him in. He tried steadying his breath as he fumbled at the buttons of his waistcoat, eyes catching the Polaroids he had pinned to the wall.
Pictures of her smiling, pictures of her safe and secure in his arms back when he had been stupid enough to think that maybe the way things were going, he could actually protect her.
If he could only change one thing about the full moon, one thing, this might all be different. He might not be here, coughing through shallow breaths as he fiddled with the buttons on the dress shirt, giving up after a few and just pulling it over his head, throwing it with the jacket and waistcoat. The funeral was over; there was no point in the formal attire anymore.
He pulled at his hair, heart racing, unable to help but think of the times he had tried to calm her breathing by asking her to breathe slowly with him. What he wouldn't give to breathe with her now, to have someone try to calm him down, to tell him that everything was going to be all right even if they weren't sure that was true.
No, not someone, not anyone. He wanted Rowan Sawyer to pull herself in close to him and whisper that everything was going to be all right. His skin ached for her contact.
He wanted to clasp that necklace back around her neck, he wanted to hear her breathe, see the breath fog as soon as she came too close to him.
He wanted to hear her laugh.
He wanted to argue over who was more ridiculous.
Jack picked up the necklace again, sparkling in his grasp.
Taking a seat on the mattress, he pulled the canvas bag over from the corner and pulled out that beat-up red notebook. Rowan had forbid him from looking inside without her permission.
But she had said that if she were to die, it was his.
"I don't want to read it, I want you here to tell me I can't because it's your notebook and I'm not allowed to just go through your notes. I don't want your necklace, I want you to wear it," he said, blinking back tears again as he examined the items in question.
He held these once precious possessions of hers close, hoping they would serve as some form of substitute for the girl that once cared for them. He hoped and wished that holding her notebook close would take away that longing to hold her. He was unsurprised, yet still saddened, when he was still left feeling hollow.
"I don't know what to do, Sawyer!" he shouted, finally feeling a tear slip past his eyes, freezing against his cheek. There was a literal ache in his chest. He brushed his fingers against the spine of the notebook, wishing that the answer would be written inside and knowing it wouldn't be.
He coughed again, choking on sobs that had been contained for far too long.
"I don't know if I can do this if getting your necklace back is enough for me to lose it. I can't do this if I keep dreaming about you just so I can wake up alone," he said. "It's not fair for you to come into my life for a few weeks and then make me feel more alone than ever when you leave."
He was tired of feeling this miserable. Everyone kept telling him that this would get easier eventually, but getting to "eventually" was draining.
He just needed a break.
Tears blurring his vision, Jack glanced at his shelves, at the bag of dream sand that Sandy had given him for Christmas. The dream sand that guaranteed a dreamless sleep.
That was starting to sound pretty good.
Jack set the notebook aside, unable to bring himself to open it. The tears wouldn't stop now, steadily rolling down his cheeks until they froze partway down.
He took the bag of sand from the shelf before settling back down on the mattress, gently setting the necklace down beside where his head would be.
As he poured the sand into his hand, he thought of her lying in bed beside him, the way he had tried to memorize her face. He closed his eyes, picturing the two beauty marks on the right side of her face, her pointed nose, her big brown eyes.
The way she lit up when she told a story, the lovely way she smiled.
It was all going to haunt him, he just knew it. Even the happy memories hurt too much, his tears still falling.
He had tried so hard for so long not to cry.
He tossed the sand into his face and fell back, hand falling limp beside the necklace as he passed out, a blizzard raging outside.
One night without dreams of the mortal that he had fallen in love with despite every warning.
One night of peace in what was sure to be the longest year of this immortal's life.