It was the first thing he remembered. It was dark and it was cold.
And he was so, so scared.
Jack woke up with a start. His heaving breaths was fogging because of the cold air. He had frozen his room again, the House-Elves would have so much fun cleaning it. And he was pretty sure he wasn’t being sarcastic.
He dropped his head to the pillow and made a strangled frustrated noise as he grabbed his hair. He was twelve now, how long he would still be afraid? Tooth would’ve probably patted him on the head, telling him that it was okay. Bunny would scoff at him, telling him to man up. Pitch always looked at him with that ‘look’, as if the man was trying to decipher a puzzle. Uncle Sandy would smile a knowing smile, which comforted him; the man never said anything and that was a welcome relief.
And North, his dad, when he found out he froze the room again he would probably give a jolly laugh, invite him down for breakfast and Jack would forget. He liked forgetting, because every time he remembered... “I’m not scared.” Jack mumbled to himself, “I’m not.”
He was twelve now.
He won’t be scared anymore.
“Morning Jack!” Tooth greeted him chipperly. Jack grinned back at her. Toothiana was of Veela’s descent with a bit of Occamy’s blood in her (don’t ask how, nobody really wanted to talk about it). She used to go to Hogwarts for almost three years, but when she lost all her baby teeth, she started to sprout feathers and wings. The Ministry, being their usual dick selves, kicked her out of school. Thankfully some of the Professors sympathized with her plight, and gave her lots of materials for self-study.
She came to North when she was only fifteen. She had heard about the powerful wizard who did not tolerate prejudice, who was rumored to have given works to half-breeds and werewolves. Jack didn’t know the rest of the story, it all happened before he was adopted. “Morning Tooth!” Jack slid down the fireman’s pole, something North made for him near his room so he could get downstairs easily. Also, stairs were overrated anyway. He landed gracefully with his staff still in hand. The House-Elves who were milling around stopped whatever they were doing to gave a hearty applause as Jack bowed. “Thank you, thank you.” He then turned to Jingle. “What’s for breakfast?”
Before coming to Hogwarts, Jack didn’t know that the way they treated their House-Elves were different than the other wizards. He knew that you couldn’t give new clothes for them unless you wanted to fire them, so North always gave them wool and knitting materials instead so they could make their own. Apparently, with the others, they just gave the elves one rag that they have to wear forever. That couldn’t be hygienic.
“Flapjacks sir Jack!” Jingle answered before rolling on the floor, laughing. Jack rolled his eyes at the pun. Oh, and another thing, other House-Elves were so afraid of offending their masters, while Jingle and the others made trouble and silly puns wherever they went. Maybe that was why they were here. They didn’t fit in too.
Jack walked together with Toothiana to the dining room (more like FEASTING room) and chattered along the way. “Tomorrow is the first day of September! Are you excited?” Tooth smiled at the beam on his face.
“Yes!” Oh Merlin, he missed Hiccup and Rapunzel, and Merida, and being troublemakers together. They sent letters to each other of course, but Hiccup stopped writing after a while, and it got him worried. The last letter he got from the Hufflepuff wasn’t exactly comforting either.
It was dark, and it was cold.
And he was scared.
“Jack!” A booming voice greeted him, snapping him from his darker thoughts. “You like some flapjacks?”
Jack grinned, “Sure Dad!”
And he forgot.
The train station was still barren of people when they arrived. Jack woke up North in an ungodly hour to get him there early. When the Russian man kept falling asleep while eating their impromptu breakfast, Jack would send ice chills on his toes to keep him up. North cussed in his mother language with every surprised yelp. It usually meant the start of a prank war but Jack was too excited to meet his friends that he didn’t mind when his hair started to glow like a christmas tree.
“Where are they?” Jack scanned the station, searching for any sign of The Study Group.
“Maybe they haven’t arrived, yes?” North looked amused. He never seen the boy this worked up before.
“But they promiiiiiiiiised.” Jack whined. “We were supposed to get here before anybody else took the good seats!”
North chuckled heartily, ruffling his son’s still glowing hair. “Be patient, Jack. Not everyone has enchanted sleigh!”
Jack leered at his dad, “I still don’t believe you when you say you are not Santa.” North laughed even louder.
Jack’s face brightened when he saw one of his friends, “Punzie!” The boy ran up to her and gave a friendly hug, which she returned with a laugh.
“How have you been? Your hair is so festive!” Rapunzel commented about his enchanted hair. They laughed some more, enjoying their reunion.
“Goldie! Don’t suddenly run away like that!” A boy, no older than fifteen, with broad shoulder and dark hair, hurriedly approached them. Jack recognized him as Eugene immediately. Rapunzel talked about him a lot. “You know, by the time you were eleven I thought I would get used to you running off, but nooooo.”
The girl rolled her eyes, “I’m fiiiiine.” She said, mimicking his word.
“And who is this?” Eugene stared down at Jack who was a lot shorter than him.
“Oh! This is Jack! Jack, this is Eugene!” Rapunzel introduced them to each other.
Eugene looked surprised, “I thought he had white hair?”
“Prank wars with dad.” Jack piped in. “Nice to finally meet you. Punzie here talked about you alot. I think she has a crush on you.”
“Jack!” The Ravenclaw blushed, “That’s not true!”
“What? So I’m not good enough for you?” The older teen looked dejected, which made Rapunzel felt guilty.
“No! That’s not what I meant! It’s just I’m too young to think about marriage and--.” She stopped babbling when she heard snickers. “That wasn’t funny you two.” She huffed.
“Merlin! No one even said anything about marriage!” Jack guffawed.
“You should have seen your face!” Eugene gave Jack a hi-five while laughing uncontrollably.
“So glad that you two clicked.” Rapunzel muttered sardonically.
“Oh no, those two met already?”
“Merida!” Rapunzel cheered up immediately, jumping to give a hug. “I missed you!”
“Hehe, I missed you too.” The girls gave a warm embrace before letting go.
“What, no hug for me?” Jack spreaded his arms.
“Let me think about--no.” Merida deadpanned but the laughter in her eyes ruined the effect. “Yeow!” She yelped in surprise and disgust when Eugene put a drool coated finger in her ear. “Didjoo jus’ wet willy meh?!” She exclaimed covering the abused ear.
“Uuuh, I did gave you a fair warning in the letter.” The dark haired teen put on his innocent face. “After all, Blondie got lost in the forest because of you.”
“But you wrote a death threat!” Merida complained.
Jack turned around in confusion, “You’d rather be dead?”
“Shut up Jack.” the redhead grumbled.
Eugene looked at Jack appreciatively, “Huh, I like this guy.”
