Now that Jack was officially a Guardian, he was allowed to spend as much time in each of the other’s homes as he wanted. Of course, the one who immediately caught his interest was North’s workshop.
Jack had spent years trying to gain entry into that wondrous place; he had lost count of how many of his attempts of his had been thwarted by Phil. The Guardian of Fun had to admit that he enjoyed the yeti’s company, leading him on a sprint through the snow as he chased Jack away.
But now… Now Jack could wander the halls to his heart’s content, eyes wide as he gazed at the plethora of toys. He would sometimes plant himself next to Phil, who was apparently in charge of testing the larger, flying toys in addition to being head of security. Jack liked it when Phil set the contraptions off, his blue eyes following the colorful devices as they sped across the room.
Jack’s favorite part, however, was when he was able to hang out with North.
The big man had sort of taken Jack under his wing, teaching him the history of the spirits and Guardians. Jack’s curiosity only made him want to learn more, and he would spend some nights just sitting in North’s large chair as the Russian flailed his arms about in his storytelling. Sometimes, North would let him help with his creations, allowing Jack to carve into his ice bricks with deadly accuracy. Other times, North would teach him how to use his swords, something that only delighted Jack to the core.
But Jack’s favorite past time at the Pole was exploring.
That was what he was currently engaging in, his staff thrown over his shoulder as he meandered on the beams in the ceiling, watching as yetis and elves scurried about the hallway below him.
This was a hall he had never been in before, a fact that he was positively gleeful about. It was just nearing summertime, so he had some time to kill before he retired to his own home for his yearly hibernation; he’d taken to spending the days at North’s, heading over to the areas with snow year round during the night time hours. He still had some time left before he needed to leave, and he had found a new crevice that he could slip inside.
Naturally, he indulged.
So that was how he had found North’s private quarters. He ducked down, landing on the floor with light steps. Jack spun in a circle, taking in the elaborate bed and posts, red sheets and golden accents and green garland everywhere. His eyes were wide when he came full circle, gaze zeroing in on the giant, magnificent bed.
Jack smirked and took off towards the bed, floating up before dropping hard on the soft mattress, the comforter immediately enveloping him in a soft cushion. He laughed, jumping up once more and flipping in the air, landing once more.
Once he grew bored of jumping on the bed, he hopped down, strolling around the room before stopping to examine the large bookshelf North had across from his bed. He grinned, pulling out one of the picture books he had seen Jamie reading before casually leaning his staff against his shoulder and opening the book, lips pursing in thought as his eyes scanned over the pictures.
The sound of the door creaking open made Jack stiffen, and he turned to see North himself standing in the doorway. He didn’t move-couldn’t move, as North’s surprised face went from Jack, to the book in his hands, to the rumpled bed, and finally to the frost that was beginning to cover the wood in a fine layer.
“Um…” Jack said, eyes wide.
“Jack, what are you doing in here?” North asked, raising an eyebrow as he strolled in.
“I… um…” Jack was at a loss for words. How he hadn’t heard the large man was a mystery; his gate and footsteps were heavy. Then again, North delivered thousands of presents to millions of children; he had to be stealthy…
“What did you do to bed?” North was staring at the bed, a hand tracing his beard up and down as he thought.
Jack was still frozen to his spot. Literally. His feet were encased in a thin layer of ice that had him trapped to the floor. He glanced at North, who was watching him with something akin to amusement.
“I was, um… I was just…” Jack ducked his head. “I found a hole?”
North’s abrupt laughter was not the reaction his was expecting. His eyes narrowed as North walked over to him, laying a large yet surprisingly gentle hand on Jack’s shoulder, taking the book from him with the other.
“Is okay, Jack!” the large man rumbled. “You do not have to sneak! You are guest! Welcome anytime, anywhere!”
Jack immediately relaxed when he realized that he was not in trouble. His feet were released from their hold and he let a tentative grin grace his face.
“Really?” he asked.
