Hey, FrostFan, remember your idea about the scene where the Guardians find out? Here's how Sandy met Jack - and how he found out. Hope it's okay.
The first to find out about Jack self-harming was Sandy.
When the two first met, Sandy was passing over a small town and saw a teenager walking around on his own. He looked up as Sandy was flying over him, and Sandy smiled down at him and waved.
Jack was speechless for a moment, realizing someone could actually see him. He hadn't thought there would be other people who could see him - not after spending so many months on his own with no one noticing him. "Wait!" He flew up to the golden cloud, startling Sandy. "You - you can see me?"
Sandy nodded, smiling brightly.
"But - how? No one else can see me - " Jack fell silent as he remembered the last time he'd tried to talk to the children who lived near his lake. He shook his head and sat on the edge of the cloud, waiting for the golden little man to reply.
Sandy was frowning to himself as he thought about Jack's situation. He had never heard of anyone who couldn't be seen - unless they didn't have believers. Sandy finally shrugged helplessly at Jack, who looked crestfallen. Then Sandy pointed up at the moon and made a question mark.
Jack hardly glanced at the moon as he sighed. "I've asked him, but...he never answers me." Jack finally noticed the silence and looked at the stranger curiously. "Can you talk?"
Sandy shook his head ruefully.
Sandy made a picture of a child sleeping and pretended to speak. As he mouthed random gibberish, the sand-child woke up suddenly.
Jack blinked and tilted his head. "Oh, so the kids will wake up if you talk?"
That was close enough. Sandy nodded as he sent out more dreams as the the Guardian's cloud arrived at another town.
Jack watched in fascination. "Is that sand?"
Sandy smiled at the look of amazement on the teen's face and sent a trail of sand toward him. Jack hesitantly reached out and touched it. A golden butterfly appeared and flew around him, causing Jack to laugh.
"Whoa!" He laughed again as the butterfly landed on his shoulder, it's wings flapping lazily. "What are these?"
Sandy waved a hand at the town as the dreamsand made its way through several windows. Jack leaped from the golden cloud and looked into the windows. The children, teens and adults - all of them had various people and animals over their heads and were smiling in their sleep. They seemed happy with the stranger's gifts.
"Dreams..." Jack didn't sleep, but he knew about dreams.
After a while, he flew back to the golden man's cloud. Jack landed on the cloud again, and the two sat in silence while Sandy gave away more dreams. Jack had heard of the Sandman, the Easter Bunny - all of them. The stranger beside him had to be the Sandman!
"Hey, what's your name anyway?" Jack asked after a while.
Jack watched carefully as the stranger created a man out of sand. It is him! he thought, excitedly. He'd heard a lot about the man who created dreams, and he had just met him! Now Jack wanted to go meet everyone else...
"Sandman? And you - you give the kids dreams, right?"
Sandy smiled and nodded. Jack looked at the town where the children were sleeping soundly. "That's so cool," he breathed, awed. Then his face fell slightly as he remembered what his "gift" could do. The most damage a dream could do was make a person cry. He shook his head as he mumbled sadly, "All I can do is make things cold."
As Jack stood up abruptly to leave, Sandy quickly tugged on the teen's sleeves and made a question mark.
"What?" Jack didn't understand.
Sandy didn't want to seem rude, but he pointed at Jack and shrugged with another question mark above his head. Jack understood this time.
The Sandman wants to know my name? He grinned and replied cheerfully, "Oh, I'm Jack Frost!"
Almost three centuries later, Sandy was traveling over Burgess when he noticed Jack walking around on his lake. He was holding one of his blue sleeves, which was torn open.
Jack noticed the Guardian of Dreams and flew up to meet him. "Hey, Sandy!"
Sandy waved at him and then pointed at the sleeve with a concerned look and a question mark.
Jack held up his arm and laughed. "It got caught on a few branches," he explained with a smile, shrugging. "I'll just get a new one."
Sandy smiled back and glanced at his younger friend's sleeve. Then he noticed the marks on the teen's arm. He frowned as Jack made himself comfortable on the cloud. Sandy recognized the scars. He had seen many people with them before, and he had always tried to give them the best dreams he could think of, often having to chase away the nightmares that often plagued them.