Merida groaned, “Oh no...”
“Well Eugene, I think this is a start of a beautiful friendship.” Jack sang-song the last two words. Merida groaned even longer. “Speaking of beautiful friendship...” The Slytherin looked around the station, “Hiccup still not here.”
“I hope he’s okay.” Rapunzel was worried, “I still haven’t received his reply letter...” The Study Group went quiet. It was true, Hiccup didn’t talk a lot in his messages, and tend to only answer with short, clipped words as if he was holding something back.
Eugene could feel the anxiety in the air and decided to cheer them, “Hey! Relax! He might be trapped in a traffic or something! You know, muggle streets and all?” The students tried to smile.
“Yeah, that must be it.” Jack said softly, his voice still laced with worry.
Rapunzel quickly changed the subject, “Did you come alone Jack?”
“Huh? No, I came with my dad. The old coot is probably flirting with some lady right now.” It wouldn’t be the first time North did that, although, sometimes he would ask for Jack’s help to charm the ‘beautiful flowers’. Women likes men with kids, he’d say. “What about you Red? Did you ditch your mother?”
“Ssshh! You’ll jinx it!” Merida eyed her surrounding warily as if afraid her mother would suddenly jump out (gracefully) from the shadows. “She didn’t approve of my new hobby...” She looked mournfully at her bow.
“Jack! Look who I found!” A voice boomed, gaining their attention.
“North! You bumbling old fool! Put me down this instance!”
“Sir... I can walk by my own, really.” Another voice nervously piped in.
There he was, Jack’s father, Nicholas North Frost, with two extra baggages on his arms.
“I am a Professor! The students can’t see me like this!” Pitch hissed as he struggled to break free.
“Hah! Is just Jack and friends!” North said in his booming voice.
The Professor’s body tensed and he turned his head slowly to see behind him. “No...” He mouthed soullessly. The three students plus Eugene were not only awestruck by North’s strength, but also with the ridiculousness of the situation.
“Did anyone bring a camera?” Jack whispered as if afraid speaking too loudly would break the trance. Eugene handed him one without tearing his gaze from North and with mouth still hung open. Jack snapped a picture and sighed in content as he saw the result.
Pitch thrashed even more and North rolled his eyes as if he was handling a childish, tantrum throwing boy. He put down the pale man gently and patted his head. Pitch slapped his hand away in irritation and glared at Jack, his finger pointing threateningly. “Boy, don’t you dare.”
“Don’t worry, this is going to my private collection.” Which actually meant Jack’s collection of blackmail materials, but no one needed to know that.
Pitch snarled and North held him back from advancing forward. “Now, now! Jack wouldn’t share it with anyone else, wouldn’t you Jack?”
“Of course!” Jack gasped, looking very abashed by the idea.
“That’s a load of--.”
“Yeah, not wanting to ruin the moment here, but my back is starting to hurt so can you put me down please?” Everyone turned their attention to the poor boy North was still carrying.
Jack couldn’t believe he didn’t recognize him sooner (Although, in his defense, he only had a picture to cherish). “Hiccup!” He rushed to the boy who had just landed on the floor, arching his aching back. He hugged his friend who immediately yelped at the contact. Jack let go, feeling embarrassed. “Sorry about that.”
“No, it’s fine.” Hiccup smiled, still rubbing his sore spot. The girls patted him instead of giving a hug because they were afraid of making his back felt worse.
Jack turned his father, his eyes were sparkling. “Dad! Where did you find him?”
“He was struggling with his luggage, so I helped him!” North answered, “Is okay to ask for help, Hiccup.”
The Hufflepuff looked down, his face was red in embarrassment. “Thank you Mr. Frost.”
North gave a jolly ‘ho ho ho’ laugh, “Just North is fine!”
Hiccup whispered to Jack, “Is your dad The Santa Clause?”
“He denies it.” Jack whispered back. A hand suddenly grabbed his shoulder and he tensed. It was Pitch.
“The picture.” he said in a clipped tone.
“Pitch! You have to go to to the teacher’s compartment, yes? Here, let me take you!” North picked up his friend again on his shoulder. The pale professor could only struggled helplessly as he was being whisked away. Before leaving, North gave a wink to the children and then hummed some Christmas song as if to drown out Pitch’s protests.
Still awestruck by the fact that The Greatest Head Auror Ever was being carried like a child with ease, Merida confessed. “Jack, your dad is my new hero.”
They got into the train together after saying goodbye to Eugene. The older teen made them promise to write to him, and that was how Jack and Hiccup got a new pen pal. “Oh, your hair is turning back to white.” Rapunzel commented. They finally found their compartment, Jack was really picky and wanted to sit where the candy trolley would visit first.
“What a shame, you looked good with glowing hair.” Merida snorted.
“Why, thank you Sunshine. I never thought you care.” Jack put both of his hand on his face as if he was embarrassed and fluttered his eyes. Rapunzel couldn’t help but to laugh.
Slowly, the train was beginning to be filled by the other students. They talked about pretty much everything while waiting for the train to start its engine. Hiccup kept quiet the whole time and only talked when being addressed. Jack didn’t like it, at all. “You know that if there’s anything bothering you, we can help right?”
“I know.” Hiccup answered, but his heart was not in it.
Jack frowned, “Hiccup, seriously, what’s wrong?”
“S’nothing, really. You worry too much.” Hiccup grinned. Everyone in the compartment knew that it was strained. Rapunzel gave Jack and Merida a look, as if saying to leave him alone until he was ready to talk.
“Alright.” Jack backed down. Something happened with Hiccup. He wished that he could help his friend, but how could he do that if he didn’t know what the problem was? Jack leaned on his seat when the train started to move. Eventually, he drifted to sleep.
It was dark and it was cold.
The same pattern that kept on repeating like a broken record. The same pattern that would swallow him whole and left him awake with ice covering his room and the memory of fear. But this time, something was different.
“You promised me your everything!” It was a woman’s voice. Jack turned his head away from the darkness and saw the cold behind him. There was a woman, her robes were tattered and bloodied, her long sandy locks were covering her face. In front of her was a man, holding two handed swords and pointing them at the woman.
North. The man was his father. Sure he looked younger and his hair wasn’t white like he was now, but Jack would recognized him anywhere. What was happening? Why would North used swords?
“It was a mistake.” His voice dripped like a poison, “I shouldn’t have let you.”
“Why? Why did you betray me?! You promised me you would help change the world!”
Instead of an answer, all North gave her was a slash. Jack felt a wave of nausea attacked him as her blood sprayed and her body went limp to the ground. North didn’t even look back at her as he cleaned the blood from his sword, as he walked away.