“Of course!” North exclaimed. He looked down at the book he had taken from Jack, his grin only growing larger. He leaned down, putting his lips to Jack’s ear. “I keep the best books in my room, no?”
Jack’s grin grew more natural and he nodded.
North returned it, clapping Jack on the back as he returned the book, grabbing something off one of the shelves before heading towards the door. He paused in the doorway, turning back to Jack.
“Oh, and Jack?”
The young Guardian looked up from where he had begun to flip through the book.
“Next time, make sure you do not let elves see you jump on bed.” With a smirk, the jolly old man left, disappearing around the corner.
Jack’s puzzled gaze fell to the ground, where three very angry elves glared at him. One pointed to the bed.
“Sorry?” Jack said, shrugging. When that didn’t seem to appease the small creatures, Jack began to worry slightly and backed up, disappearing out the window faster than the elves could get to him.
The elves, to say the least, were not amused.
It was two days before Easter and Bunny needed help.
Not that he would ever admit it to a certain white haired teen, but Jack was a good sport and played along, knowing how important this was to the rabbit in the wake of last year’s fiasco.
So Jack had happily agreed to assist Bunny with his Easter preparations.
For a price, of course.
Which was how Bunny found himself standing at the mouth of one of his tunnels, tapping his foot impatiently as sounds of Jack’s laughter emerged from within.
“Are you done yet, you gumby?” he groused, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Aw, cheer up, Cottontail!” Jack’s voice floated to him. “I’m almost done!”
“What in the bloody blazes are you even doing in there?” Bunny had tried time and time again to enter the tunnel, but Jack’s sheet of ice on the floor had prevented him from doing so.
“Exploring, or course!”
Bunny blinked for a moment, trying to process what he had just heard.
“Excuse me?” he said, eyes narrowing.
“You heard me!”
“We don’t have time for this!”
“I’m almost done, I swear!”
“That’s what you said thirty minutes ago!”
On the other side of the warren, Jack’s messy white head popped through one of the tunnels.
“Well, that was anti-climatic.”
Bunny stared, wide-eyed, as Jack flew over to him, grinning.
“What, exactly, was the point of all that?” Bunny asked, glaring. “I could have told you where that tunnel lead to!”
“But where’s the fun in that?” Jack laughed.
Bunny rolled his eyes. “Can we please get to work now?”
“Wait! I want to check one more!” Jack immediately flew off to another tunnel.
The pooka groaned as he followed. “Jack, come on, mate!”
“I just want to see how they work!” Jack explained, eyeing the inside of his new tunnel.
“Well, for one, you always seem to know where to find me,” the teen explained, eyes narrowed as he approached the mouth of the tunnel, staff held up in defense.
“Not hard to, mate,” Bunny chuckled. “Just follow the smell of mischief.”
“Hardy, har har,” Jack retorted. “That’s not the only reason.”
“Well, what the other?”
“I still can’t figure out how Pitch did it…”
The Easter Bunny sighed. “You’re not still on that, are you?”
Jack spun around, staff standing upright, to watch his companion. “Why does it matter to you?”
“Because it matters to you, mate,” Bunny replied softly. “I’ve already told you that my tunnels don’t work that way. Pitch used his own powers to manipulate them.”
Jack frowned, and Bunny could practically hear the wheels turning in his head. At this rate, he wasn’t going to get anything done.
“Tell ya’ what,” he said slowly. Jack immediately locked his gaze on him, straightening. “You let it go until after Easter, and you can have complete access to my warren to try and figure it out. Deal?”
Jack’s eyes widened, mouth dropping slightly. Bunny had difficult keeping a straight face, holding out his paw for the younger to shake.
Jack’s eyes suddenly narrowed.
“What’s the catch?” he asked, and Bunny saw him tense.
“No catch,” he responded. “Seriously, mate. I’ve got a lot of work to do…”
Bunny could see the emotions flitting around on Jack’s face before Jack seemed to settle on a decision. He smirked and held out his hand, shaking Bunny’s paw.
