Jack didn't know where he was, but there was light. From every nook and cranny, there was a bright white light. It should have been blinding, but it was strangely calming. It made him feel safe.
A warm hand stroked his head. Mom? No, not mom. The hand was too large to be hers. The hand then brushed his bangs away from his eyes, and Jack tried to bat it away. "Go away, and let me sleep," he slurred, and turned on his side to sleep some more.
He heard a soft chuckle as the hand wrapped around his shoulders and held him up. "Come on, Jackie, you never were that big of a sleeper."
Jack blinked, and his eyes fluttered open. It couldn't be, but there he was staring back at him, white beard and all. "Dad?" he whispered.
His father smiled warmly at him. "Hi, Jack."
Jack held back a sob as he wrapped his arms around his father's neck. He felt so real, solid and warm. This wasn't a dream, he was here. The only explanation suddenly struck him.
"Oh, crud, I'm dead aren't I?"
His father laughed as he let go, and ruffled Jack's hair. "No, trust me kiddo, you're far from dead, I'm just here for a visit."
Jack's face fell as he gripped the sleeve of his father's shirt. He knew it was too good to be true. Granted, he would take what he could get. "I've missed you Dad."
His father's smile softened. "Me too, and I'm sorry you had to find out about me the hard way."
Jack scoffed. "Yeah, a little warning would have been nice." He stiffened, and looked directly at his dad's face. "Why didn't you tell us?"
His father pressed his lips together, and stroked his beard. "I wanted to, believe me, but I didn't know where to start. Also, I didn't want you to worry about it because I honestly thought neither you or Mary would inherit my powers."
Jack rolled his eyes. "A lot of good that did."
"I know," said his father as he leaned his forehead against Jack's. "And I do regret not telling you, I'm sorry."
Jack shut his eyes, and leaned into his father feeling like a small child again. He wished he could stay in this moment for days, but his father lifted his head.
"You still mad at me?"
Jack sighed. "Yeah, a bit, but I'll get over it eventually." Suddenly, the light around them began to dim. "What's happening?"
"You're waking up," his father said sadly. "And it's time for me to go."
Jack panic. Go? Now? But he just got his dad back. There was still so much he wanted to say! So much he wanted to ask!
His father sensed Jack's panic, and calmed him, by pulling him into one last hug. "You've done good, Kiddo, I'm proud of you." He patted Jack's head. "Take care of your mom and sister for me."
"I will," Jack replied just barely above a whisper, and buried his face into his dad's shoulder.
"And whatever you do," his father said as he pulled Jack's chin up, and looked at him with a twinkle in his eye. "Don't look that wretched groundhog order you around. He's a fur bag full of hot air."
Jack forgot about being sad as a laugh rippled from his throat. "Sure thing, Dad."
His father gave one last smile as he faded, and everything around Jack turned white as freshly fallen snow.
Jack's eyes then fluttered, and he awoke to a different hand brushing the bangs from his eyes, but he knew this hand instinctively. He gave a small grin as he lifted his head. "Hey, Mom."
His mother smiled back from the chair she sat in. Jack quickly realized he was in the bed in his room at North's workshop.
His mother then sat up in her chair as she tried to push Jack back down. "You shouldn't get up yet, Jack," she said. "You were so exhausted, you turned back to human form."
Jack smoothed out a bang to try to see, and sure enough it was his normal brown hair. "Where's Mary?"
His mother gave an all knowing smile, and she pointed to Jack's side. Curled up like a kitten, Mary was snuggled at Jack's side with her head on his pillow. A golden dream hung above her head which Jack concluded must have been Sandy's doing.
"I told her to go to bed, but she kept insisting on staying with you," his mother said with a sigh. "This seemed easier."
Jack laughed. "It's okay," he said softly, and wrapped an arm around Mary. He then frowned. "Wait, where's Pitch?"
"Where he belongs, back in hole," North declared as he entered the room. "At least, for now."
"But," Jack replied confused. "I managed to freeze him."
"It was good try," North explained as he approached Jack's bedside. "But you are not quite powerful enough. Not yet able to contain him, but did weaken him!" He gave a proud smile. "He will not be having energy to fight us for awhile."