Someone was calling him.
“I’m sorry Jack...”
Someone was apologizing to him.
“He betrayed me... but I won’t let him betray you.”
Jack woke up when something warm touched his forehead. For a moment he felt disoriented because a) he was no longer on the train and b) he was lying down. The nurse withdrew her hand and gave Jack a relieved smile. She then moved back to give the boy some air while Jack took in his surroundings. He was in the Hogwarts Hospital Wing.
The boy groaned as he tried to sit up. “What happened?”
“Now, now, you can’t sit up yet.” The nurse gently pushed him back onto his pillow. “We still don’t really know what happened to you.” She pursed her lips together. “Is this the first time this happened?”
“Did I freeze the train?” Jack ignored the question. He was more afraid of what he might have done rather than what might happened to him.
“No? I don’t think so?” The young woman looked confused and worried. “Do you have a condition that I should know?”
Jack flinched at the word ‘condition’ and shifted to avoid her eyes, “No, not really.”
“Mr. Frost, it’s okay, no one will judge you for something out of your control.” She said gently. “And I need to know if something is wrong with you before I can release you.”
“I’m fine...” He mumbled.
“No you are not. You didn’t respond at all when we tried to wake you up. And I think your friends will feel more at ease if you tell us what’s wrong.”
Jack scowled at her. It was obvious that she wouldn’t let him go without being a nag about it. What should he say? What could he say? It wasn’t like he was going to announce to the world that he had a dream of his father being a cold blooded killer! Beside, it was just a dream. The nurse seemed to get impatient by his silence and sighed deeply. “Fine, I already checked your health and it seems that nothing is wrong at the moment. You are free to go.” Jack almost cheered. “But! If something like this happens again, I doubt you will ever get out of Hospital Wing without explaining some things.”
“Did you just threaten me?” The Slytherin looked amused.
“Don’t be silly.” She said as she ushered him out of the room. “Stay healt--.” She paused. Jack followed her stare and saw what she was looking at.
“Guys?” The other three from The Study Group were soundly asleep in front of The Hospital Wing’s door, huddled together and was covered in a thick blanket.
The nurse was irritated. Last night, those three kept sneaking inside (she still didn’t know how they could do that) and refused to leave the room without knowing what was happening with their friend. After a quiet argument (in fear of disturbing Mr. Frost) and a threat of calling Professor Black, they finally agreed to leave. But of course they didn’t get back to their own dorm. She would dread it if they ended up with a fever or a flu because of the cold.
Rapunzel’s eyes fluttered open as she woke up. Yawning and stretching her arms in a ladylike manner. She scratched her hair, still not fully awake. Jack grinned, “Morning Princess.” Rapunzel blinked and turned her head around, searching for the source of the voice. “I’m here!” He chuckled, apparently, Rapunzel was not a morning person. Or it might be because she was spending her night sleeping on a hallway.
The Ravenclaw tilted her head again and narrowed her eyes as if trying to make sense what she was seeing. Finally, her eyes widened in recognition and she was fully awake. “Jack!” She jumped from her sitting position, which was between Hiccup and Merida. That left the two waking up in surprise and hitting each others’ head. “You are okay!”
“Yep!” Jack smiled widely. Were they waiting for him?
“Ouch...” Hiccup groaned and Merida was rubbing her sore head beside him. The Hufflepuff soon forgot his hurting spot when he saw his friend was okay. “Hey Jack.” He waved lazily.
“Blimey... Hiccup, how hard is your head?” The archer complained.
“Pot calling the kettle black.” Hiccup snorted. Merida grinned and punched his shoulder playfully. They both shrugged off the blanket, standing up and stretching their sore body. Sleeping on a hard floor wasn’t comfortable at all. “Where did we get this blanket?”
“I thought you transfigured it?” Merida was confused.
Rapunzel rolled her eyes, “Guys! Jack is awake now and you are wondering about a blanket?” Jack felt flattered by the fact that the three was waiting for him and even slept outside their dorm just to make sure he was okay. Not that he was going to tell them that. They might get the wrong impression.
The nurse, while she looked amused by their interaction, was still going to give them a stern lecture. “Children, I thought I told you to go back to your dorm?”
“Yeah, it’s a little too late for that now.” Hiccup shrugged. “I think it’s already time for breakfast?”
Jack was surprised, “How long was I out?”
“We are not sure? You just kind of fell asleep in the train and didn’t wake up at all until now...” Rapunzel bit her lower lip, “But you are okay now, right?”
The staff wielder gave his best smile. “Of course! She even said I am free to go!” He pointed to the nurse with his thumb.
“She has a name, you know.” The nurse grumbled, “My name is Lillia Maxim, remember that.” Her expression softened as she patted his head affectionately. “Now go get your breakfast, you can’t function without having a hearty meal!”
Jack snorted. That sounded like something North would say. “Good idea, I’m starving.” Merida patted her stomach to emphasize.
“When are you not?” Jack snarked at her.
“Watch it Frost.” The redhead pointed her finger threateningly, although everyone in the vicinity could see that it wasn’t serious.
“Whatever you pig.” Jack cackled as Merida chased him all the way to the Great Hall. Hiccup and Rapunzel just sighed and shook their heads, following their friends at a reasonable pace.
They arrived in the middle of breakfast, where everyone was already eating the main course. They chose their usual spot at the Hufflepuff table and while the second years moved willingly a few first years stared at the group with some confusion. “Um... Can they do that?” A first year girl whispered to Hannah.
“Apparently” Hannah muttered taking a sip of her pumpkin juice before giving Hiccup a warm smile. “Welcome back Hiccup, did you have a good summer?”
Hiccup twitched slightly before piling his plate with Flapjacks and sausages. “It was ok” He shrugged, “The usual.”
Feeling a bit awkward by Hiccup’s short answer Hannah simply nodded before turning back to the first year explaining the ins and outs of Hogwarts.
“How do you like that, how come she didn’t ask me about my summer?” Jack frowned piling his plate high with waffles and drenching them with syrup. Another Hufflepuff looked on in disgust.
“She just wants to get on our Lord’s good side.” Merida pointed out before pointing her fork at Jack’s plate. “And you called me a pig.”
“I haven’t eaten in 24 hours” Jack said before motioning to her plate with about three different styles of pork product, ham, sausage and bacon, all piled up. “What’s your excuse? I’d call you a pig but that would be cannibalism.”
Merida huffed before digging in. “I’m beefing up for Quidditch try outs.”
“Don’t you mean porking up.” Rapunzel added causing Jack to nearly choke on his waffle.
“Rapunzel!” Merida exclaimed looking betrayed “Not you too!”