“You got a deal, furbrain,” he chuckled. “I’m gonna hold you to that!”
“I don’t doubt that,” Bunny muttered, already regretting the decision in his head. “Now are you going to work or not?”
Jack smiled knowingly. “Let’s paint some eggs!”
Oh, yes. Bunny was going to regret this… big time…
It was halfway through the day when Tooth realized that she hadn’t seen Baby Tooth since her rounds earlier that morning. Feeling as though her fairies could handle the light load for the day, and trusting them that if something happened, she would be alerted, she went on a search for her wayward charge.
When she found Baby Tooth, she was pleasantly surprised to see her flitting about Jack down by the pond. It seemed as though Jack was making ice animals for her, the small fairy buzzing about in happiness as she chased them, a grin on Jack’s face.
“There you are,” Tooth cooed as she approached the pair.
Jack’s head shot up, and the little bee he was controlling immediately melted, smile faltering. Baby Tooth chirped worriedly, flying around his head.
“Sorry!” he yelped, standing up from where he was sitting cross-legged on a rock. “I didn’t mean to take her away!”
“Jack, it’s alright!” Tooth calmed, laying a gentle hand on her shoulder. “I was just getting worried. There’s nothing wrong!”
The teen relaxed, smiling at Baby Tooth, who chattered.
“Is everything okay?” Tooth asked.
“Yeah!” Jack nodded, already creating another creature. “North just sent me by to collect a jar of plastic teeth? I’m not really sure, he was kind of rushed when he pushed a snow globe into my hand and told me to come here.”
“Ah, yes,” Tooth nodded, tapping a finger to her chin. “I know exactly what he’s talking about.”
“You do?” Jack shot her a quizzical look before returning to his creation.
Tooth chuckled, taking flight and crooking a finger at him. “Mhmm. Follow me!” And with that, she took off. She could hear Jack easily catch up to follow her as they zoomed around her palace before landing in a small, secluded spot.
“This place is bigger than I thought,” Jack mused aloud as he landed beside her, eyes wide as he turned his head this way and that, taking it all in.
“I like my space,” Tooth shrugged, flying over to a wall that housed several jars with multiple teeth in each. She began rummaging through them, trying to find the correct one.
“How long did it take you to build this?” Jack asked, walking across the floor and examining the contents on the shelves.
“A few decades,” Tooth answered.
“Are they all connected?”
“Not all. My room is right above the main tooth library, so I can keep an eye on them. That leads out into the surrounding houses, but it mainly stops there. I just got lazy and decided that it was easier to fly from one house to the other than connecting them all.
“Wow,” Jack breathed, picking up a jar and eyeing its contents. “It’s all so elaborate.”
Tooth shrugged, grinning as she found the jar she was searching for. “Ah hah!” she cried, flitting back and turning to her young friend. Her smile melted into fondness as she saw Jack staring in curiosity and awe at her domain.
“You know,” she said, tossing the jar to him. He caught instinctively, looking at its contents in confusion before turning his gaze to her. “Once you deliver that back to North, you’re free to come back and spend time here. I know you have time since your off season is almost beginning.”
“Really?!” Jack asked, grinning.
Tooth laughed, nodding. “You’re welcome here anytime, Jack. You should know that.”
Jack’s smile only grew.
Sandy only had to take one look on Jack’s face before he was beckoning him over to his cloud, his dream sand trailing out of his hands as the last of the children in the area fell into a happy sleep. Jack eagerly joined his friend, making himself comfortable next to Sandy as they drifted in and out of the clouds.
“So where’re we going?” Jack questioned, trailing his hands through the cloud and making a delighted sound as a small dolphin jumped in front of him.
Sandy made a little house symbol.
“Home?” he asked, sounding slightly disappointed. “Sandy, the night’s still young!”
But Sandy shook his head, letting a small smile grace his face. He steered his cloud up, gliding easily through the darkness.