Jack grumbled, and slumped back into his pillow. He had been hoping he had gotten rid of Pitch for good, but he would have to take what he could get. "So, what happens now?"
"Now?" said North as he tilted his head like it was obvious. "Everyone rest, elves and yetis are exhausted, and Tooth has much to catch up on." He then looked to Jack's mother. "I do have room ready for you."
Jack's mother shook her head. "Thank you, but I'll just stay here for a bit."
"Mom," Jack replied as he reached for his mother's hand. "I'm fine. You should go get some rest." He gave it a gentle squeeze. "Please."
His mother frowned, and fiddled with the edge of the blanket. "If you're certain."
"Yes," Jack insisted, fighting the temptation to sit up, and urged his mother out the door. "Go take a nap."
His mother chuckled as she gradually stood. "Never thought I'd have you telling me to take a nap."
North laughed warmly as he escorted her out of the room. "Everything is relative."
Jack watched the door shut, and let his head fall upon his pillow. Mary stirred slightly and snuggled into Jack more.
He then gave a smile, and pulled the blanket so it covered them both. Jack had wanted to tell his mother about the dream he'd had, but later. North was right, getting rest was a good idea.
"So," Jamie muttered as he licked his ice cream. "What happened after you froze Pitch, which is awesome by the way."
Jack licked the melted chocolate off his thumb as they continued along the street. "I already told you, he went back crawling into his hole, and he hasn't been seen since."
They stopped to sit on the bench on the corner, before Jack continued. "Tooth's fairies have been working extra hard to make up for lost time and the others have been keeping an eye out in case Pitch did try a desperate attempt at something or other."
Jack shoved the last piece of cone into his mouth. and licked his lips. "But, it's unlikely Pitch will do something now, so Mary, Mom and I just came home."
"And that's it?" Jamie asked in dismay as his ice cream dripped onto his shirt. "But the story just can't end there! Aren't they going to make you a Guardian?"
Jack laughed. "Somehow, I don't think it works like that."
"But you got-" Jamie clapped a hand over his own mouth, and then leaned forward to whisper "You got snow powers now! Doesn't that make you the new king of winter or something?"
Jack chuckled, he couldn't deny that the thought had crossed his own mind. "North made it clear to me that it is possible I could take over my Dad's title, but that's up to me."
"And are you?"
He gave a shrug. "Maybe when I'm older, but not right now." Jack stretched his arms out and leaned back in the bench. "I'm just happy for things to be back to normal."
Jamie pouted. "How normal can they be when you can make snow just by winking?"
Jack sighed. "You know what I mean." Although, Jamie had a point. Things would never be quite normal, and he had to admit he was starting to miss seeing the Guardians. However, they had jobs to do, and he couldn't expect them to just hang out with Jack because he was bored.
Plus, Jack had his own life too. It would take some getting used to, but Jack was going to try to bring back some normalcy in his life.
At least, that what Jack was assuming after he dropped Jamie at his house, and went to his front door. He reached for the knob only for it to turn on its own, and Bunny stood in the doorway smirking.
"'Bout time," said Bunny as he ushered Jack inside. "Was startin' ta wonder if ya got lost."
"Uh," Jack replied as Bunny led him into the living room. "What are you doing here?" He paused and looked around the room. "What are you all doing here? Sandy are you playing my video games?"
The Guardians of Dreams turned, and waved as Baby Tooth won the final level, and flew in the air for a victory dance.
North and Tooth sat on the couch where they were sipping glasses of lemonade as his sister sat between them, and grinned like she had won an entire toy store. Jack's mother then came out of the kitchen with a plate of cookies.
"Oh, Jack, you're home."
"Yes," said Jack as he went to take a seat in a chair. "And I'm starting to wonder if that was a good idea." He frowned. "Don't tell me Pitch is-"
Tooth laughed. "No, Jack, that's all fine."
"Better than that," North laughed. "Pitch will not be stirring up trouble any more," he reached for a couple of treats that Jack's mother offered. "Well, at least for now."
"So," Jack continued. "Why are you all here? I'm guessing it's not a social call."