He tugged on Jack's arm and pointed at the scars. Jack bit his lip and looked down, and Sandy knew for sure what they were. But Sandy created a tree with leafless branches, hinting that maybe the scars were from getting caught in the sharp twigs.
Jack shook his head slowly. He trusted Sandy, and he didn't like lying to him. The older Guardian had been his only friend for a very long time - besides the Moon, but he hadn't spoken to Jack since the day he was...born. On an impulse, he turned back to his oldest friend and asked him seriously, "Can I tell you a secret?"
Sandy nodded. Jack hesitated and took a deep breath to calm himself.
He had never told anyone about it, so he had no idea how to explain it. He had seen the teens who had been caught, and he had seen the ones who decided they didn't want to do it anymore and confessed to someone they trusted.
But Jack never had anyone to talk to about it until he had become a Guardian. The other Guardians were busy, but they were making more time for him to make up for the years they had neglected him. Until Jack had become a Guardian, he had been sure he would be alone forever. But he had friends now, a family who cared about him.
He had tried to quit before, but he couldn't handle it. He was hoping things would different now that he had people who cared about him.
"I - I cut myself," Jack admitted, lowering his head in shame. "I've been trying to quit, but..."
He didn't dare look at Sandy, afraid of the disappointment he would see. Instead, he stared at the distant ground for a while before a small, golden blur landed on his covered wrist. "What - ?" Jack looked at the small butterfly on his wrist, then looked up at Sandy, who was smiling. Jack shook his head, confused. "I don't get it."
Sandy sighed silently and looked around carefully. There was someone he had been watching over for a while who lived in the area. He found the house quickly, then motioned for Jack to follow him. He led Jack to an open window, and the two Guardians saw a fifteen year old girl lying in bed and staring at something on her wrist.
Jack stepped in and knelt beside her bed, looking at her wrists. She was staring at two red butterflies, and she reached over to the desk beside her bed and grabbed a marker to trace over the fading butterflies. But underneath the butterflies, Jack could see the scars.
"She - she cuts herself too?" Jack looked back at Sandy, who had also entered the room. Sandy nodded sadly.
Jack looked at the butterfly on his own wrist. Then he frowned at the girl, who had sat up. She grabbed a picture frame with an old photo of a family. There was the little girl with her two older siblings, grinning at the camera while their parents smiled politely.
There was another, smaller but more recent photo of the girl with only her older brother and sister.
"Where are her parents?" Jack asked softly.
Sandy made a picture of a mother leaving her family while the father faded away. The older sister was running around and feeding the younger children.
Jack felt his heart break for the girl. "So their mom just left them? And their dad - did he die?" Sandy nodded. Jack shook his head. "Does she blame herself?" He looked at Sandy. "Is that why she cuts herself?"
Sandy nodded again.
The girl's phone went off. She paused briefly before grabbing her phone and walking out of the room.
Jack thought about following her, but Sandy didn't move. Sandy knew she was going to hang out with her boyfriend and their friends, and she would fine - unless she started drinking or smoking again. Then things would go downhill again.
"She only cuts?" Jack asked suddenly, as if reading Sandy's mind. Sandy shook his head, wincing. Jack sighed quietly and his shoulders slumped. "I guess not."
After a while, Jack raised his arm to examine the golden butterfly. "So this - it's something to stop me from cutting?" Sandy was startled out of his thoughts, but he nodded and sat on the girl's bed. He pointed at Jack's butterfly, then at himself. He created the butterflies that were on the girl's wrists and pointed at her siblings in the recent photo.
"The butterflies... They represent family?" Jack guessed. "Right?"
Sandy gave Jack a thumbs-up and smiled. Jack finally caught onto what Sandy had been trying to tell him that whole time and hugged his shorter friend. Sandy was surprised but hugged him back.
Jack's voice nearly broke as he spoke. "Thanks, Sandy."
You don't need to read (Snowflakes) to understand this story, mostly 'cause this one's like a prequel.
Also, I'm gonna keep the reponses to the reviews from this story and (Snowflakes) separate. I swear I'm not ignoring anyone! You guys are too awesome to ignore. :)
Have a great week, everyone!