“I’m sorry! It was too perfect” Rapunzel apologized with a sheepish smile.
“Good one.” Jack grinned, giving Rapunzel a high-five.
“Traitor.” Merida grumbled but she had on a good natured smile.
“I’m thinking of trying out too” Hiccup added in piling a bit more meat on his plate. “For Quidditch, I mean.”
Jack who was drinking apple cider spit it back into the cup coughing slightly. Merida was full out laughing while Rapunzel chuckled slightly. “Now that’s a good one!” Merida chortled holding her sides. “Almost killed Jack with that one.”
Hiccup gave a glare at his friends before turning to his plate, his fists and jaw clenched “I’m serious.” He said in that tone that left no room for argument.
At once they all stopped laughing, looking at one another before looking at Hiccup.
“Oh, I-I’m sorry Hiccup it’s just, you really don’t seem like a jock type.” Rapunzel explained lightly touching his shoulder.
“A thinker and inventive yes, but Quidditch?” Merida asked a bit concerned “Are you sure?”
“Quite sure.” Hiccup nodded before chowing down on his sausage like he was fighting a battle.
They wondered if maybe this sudden interest in sports had something to do with the problem from earlier but decided not to say anything more about it. If Hiccup wanted to talk, then he would talk.
“I think it’s great that you want to try out Hiccup” Hannah said with a kind smile, the nosy little eavesdropper she was. “The Hufflepuff team isn’t very competitive we are all about giving everyone a fair shot at playing. I’m not on the team personally but I know someone who is and they will gladly give you a chance to play.” Hiccup nodded with a shaky half smile before going back to his food. Hannah gave a frustrated huff before going back to people who appreciated her kindness, like the wide eyed adorable first years.
From the Slytherin table, Pucey sauntered over to where they were eating. “Hey Rapunzel,” He waved almost a little shy. “How was your summer?”
Rapunzel glanced up and gave her bright sunshine smile “Oh it was great, Eugene took me to this muggle theme park and he won me a stuffed animal.”
Pucey’s face visibly fell causing Jack to snigger. Pucey turned a glare down at Jack and sneered. “What’s so funny Frost?”
“Aren’t you going to ask me how my summer went Pucey-kins?” Jack asked fluttering his eyelashes, Hiccup snorted and rolled his eyes while Merida chuckled.
Pucey sputtered, his face a notable shade of red. “I-I... Oh, bugger off Frost!” He said before stomping away. Once he was out of earshot both Merida and Jack roared with laughter.
“Well that made my morning!” Jack beamed continuing with his meal.
“You are the worst.” Hiccup sighed but there was a smile on his face.
“What is so funny?” Rapunzel asked with a confused look. “I don’t know why you guys tease him, he’s really a sweet boy.”
“Never would have pegged you for a heartbreaker Punz,” Jack grinned.
“Yeah that sounds like something you would do once you hit puberty.” Hiccup pointed at Jack with his fork.
“Shut up and eat your bacon” Jack said with a smirk.
Of course no day would be complete without the Gryffindor siblings making an appearance at their table.
“Well if it isn’t the snake, the rat and their little friends” Martha sneered. “Didn’t see you at the Feast last night, don’t tell me you already got a detention on your first day.”
Merida rolled her eyes. “Jack was sick so we were being good friends, something you probably aren’t familiar with.”
“Why am I always ‘and friends?’ I have a name you know,” Hiccup glared at Luke. “One you should be very familiar with.”
“We didn’t come here to pick a fight, we are not the type to sink to your level.” Luke glared back.
Jack let out a sarcastic laugh at that, before going back to his waffles.
“We just wanted you to know that the Gryffindor sign-up sheet will be posted on Wednesday and tryouts are this Friday. We are going to be needing a Beater, a Seeker and some replacement players. As much as I hate talking to a rat like you, I’m obligated to let you know.” Luke said not looking at all pleased.
“How kind of you” Merida said with a roll of her eyes. “I suppose I should thank you for being a good upper classmen.”
“As the new team Captain and Keeper, I’m just doing my job.”
“But don’t think for one second that I’m going to let you take the Beater position” Martha smirked placing a thumb to her chest. “That’s mine”
“Not on your life you pretentious little-”
“Merida!” Rapunzel scolded before fixing Martha with her best sunshine smile. “Best of luck to you then, the team will need plenty of replacements.”
Jack let out a choked laugh before reaching under the table and lifting up his staff. “You need some ice for that burn?” Martha let out an angry huff before turning and storming away her brother in tow.
“Rapunzel you are on a roll today” Hiccup commented with a smile.
Rapunzel smiled shyly before turning to Merida placing a hand over hers. “Don’t listen to her, you’ll get that Beater spot for sure.”
“Not if her brother is the team Captain” Merida groaned her head hitting the table. “He’ll give it to her for sure.”
“Well, good I hope a Bludger hits her in the nose.”
“Jack!” Rapunzel gasped.
“What!? We’re all thinking it!” Jack threw his hand in defense.
“Yeah we kind of were.” Hiccup nodded finishing his meal. “What classes do you have today?”
“I think I have Potions with you” Rapunzel beamed “You better be my partner, I’m terrible at potions.”
“Lucky you Merida, you have Charms with me today,” Jack grinned.
“Ugh kill me now...” Merida groaned but she had a small smile on her face.
The four friends finished up their meals talking about their summer break, (except for Hiccup but clearly summer was a sore subject so they didn’t ask) and soon they filed out of the Great Hall with the rest of their Houses to their morning classes.
Professor Joyce was late like usual, and Jack spent his time trying to rile Merida. It was good to have her distracted from the leers her housemates gave her. He knew that some of the Gryffindors didn’t actually hate Merida, but they were still wary. Especially with the label ‘rat’ being stapled to her person. Sometimes he wondered if it was his fault, since he was the one who threatened Martha. But the Combe girl needed a reminder, and Merida needed protection. “Aaaaah, I’m booooooored.” Jack whined as he rested his chin on the desk.
“Do something productive then.” Merida rolled her eyes.
“Like...” Jack reached out to his pocket and pulled out something. “A game of Exploding Snaps?”
The redhead deadpanned at her friend, “Right before class?”
“Oh, come on. This won’t be the first time we’ve gotten into trouble.” Jack pleaded. “Beside, it’s Professor Joyce, he would probably gives us cookies instead of detention!” Merida chew her lip, thinking it over. And Jack could just feel her joining the dark side (Mwahahahaha!). Unfortunately, the Ravenclaw Head of House arrived the moment Merida was about to give her answer. “Oh man...”