Jack pouted, playing with the sand once more. The two were silent for a while before Jack’s head jerked up.
“Sandy…” he said slowly. “The lake is the other way…”
Sandy only shook his head once more, making a seat belt and buckle appear above his head before he spurred his cloud onward and up. The two broke through the clouds to sail above them, Jack’s laughter flowing behind Sandy as they gained speed.
The laughing quickly quieted the closer they got, however, and Sandy glanced back to watch the young Guardian.
Jack was staring at the giant golden sailboat in wonder, eyes wide and mouth agape.
“So… when you said ‘home’…” Jack breathed. “You really meant your home….”
Sandy nodded and approached the ship, easily landing the cloud so that his friend could hop off. Jack slid smoothly off, hovering over the deck for a moment before allowing his feet to touch the ground, slightly surprised when the sand beneath him didn’t give way. It felt just like real wood.
“Whoa!” he cried, turning to grin at the Sandman. “This is where you live?”
Sandy nodded, returning Jack’s smile.
“This is amazing!”
Sandy signed “Thank you.”
“Oh, wow!” Jack cried, flying around the ship’s deck once before coming to stand at the steering wheel. He propped his staff against the block and took hold of the wheel. “Can you drive it?!”
Sandy nodded, but then made the image of an anchor.
Jack frowned. “Aw…”
Sandy didn’t stand a chance. He rolled his eyes, produced a golden pirate hat made of golden sand and flew over to place it on Jack’s head.
The smile he got was dazzling.
“Where too, captain?” Jack called even as Sandy made a golden anchor appear and rise up over the side of the boat.
Sandy thought for a moment before showing an image of a penguin. Jack laughed.
“Aye, aye!” he cried, spinning the wheel as he pointed forward. “Set the sails!”
The little golden man saluted, grabbing a golden sand rope and tugging. A huge, golden sail popped up, three “Z’s” in varying forms over it as it caught the wind and they surged forward, Jack whooping.
“This is great!” Jack told Sandy, grinning from ear to ear. Sandy nodded, showing a snowflake, a wheel, and a flashing welcome sign in quick succession.
Jack didn’t need a translator to know that what Sandy meant.
Jamie sighed and helped haul Sophie up, wiping her tears as her bottom lip trembled.
“It’s alright, Soph,” he said, smiling softly. “Nothing to worry about. You didn’t even get a scratch!”
But Sophie was having none of it, tears forming in her eyes again.
“Sophie, please don’t cry…”
“Yeah, no crying. Your tears might turn to icicles and that wouldn’t be any fun.”
The two siblings gasped, spinning around to see Jack watching them happily from his perch on top of his staff a few yards away. Sophie’s tears immediately vanished and the two ran towards their friend.
“Jack!” Jamie cried, happiness engulfing him as the Guardian flipped gracefully off his staff to stand before them. “You’re back!”
“’Course I’m back!” Jack laughed, picking Sophie up and giving her a hug. “It’s almost winter! What’d you expect?”
Jamie laughed as Jack ruffled his hair. “Where’s your hat, kiddo?”
“Inside,” Jamie replied. “I didn’t think it was cold enough for it yet.”
Jack made a face. “I’m offended, Jamie.” He frowned, mischief in his eyes as he looked Sophie in the eye. “I think I’ll just leave then. I’m taking this little girl as a souvenir. How’d you like to come see penguins and skate on a pond all day with me, huh, Soph?”
“Yay! Penguins!” Sophie cried, giggling as Jack began to stroll away.
Jamie laughed, following easily. “Hey, no fair!”
“I can’t hear you,” Jack sang, smirking.
The little boy tugged on Jack’s hoodie. “Jack, come on!”
The Winter Spirit stopped and sighed, looking at Sophie again. “What’d you think?” he asked. “Should we let Jamie play with us?”
“Yes!” Sophie exclaimed, clinging to Jack’s neck. “Play!”