Bunny shook his head. "No, it's not, Mate." He leaned against the arm of Jack's chair. "Now that Pitch is back in his hole," Bunny started. "We can focus on the other issue, mainly concernin' ya."
Jack stared back confused. "What do you mean?" he rose and reached for the staff he had hidden in the closet earlier, and turned himself into a spirit to prove his point. "I've gotten control over my powers."
"No, ya gotten better," Bunny corrected. "But ya no where near the level ya pa was."
"Not to mention," Tooth said slowly. "There are a few things you'll need to learn when you start to deal with other spirits."
Jack's mother looked alarmed. So, the others hadn't told her about this either. "Other spirits?"
"She means," Bunny replied. "Once word gets out that Jack here has gotten Jokul's powers, other spirits may come pokin' around to see for themselves of this new 'Jack Frost'."
"Jack Frost?" He then remember that Tooth had once called him that and looked to her.
She blushed as she twiddled her fingers nervously. "Sorry, I was talking to Befana about you, and she thought it was a good name, and then she told Cupid, and he told the Leprechaun." She gave a sheepish shrug. "It sort of just stuck."
Jack felt uneasy. So, he was currently the latest thing in the rumour mill world of the spirits. "Please, tell me there aren't more like Pitch who are going to try the 'join the dark side' routine..."
Tooth shook her head. "No, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared just in case. You'll need to practice your powers more."
Sandy nodded, and produced an image of Jack flying through the air.
Jack groaned. "Fantastic, just when I thought trouble was over."
"Bah!" North exclaimed waving a hand. "What is with all this fretting? All you need is practice."
Jack bit his lip. "Yeah, but I'm kind of limited of what I can do at home, although I know Jamie would flip to see me making a snowstorm in June."
"That is why we are here! Am offering you to stay at Pole." North declared as he wrapped an arm around Jack. "Spend summer with me, and by end you will be new lord of winter."
Bunny rolled his eyes. "Yeah, not sure leavin' ya alone with North the whole time is the best plan," he shrugged. "Which is why I suggest we all train ya, would be fair dinkum."
"Really?" Jack muttered. "You're not scared of me making a snow storm in your Warren?"
"Who says ya would be making snow storms?" Bunny replied sharply. "I'm thinking more of teachin' ya to fight proper." He flipped his boomerang. "Hand to hand style if ya know what I mean, can't reply on ice and snow for everything."
Sandy beamed as Tooth nodded in agreement. "And Sandy and I are going to help with etiquette and manners." She gave a smile.
Mary gasped. "You're gong to spend the summer with the Guardians?" She began to jump up and down. "Can I go too?! Please? PLEASE?!"
North laughed. "Of course! You are more than welcome to-"
"Excuse me." All heads turned to April as she finished clearing her throat, and was tapping her foot against the floor. "Ice powers or not, I am STILL Jack's mother, and therefore have a saying on where he goes."
All the Guardians exchanged uneasy looks as Jack's mother disapproving gaze fell upon them all. Jack was tempted to laugh. There was something truly hilarious of seeing his mother making the legendary Guardians of Childhood feel like they were misbehaving children.
North was the first to clear his throat. "Yes, of course, we would not dream of doing anything without your permission."
Jack scoffed. "Oh great, you're telling me that even though I inherited the powers of winter, I still have to listen to my mother?"
His mother smirked back. "As long as you live under my roof, yes."
Jack laughed, and looked sincerely at her. "But seriously, please Mom? I think this would be good for me."
His mother stared back, and seemed hesitant, but slowly nodded. "Fine, but," she held up a finger. "Only if you promise that you'll be back in time for school in the fall."
"Wait, I still have to go to school too?"
"Okay, okay, I promise." Jack grinned to himself. Fine, so his life wasn't going back to normal anytime soon. However, maybe that was just as well. Things were probably more fun this way, and he was certain somewhere and somehow his father was laughing alongside him.
Author's Note: Ta da! It is finally done! I just like to thank to all my readers that were patient enough to stick reading this story. I may write a sequel for this at some point (I have some vague ideas, but I need time to brainstorm and plot), but going to try to get some other fics done first. So, once again thank you all for reading this! ^_^