Merida smirked as if it was her victory. Even though she was clearly about to say yes. “Class, today we will learn the Skurge spell. Can anyone tell me what it is?” Since the class was consisted of Gryffindors, who leaned more on Spartan side of learning, and Slytherins, who usually only learned stuff they thought was going to be useful and/or powerful, not many people raised their hand. And by not many people it meant only Jack raised his hand. “Mr. Frost?”
“It’s a variation of the Scouring Charm, used to clean ectoplasm ghosts left behind. Oh, and it’s also good for hurting obnoxious poltergeists.” He ended with a grin.
“Correct, 10 points to Slytherin.” Professor Joyce sighed, “And Mr. Frost? Since we are going to work with the school’s poltergeist, I would suggest you don’t use it to hurt him, alright?”
The white haired boy nodded before whispering to Merida, “Do I look that eager to cause trouble?”
“Considering you just asked me to play Exploding Snaps...” She let her sentence hung. Jack stuck out his tongue childishly.
The old professor led the class to a previously unused classroom, which he reserved for today’s study. There was a ghost hanging there, he looked mellow and was wearing a medieval clothing like the rest of Hogwarts’ ghosts. “Oh, you are here.” The ghost said in an almost mechanical tone.
“Students, this is Harness, our resident poltergeist. He is going to help us with today’s lesson.” Harness nodded solemnly when Joyce introduced him.
“What a ray of sunshine.” Pucey muttered behind Jack.
After Professor Joyce made them practice the pronunciation (which Merida almost failed at because Jack kept trying to make her say it in her ‘special accent’) it didn’t take long until he asked Harness to spread some ghost goo around the room. Several disgusted ‘yuck’ and ‘eeewww’ were expressed. The ghost looked even more miserable than before. The Professor gave them a warning glare to shut them up. Harness gave him a grateful look and left.
“This is how this lesson is going to work. For every successful attempt at cleaning the ectoplasm, I will reward you a box of candies from Honeydukes.” Several cheered while a couple of others muttered something about ‘too childish’. “Not to worry, I won’t give you any penalty for a failed attempt. Except if you blow the ectoplasm, then we will have a problem.” Joyce chuckled lightly at his own inside joke. “Now make a line! We will do this in turns.”
It was a good day at Hogwarts. No pranks, no accidents, no students trying to sneak outside to the Forbidden Forest--What was this? Murdoch opened the letter he just received carefully. It was from the The Hogwarts Express’ Conductor, the man rarely sent him a letter unless there was an emergency. Oh boy, this wasn’t going to be good, was it? Murdoch gulped and read it. Apparently, one of the trolley ladies went missing. They couldn’t find her anywhere. Murdoch gulped, feeling the cold sweat trailing down his cheek. This wasn’t good.
Immediately, The Headmaster exited his office to find Professor Black. He tried to look as natural as possible. He was sure he looked convincing but the students gave him weird stares and were asking him if he was okay. “Me? Haha, of course I’m okay! Now, could you tell me where Professor Black is?”
The Ex-Head Auror was in his own office, of course. He was preparing for his class when Murdoch came in. “Oh, Headmaster, are you alright? You look a little pale...”
Murdoch couldn’t handle the pressure anymore and broke down. “Merlin’s pants! Black, you have to help me!”
The younger man was surprised to see his employer shaking like a leaf. “Headmaster? Please, sit down.” He gestured to a chair. Murdoch nodded and sat. “Tell me, what is wrong?”
“One of the trolley ladies from our train went missing! Oh, imagine the scandal if she cannot be found!” Murdoch panicked. Perhaps it was just his imagination, but he thought he saw Black rolling his eyes.
“I doubt there would be a scandal--.”
“You have to help me Black! You are an ex-Auror, you are good at finding people right?”
“I will fill in on your class while you are away!”
That made Pitch thought twice. He wanted to avoid the second years today, considering that his class involved Slytherin and Ravenclaw. Don’t get him wrong, he liked the Corona Heiress, one of his favorite students even. But he couldn’t say the same about his nephew and without the Hufflepuff boy to prevent Jack’s prankster gambit, he might found himself covered something slimy upon entering the class.
“Jack, what are you doing?” Merida hissed.
“I’m taking some ectoplasm for my dear uncle, why?”
“Alright, don’t worry Headmaster, I will find the woman.” Pitch agreed.
“Oh thank you Black!” The color was returning to Murdoch’s face. “I will give you the coordinates for the train station’s fireplace, let’s go.”
The DADA Professor raised an eyebrow, “Now?”
“Well of course! The sooner we find her the better right?” Murdoch looked confused.
Pitch felt like sighing. How could this man be a Headmaster? “Very well, I have a class in five minutes. You will fill my role, yes?”
“I did say that.” Murdoch nodded.
“My syllabus is in my desk, I think it would be most helpful.”
“Right, right, now let’s go. You have a lady to save.”
He remembered the cold. And the creeping fear that slowly swallowed him. He wanted to forget, oh god let him forget.
“Hey! Leave her alone!”
“Go away Jackie! No one likes you!”
It wasn’t his fault. North said it wasn’t his fault.
Today was Jack’s birthday, or at least the day the orphanage found him being left at their front door. He was excited for it, not only because of the cake but also because Emma promised him a surprise. However, when he couldn’t find his little sister figure in the building, he began to worry. Was this part of the surprise?
He double checked the hallway just to make sure. He still couldn’t find her. Just as he was about to give up he heard Emma’s voice. She was screaming and crying. “No!” Jack looked outside the window and found that the bully Dodgson and his cronies were throwing ice balls--not snowballs, ice balls- to Emma. They cornered her near the cold lake, and she got nowhere else to run.
Jack did the only thing that made sense, he used the window for shortcut and threw a snowball at Dodgson. “Hey! Leave her alone!”
“Go away Jackie! No one likes you!”
The crying girl looked at him with pleading eyes. Jack wouldn’t leave her alone. He wouldn’t do that to anyone. “You mean no one likes you.” Jack stomped his way to the red haired boy. Before Dodgson could throw an ice ball at him, he tackled the bully and punched his face.
But Emma was too slow and Dodgson’s underlings caught her. “Emma!” Jack tried to stand up from his position but the redhead tackled his legs. Dodgson laughed mockingly and stretched his hand to grab Jack. Jack yelped when Dodgson gripped his collar and raised him up. The bully was big, and someone skinny like Jack would be easy to pick up.
He was scared.
Jack thrashed his legs trying to kick Dodgson away. He could hear Emma crying even louder, and the bullies laughed even harsher. Then, something impossible happened. Ice started to cover Dodgson’s left arm, and in the state of panic and shock, he threw the boy he was holding to the lake.