“The jury has spoken!” Jack declared, smiling and turning around. “But not ‘till you get your hat!”
“You sound like my mom!” Jamie groused, but he was smiling as he ran back to his house quickly to grab his hat. He returned in record time and the trio set out for the lake.
It was hours later that Jack carried a tired Sophie up the street, Jamie next to him as he told the teen all about his summer.
“And then we went to the ocean!” he cried, skipping ahead and walking backwards to face Jack as he talked.
“Watch where you’re going!” Jack exclaimed, grinning.
“Have you ever been to the ocean?” Jamie asked, obediently turning around to walk forward. “It’s so big!”
“Oh, I know,” Jack chuckled, coming to a stop in front of Jamie’s house. He gently roused Sophie. “Come on, Soph. Time to go home.”
“You can come in if you want!” Jamie was saying.
“I dunno if that’s a good idea, kiddo,” Jack said, biting his lower lip.
“Only for a little!” Jamie pleaded. “My mom’s not home for another hour and my dad’s working late tonight!”
Jack looked hesitantly at the steps.
But he was no match for Jamie’s adorable face. He sighed, giving the boy a small smile. “Alright, alright,” he chuckled. He hefted Sophie in his arms as he followed Jamie up the steps. “Just for a little while.”
Jamie was talking a mile a minute, excited as he led Jack through the house, pointing out everything.
“And that’s the living room!” Jamie was saying, pausing when he realized that Jack wasn’t behind him anymore. “Jack?” He traced back his steps, only to find his friend staring at a picture on the wall, Sophie still held in his arms.
“Jack?” he called softly.
Jack’s white head whipped towards him, startled.
“Uh, yeah…” Jack murmured.
Jamie peered closer at the teen. “Really?”
Jack gave him a small smile. “Sorry. It’s just a little different, that’s all. It’s been a long time since I was in a real family home.”
Jamie walked up to look at the picture Jack was captivated by. “Don’t you all have homes?”
“Oh, yeah!” Jack said, smile forming on his face. “They’re all great! Sandy has a ship for a home!”
“I know! And Bunny has tunnels that lead everywhere!”
“But…” Jamie could feel the thing that Jack wasn’t saying… he knew it was important.
Jack sighed. “It’s just that… the other’s homes are all great, but the last time I was in a family home was when I was human…”
“With your family…” Jamie finished quietly.
Jack nodded, eyes back on the picture.
Jamie watched him for a moment before he pushed forward and pointed to an elderly lady in the black and white photo. “That’s my Nana. She’s my grandma’s mom. She’s really old, but she still tells the greatest stories.”
The teen was quiet for a moment before he nodded a head to an old man in the photo. “Who’s that?”
“That’s my great-great-great Uncle Joey. He built our house!”
Jack smiled, which softened when Sophie yawned. He chuckled. “Alright, you. Let’s get you to bed, huh?”
Once Sophie was tucked in and Jack was getting ready to leave, Jamie grabbed his wrist. Jack glanced back him, curious.
“You can come over next time, too,” Jamie told him. “We can watch a movie and I can show you my mom’s old picture album of all our aunts and uncles.”
Jamie watched the war going on through Jack, hoping that his friend would take up his offer. Finally, a soft, happy look crossed his face and nodded.
“I’d like that…” Jack said quietly, and Jamie grinned. “See you soon, Jamie.”
And with that, Jack took off. Jamie watched him, a happy feeling swelling in his chest.
When Jamie got home from school the weekend before Christmas, he was not expecting four Guardians waiting for him in his room.
“Guys?” he asked, puzzled as he dropped his backpack on the floor. “What are you doing here?”
“Have you seen Jack?” Tooth asked, while Sandy made a golden snowflake above his head, shrugging. North had a worried look on his face and Bunny looked annoyed.
“Not since the Winter Solstice,” Jamie told them, shaking his head. “Is he okay?”
“We cannot find him,” North said, frowning. “Has Sophie seen him?”