He jolted awake when someone called his name. Jack’s eyes were wide open.
“Goodness! Can’t you tune down the cold! It’s still 6 AM!” Pucey’s teeth chattered. It wasn’t snowing yet but it was pretty darn close.
Jack’s brain was still a little bit fuzzy. It took a little longer for him to give a reply. “Sorry there Princess! Didn’t mean to wake you up!” His grin was a little strained but it wasn’t like anyone here would notice.
There was an angry twitch on Pucey’s face but the boy kept his mouth shut. Not that it would last long, it was Pucey after all. “Were you sleeping with your staff?” He asked curiously when he saw the long stick on Jack’s bed.
“I sleep with my staff all the time.” The white haired boy shrugged. He yawned and got up.
“Weirdo.” Jack’s other roommate muttered and he gave the tan skinned boy a grin. He needed to start remembering the first years’ names...
“Well, since I’m awake already I’m going to raid the kitchen. See ya!” Jack gave a wave and strode outside.
Jack rolled his eyes and went back to his room, “Everyone’s a critic.” He opened his trunk and grabbed his school robe before going outside again.
“You still haven’t changed your pajamas yet!” Pucey said exasperatedly.
“I don’t play by your rules!” Jack yelled from the Common Room.
The staff wielder slipped into his robe with his pajamas still underneath it. He walked rather hurriedly, his eyes were darting everywhere as if expecting something to jump at him. The cold air he suddenly let out made his breath hitched. He couldn’t breakdown in the hallway. He couldn’t. He started to run. He didn’t have any particular place in mind, just somewhere where there was no one around. He opened a door and closed it with force after he entered the room. The hand that held his staff tightly started to tremble. His knees felt weak as he slid down the floor.
“Emma...” He said with choked sobs, “I miss you...”
Jack stopped his sobbing immediately when he heard footsteps. He frantically wiped his tears, hoping he wouldn’t look stupid when someone found him. “Mr. Frost?” It was Lilia, the nurse. Oh, he was in the Hospital Wing... “Mr. Frost, are you alright?” The young woman asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?” He mustered his bravado and ignored his still shaking hand.
The nurse went quiet. None of them said anything until Lilia smiled softly. “Would you like some tea?” Jack gave her a puzzled look. “It would help calm your nerves.”
The boy nodded slowly and followed her to her office. He expected the disgusting smell of medicines, but instead he was being welcomed by the scent of something sweet... like North’s cookies and Tooth’s flowers. “Sit here, I will make you something soothing.” She pushed a puffy chair with armrests and high back. Jack felt like he was going to get eaten by it when he sat there. It was comfy.
He watched Lilia as she gracefully brewed the tea. When she finished she brought a tray of shortbread cookies along with a cup of tea. “I think these cookies will go along well with chamomile tea.” She winked. Now Jack knew where the scents came from. He sipped his drink slowly. It was warm and it felt nice. He didn’t want to finish it so quickly. He put down the cup and took a little bite of cookie. A sense of familiarity rose in Jack’s heart.
“My dad likes to bake cookies for me.” He muttered softly.
Lilia seemed to be genuinely interested but Jack wasn’t sure. It could be that she was just being polite. However, he found himself telling her more. “Yeah, he liked to bake with our House-Elves, even teaching them new recipes.”
The young nurse looked befuddled. “With House-Elves?”
Jack chuckled weakly, “Well yeah, I’ve always thought that it was the normal thing to do. But then when I came to Hogwarts, I finally realized just how unusual my household is.”
“You must have an interesting childhood.” She said sincerely.
“You could say that.” Jack took another sip and he started to feel drowsy. He yawned rather widely, making Lilia giggled.
“Are you still tired?” The boy shook his head at her question. Lilia rolled her eyes. “Of course you are! You should go back to sleep!”
“No.” Jack said stubbornly. “Beside, I have class today.”
“And you had just passed out a couple of days ago! You shouldn’t push yourself too hard...”
“But I don’t want too...” His whine was stopped by another yawn.
Lilia looked victorious as if that yawn just made her win. “That’s it young man, go to sleep. I will inform your professors that you won’t be going to class today.” She ushered him to one of the bunks.
“You say that as if I will skip all of them.” Jack grumbled unhappily.
“I never said that.” The nurse frowned a bit. “Go to sleep Mr. Frost. I won’t let anything bad happened to you.”
He wanted to protest, but found that the pillow was too soft and his eyes couldn’t help but to flutter. Lilia was right, he was still too tired for this. Soon, his eyes closed completely and he fell asleep.
“Please don’t tell me he suddenly passed out again...” Hiccup chewed his lower lip when he couldn’t find his best friend. The Study Group were sitting on the Ravenclaw table today, which was close to the Slytherin table. The first years were eyeing them curiously as the older students told them about Hogwarts Rulebook. “Pucey!” The boy twitched when Hiccup called his name so casually. “Do you know where Jack is?”
“Do I look like his babysitter to you?” He was irked.
“No, but you are his roommate.” The Hufflepuff pointed out.
Pucey’s shoulders sagged a bit at the fact. “Ugh, fine. He woke up this morning saying he wanted to raid the kitchen.”
Hiccup nodded and turned to his friends. “To the kitchen?”
“To the kitchen.” Merida and Rapunzel nodded.
They stood up from their seat and left. Hiccup could hear The Headmaster’s disapproval even from afar but the man couldn’t really do anything about it since there was no rule against eating in the kitchen. Rapunzel waved to Pucey, “Thanks!”
The Slytherin boy quickly hid his face and muttered “Anytime...” as quietly as possible.
When they exited the Great Hall they were surprised to see Nurse Maxim near the entrance. “Nurse Maxim!” Rapunzel greeted, “How are you?”
The older female smiled, “I’m fine Ms. Corona... where are you going? Is the breakfast over already?”
“Oh no, we are just about to go to the kitchen.” Merida answered, “I bet Jack already ate all of the pancakes.”
“Mr. Frost?” Nurse Maxim looked confused. “He was sleeping in the Hospital Wing last time I checked.”
Hearing the word ‘Mr. Frost’ and ‘Hospital Wing’ in the same sentence alerted the three. “Is he alright?” Hiccup immediately asked her.
“Well yes, I think he was just tired but I wouldn’t take any chances. So I told him to rest for the day.” When she saw that the three students were ready to bolt to see Jack, she immediately grabbed Merida and Hiccup. “Oooh no, no, no! You are not going to disturb my patient!”
“We won’t! We just want to make sure he’s okay!” Merida complained.
“And he will be after a good, uninterrupted sleep.” The nurse said rather sternly. “Not to mention you still have classes right?” The students nodded. “I need to tell the professors about his absence, but I think you can do it for me? I still need to check on Mr. Frost.”