Jamie shook his head again. “She’s in Florida with our grandparents for the week.”
“Where the bloody hell has that kid disappeared to?” Bunny exclaimed, throwing his paws up in the air. “This is ridiculous!”
“What’s wrong?” Jamie questioned. His eyes grew wide. “It’s not Pitch, is it?”
Sandy was quick to shake his head, images appearing and disappearing far to quickly for anyone to understand.
“No, it’s not Pitch,” Tooth said, smiling gently.
“It’s a week before one of the biggest holidays of the year and there’s no winter!” Bunny huffed, glaring at North, who rolled his eyes.
“Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year, Bunny,” the tall man corrected. “Do not try to place your little eggs ahead of my giant presents.”
The giant rabbit sputtered. “My holiday is just as important as yours, you gumby!”
“Boys!” Tooth cried, interrupting before the argument could get out of hand. “Let’s focus on the problem at hand, here!”
The three turned their attention back to Jamie, who was conversing with Sandy. The little man had an image of a sun, then a calendar and a snowflake, along with a huge “X”.
“It’s not snowed yet,” Tooth said, worriedly flitting about the room. “And no one has seen Jack. He’s not at home and he’s not in any of the countries where it’s normally cold. We can’t find him anywhere and it needs to snow for Christmas!”
“Have you checked the lake?” Jamie asked, pulling his jacket back on.
“Where do you think we went first, mate,” Bunny groused. “We already told you that he wasn’t home.”
Jamie looked up sharply. “No, no… I’m pretty sure that the lake isn’t Jack’s home.”
The four Guardians exchanged a curious look before Sandy made a question mark.
“I think the lake is like Jack’s winter home, how us humans have a summer house?” Jamie explained. He shrugged. “I don’t know. I just remember him mentioning something about the South Pole being home once…”
“You guys did check the South Pole, right?”
Tooth, Bunny, and North looked anywhere but at Jamie, Sandy shaking his head sheepishly. Jamie smiled softly and chuckled.
“Well, let’s start there.”
“To the sleigh!” North cried, already making for the window.
“Do we have to?” Bunny protested, Sandy clapping his hands as he followed North out.
Jamie laughed, pulling the pooka along after him. “It’ll be a short trip. Come on!”
Tooth fluttered out before them and they all piled into the sleigh. With a cry and burst of light, they were at the South Pole in no time at all.
“It’s so big!” Jamie exclaimed, eyes wide in wonder as he took in the white landscape around them.
“Where too?” North asked over his shoulder.
“Check the middle!” Bunny called, paws over his eyes.
“Whoa…” Jamie breathed as they got closer. “Look at that…”
“I do not believe it…” North said. Even Sandy looked impressed.
“Bunny, you have to see this!” Tooth said, pulling at the Easter Bunny’s paw.
“I’m good, thanks!” he replied.
“No, really! It is magnificent!”
Bunny gulped and pried a paw away from his eyes. He immediately lowered the other one, eyes wide as he took in the scene before him.
Carved into the side of a cliff was a giant ice castle, glowing blue in the sunlight. The detail was exquisite, frosted ferns making it glitter and the designs flow. There were two large towers on either side, a balcony in the middle. A large, medieval-looking ice door was in the middle, complete with a gate and a winding staircase.
“I didn’t know Jack had a castle!” Jamie cried, grinning.
Sandy was talking so fast it was difficult to understand.
North easily landed the sleigh and their party got out, careful not slip on the ice as they approached the front door.
“Do we just go in?” Tooth whispered. Sandy shrugged.
North stepped forward and pushed the door gently open. It opened easily and the group entered, eyes wide as they took in the inside. It was more intricate than the outside, unbelievable fern patterns climbing up and down the walls, on the floor. There was a spiral staircase that lead up to one of the towers, and they all looked at it before heading towards it.
“Look at this…” Jamie said quietly, pausing on a step to peer curiously at the wall. Tooth came to hover behind him, eyes widening when she recognized what they were staring at.
“It’s Sandy!” she said. The little man in question stepped forward.
Sure enough, amongst the wall pattern was the unmistakable form of a little iced Sandman. Upon further searching, they found there was one of each of them, including Sophie and Baby Tooth, and what could only be described as Phil the yeti. They all exchanged glances.
“I’d say we’re in the right place, mates,” Bunny said, glancing up towards the top floor.
When they made it to the top, they found a single door. North nodded and Tooth knocked lightly once. When there was no answer, Jamie turned the handle and poked his head around. He came back, grinning.
“You hafta see this!” he giggled and pushed the door open all the way.
In the middle of the room was a single bed, carved out of ice much like the castle itself. The windows were frosted lightly over, and a soft layer of snow covered the floor and the inhabitant of said bed.
Jack was lying on his side, clutching his staff to his chest, and sleeping peacefully. There was a small smile on his face.
Tooth held a hand to her mouth to keep her laughter in, while Sandy gazed at him fondly. North smiled, and Bunny just gaped.
“This is what you’ve been doing?” he cried, stomping over to the sleeping Guardian.
“Bunny, wait-” Tooth tried, but it was no use.
“Oi! Frostbite!” Bunny said, shaking Jack’s shoulder. Jack frowned in his sleep and swatted Bunny’s paw away.
“What is going on?” Jamie wondered, gazing around the empty room.
“It looks like during the warmer months, Jack goes into hibernation,” North chuckled. “Though I did not believe that I would ever see it.”
“Wake up, you lazy bum,” Bunny was saying.
Jack actually cracked open an eye, glaring at the interrupter of his sleep. “What?” he slurred.
“It’s a week before Christmas, you blockhead!” Bunny exclaimed, glaring. “Get up and make it snow!”
Bunny stepped back, surprised at the bluntness of Jack’s answer.
Tooth hurriedly flew to stand in front of an increasingly angered Bunny, leaning down to gently lay a hand on Jack’s shoulder. “Jack, it’s nearly winter. We really need you to make it snow.”
“Please, Jack?” Jamie begged.
Jack yawned and curled into a tight ball. “No.”
Sandy produced a question mark.
“Why not?” North translated, seeing as Jack’s eyes were once again closed.
The others paused. “What do you mean?”
Jack opened an eye to glare at them once more. He sighed and uncurled his body, the snow shifting around him like a blanket. “Ever heard of global warming?”
“Poppycock,” Bunny huffed, rolling his eyes.
“Go suck an egg,” Jack snapped. Bunny took another step back, ears flattening against his skull. “I’ll make it snow when it cools down enough. Right now it’s too warm so just let me sleep!”
“But what about Christmas?” Jamie asked, horrified at the thought of not having a white Christmas.
“Ever heard of Florida?” Jack said hotly. “They don’t have snow on Christmas. It’s not a big deal.”
“It is to me…” Jamie said quietly.
The others turned to Jack, to see what he would do.
The Guardian of Fun sighed, running a hand over his face before dropping his chin to his chest. He took a deep breath and started to get up from the bed.
“Fine,” he said. “But only for one day. Then I go back to bed until I’m good and ready. Understand?”
Jamie only nodded gleefully.
Jack glared at Bunny as he passed, dragging his staff on the floor behind him. “I have to go talk to the Fall Spirit about this first. Stay here, leave, I don’t care. There’s ice water in the kitchen, but that’s about it. The polar bears are in the kitchen, so just be careful when using the slide. And stay away from the throne room; the wolves are very territorial.” And with that, Jack descended the steps, a cold snap of air flowing in the room after him.
“Polar bears?” North questioned.
“Wolves?” Bunny asked.
“Throne room!” Jamie cried.
Sandy made a picture of a slide.
“Oh, there’s so much to explore!” Tooth exclaimed.
They all exchanged a single look before bolting for the steps.
Who knew that Jack Frost lived in a castle?
With a slide!