“Alright...” Rapunzel gave in. “But you will tell us if anything wrong is happening to him, right?”
“Of course.” Nurse Maxim said gently. “Now go back to your breakfast. I don’t want more students collapsing.”
They went back to the Great Hall, which made them received some curious stares. “Why are they back?” A Ravenclaw first year whispered to his friend, whom shrugged in response.
“I dunno, ask them.”
“No way, you ask them!” He hissed.
“You are the one who wanted to know!”
“Are we that scary?” Rapunzel looked a little down.
“They should fear us. Our Lord is going to be their future Tyrant after all!” Merida puffed her chest, before deflating it. “You know... this doesn’t feel the same without Jack.” They went back to their seat, feeling their spirit dampened. “If Jack still doesn’t show up by lunch, I vote for breaking into the Hospital Wing.”
Jack woke up feeling fresher than before. He didn’t dream, and it made him felt so, so relieved. He also felt sticky, probably because he hadn’t take a bath yet, and also because he was still wearing his pajamas. Oh no, Tooth would kill him if she knew he ate cookies and didn’t brush till... noon? How long was he asleep? “This is going to be a habit, huh?” He said to himself. He stretched his body and stood up. Beside his bunk was another batch of cookies. “Oh well, what Tooth doesn’t know won’t kill me.” He grinned and took the cookies with him. He sniffed his robe, which was a strange combination of sweat and chamomile scent. “Yuck!”
Deciding that he is in need of a shower, Jack pocketed the cookies pouch and took his staff in hand. Of course there was a cleaning spell, but it didn’t do as much wonder as running water. He was about to exit the Hospital Wing when he stopped abruptly. This was already noon right? Which meant there was going to be a lot of students in the hallway. They would start asking questions that he would rather not answer.
“Mr. Frost, you are awake!” A cheerful feminine voice greeted him.
Jack turned around, “Hi Nurse Maxim.” He greeted back. “Say, do you have a bathroom around here?”
The edge of her mouth twitched into a smile. “Of course we do, silly!” It was apparent that she was holding back a giggle. Jack felt pretty foolish right now. Of course they did, hygiene was part of health and all that crap.
Lilia showed him the bathroom and Jack gave her a grateful, “Thanks.” Before entering it.
“You bath with your staff?”
Jack rolled his eyes, which was his automatic response to any question regarding his staff. “I bath with my staff all the time.” He then closed the door. Lilia was confused when he opened it again, handing his robe to her. “I don’t want the cookies to get soggy.” This time, she didn’t hold back her laughter.
It was lunchtime and Jack wasn’t here yet. Hiccup got antsy which made the others antsy. “Well, I think it’s time we break in.” He pushed himself from the Hufflepuff table and stood up. Hannah spluttered, looking indignant at the word ‘break in’.
“About time.” Merida followed him, Rapunzel in tow.
“Front door or hidden passage?” The Ravenclaw whispered.
“There’s a hidden passage to the Hospital Wing?” Merida tilted her head to Rapunzel.
“Considering that this is Hogwarts, I think there’s a hidden passage to everything.” Hiccup commented. “And we are breaking in, so hidden passage it is.”
They went to the Clock Tower Courtyard. Rapunzel navigated her friends with the map on her hands. “Alright, so, the map said that there’s a pathway in the clock tower...” Hiccup and Merida waited eagerly for her to open the passage. “...does anyone know how to open it?” The two groaned when Rapunzel smiled sheepishly. “Sorry! When I asked for a map I didn’t think about asking for instruction too!”
“This is stupid, we should bust through the front door!” Merida threw her arms in frustration.
“Oooor, sneak through the front door.” Hiccup amended, “Does anyone has a Cloak of Invisibility?”
“That only exists in Harry Potter comic book...” Merida answered mournfully.
The Hufflepuff sighed, “Well, there goes my plan...”
“I don’t see why we can’t just ask Nurse Maxim...” Rapunzel mumbled. “I mean, I know she threw us out last time, but maybe it would be different now?”
Merida and Hiccup stared at each other. “Worth a shot.” He finally said.
Jack found his Slytherin uniform neatly folded outside the bathroom door just like Nurse Maxim promised. He grabbed it quickly and retreated back inside to change. It was embarrassing to asked for her help. He hoped no students saw her taking his clothes for him. His cookie pouch was still inside his robe and he couldn’t resist but to take a single bite. Wow, this was really good. Jack exited the bathroom and heard Nurse Maxim was talking to someone.
“Oh, come on! Why can’t we see Jack?”
“Red!” Jack put his cookies pouch back inside his pocket. He grinned at the sight of his three friends.
“Because he was taking a bath.” The young nurse sighed. “I didn’t want to tell you because Jack seemed to be embarrassed by it.”
“I’m not!” He denied, but his usually pale skin was showing a hint of blush.
“You are embarrassed by the strangest thing, Jack.” Merida commented. “And yet you seemed to be fine having your hair brightly colored for the rest of the year.”
“Umm, because I look good in anything, duh.” Jack snapped his fingers. His friends snorted, holding back their laughter. Jack smiled, happy that he managed to keep their mind off of his condition. The boy then turned around to the nurse. “Thanks for letting me stay here Nurse Maxim.”
“Anytime Mr. Frost.” She patted him again, and Jack didn’t mind it one bit. He waved her goodbye and walked with his friends.
“Did you have your lunch yet? I think we can raid the kitchen before class started.” Rapunzel chimed in.
Jack gasped in mock surprise. “My, Ms. Corona, I think I have corrupted you too much.”
The blonde stuck her tongue out childishly, “Don’t flatter yourself too much. Merida and Eugene had their fair share!”
“What about me?” Hiccup gestured to himself.
“M’lord, I think it’s obvious that you are the most corrupt of us all.”
“Save the act for the first years Frost, I think they really believe that Hiccup is a Dark Lord.” Merida chuckled.
With a wide innocent-like eyes, Jack asked. “Act, what act?”
Hiccup lightly punched his shoulder, which Jack replied with laughter. Yeah, he would be okay.
Wow, I'm late. Sorry for procrastinating, but not really.
Pitch found her body stashed in one of the broom closet, well preserved and eyes widened in terror. The lack of physical wound suggested that The Killing Curse was used on the poor girl. The fact that the culprit actually used a modified Repello Muggletum charm to make sure that no one noticed made this case even more alarming. He should report this... no, not yet, the culprit might still be here and if he waited for The Ministry to respond it could have been too late. No one in this station knew that he found the missing Trolley Lady yet, he could use that ignorance to his advantage. Solemnly, he left the girl the way she was. “I’m sorry.” He said, “Just wait a little longer and you will get a proper burial.”
“That.” Jack paused for emphasis. “Was the worst DADA class I’ve ever attended.”
The Slytherins and Ravenclaws had just finished their class together. None of the students expected The Headmaster to replace Professor Black awhile until he got back from business. What business it was Jack didn’t know, and he honestly didn’t care. “At least he can leave us with a proper substitute!” He ranted.
Rapunzel looked amused when her friend used the word ‘proper’. “I think you just miss your uncle.” Jack gave her an incredulous look. “Alright, so that’s not possible. But Professor Murdoch isn’t bad.”
“No, he’s just boring. And I thought History was boring, but our dear Headmaster managed to make something so interesting turn into something incredibly lame.” Jack flailed his arms. “How is that even possible?”
“Way to subtly compliment your uncle, Jack.” Rapunzel raised an eyebrow.
“I so did not.”
The blonde girl just laughed. “Oh, Jack! It’s almost time!” She said when the bell chimed. “The Gryffindors’ try-outs is going to start soon! Come on!” The two of them raced each other to the Quidditch Pitch. “Hey! That’s not fair!” Rapunzel complained when Jack used the railings to slide down. I’m wearing a skirt!”
When they arrived on the Grounds, Jack suddenly stopped and his eyes were widened in realization. “Merlin... it’s called the Quidditch Pitch... how could I missed the chance to make horrible puns like that.”
“That was a horrible pun.” The Ravenclaw girl nodded. They entered the pitch (“Hahaha, Quidditch Pitch, I’m brilliant!” “I really think you miss him.” “No I don’t.”) and quickly found a seat beside Hiccup, who was already there.
“Hey, is Red playing yet?”
Hiccup shook his head at Jack’s question. “No, it’s Combe Junior first, then Merida.”
Honestly, Martha was pretty good but not good enough to catch Jack’s interest. He wasn’t such a Quidditch player, he prefer freestyle flying rather than following the silly rules this sport had. He still enjoyed it of course, but he rather watch it than actually playing it. “What is he doing here? He’s not in Gryffindor.” A first year behind them said in hushed tone. Jack rolled his eyes. He had no doubt that the boy was talking about him, even though Hiccup and Rapunzel weren’t in Gryffindor too.
Before Jack could say anything demeaning to the kid, Rapunzel clasped his mouth with one hand, “Sssshhh! It’s Merida’s turn!” Down in the field Merida was having a glare-off with Luke. With the way the wind blew their hair it was a pretty dramatic way to start the test. Soon, Merida rode her broom and flew upward with a bat on her hand. Below her Luke already released the Bludgers, not wasting time. “Oh! Come on! He let Martha had a few seconds for balancing!”
Jack snorted, “Relax! This is Curly we are talking about, she will be fine!”
The Beaters try-out was to divert the Bludgers from the Chasers around the pitch. Of course, the Chasers weren’t really the team members but rather a bunch of enchanted targets made especially for times like this. No one wanted their players to be harmed because of a newbie after all.
Merida was brilliant. Definitely better than Martha. No Bludgers hit the target. There was no way she wouldn’t be accepted. After the time was up, the girl landed confidently, wiping her sore cheek that got scrapped when she hit the last Bludger. “How did I do?”
Luke took a long time to answer. “...not bad.”
“Is he kidding?! She was bloody amazing!” Hiccup hissed under his breath.
“Unfortunately it wouldn’t be enough.” Luke’s lips made a thin line. “You are good at hitting Bludgers, yes, but I don’t know how well you will play as a team member.” He put an emphasis on the word team.
“Oh! That’s a bunch of horsedung!” Jack gripped his staff tightly, scaring the first years behind them.
“What is that suppose’ ta mean?” Merida glared, her accent slipping.
“It means you are in the team, but as a reserve player, got it?” Luke smirked. “Be grateful I’ve given you that.”
Surprisingly, it wasn’t Merida who reacted first. “Oh! And you called yourself a Gryffindor?! How is that not Nepotism?!” Rapunzel almost jumped over the border to shake the fourth year.
“Whoa, calm down there Punzie!” Jack and Hiccup reacted quickly and pulled her down. “If you attack him now Merida will lose her chance to play! Do it when there’s no witnesses!”
“You know, saying that out loud would make it harder to do.” Hiccup reminded his friend, glancing at the first years behind them.
Rapunzel sat back down with a huff. “Fine.”
Merida walked away from the team with a hard expression on her face. The three quickly ran downstairs to meet her. “Ugh, Luke is so full of it.” Merida’s hand twitched dangerously.
“Are you okay?” Hiccup asked.
“I’m fine.” The redhead tried to sound dismissive, but her furrowed eyebrows ruin the effect. “It’s fine, I will get my chance. Anyway, it’s almost Hufflepuff’s turn to use the pitch right? Don’t you have to get ready?”
Hiccup gulped. “Yeah, you are right.”
“Are you sure you wanted to do this?” Jack frowned. “You never played Quidditch before, right?”
“Don’t worry, I already read up on it.” The scrawny boy said, sounding more like he was trying to convince himself than the others.
Sensing the uneasiness, Rapunzel changed the conversation. “What position are you trying for?”
“Keeper.” Was the short, clipped answer. He was nervous and unsure, that much was obvious. But none of his friends said anything else beside encouragement. If Hiccup wanted to do it, then so be it. “I’m pretty decent at flying right? And being a Keeper means I don’t have to fly around the field so I think I can do it.” He chewed the inside of his mouth. “I’m going to borrow a broom now.” He dashed from his group, surprisingly didn’t trip like usual.
As they watched him gone from their vision, Rapunzel asked. “Do you think he’s okay?”
“No, obviously not.” Merida stared at the direction where Hiccup was standing, grimacing. “I wonder what happened during breaks?”
“Shouldn’t we ask him?” The blonde urged.
“He will tell us when he’s ready.” Jack stated firmly.
“Punzie.” Was all the boy said with a stern look on his face. “Don’t.”
Perhaps it was because he knew how it felt like being pitied and coddled even though you didn’t want nor need it. Perhaps it was because Jack also had secrets that he didn’t want other people to know. Either way, Jack would respect Hiccup’s choice, if it meant keeping his own problem hidden. The girls looked at him oddly, like they were now worried about him too. Uncomfortable silence creeped on them and it was really odd since Jack and Merida were in the same vicinity.
“Okay! I got it!” Hiccup ran back to them, waving an old broom.
Merida winced at the sight, “Hiccup! Don’t use that! You can borrow mine instead!”
“No, no! It’s fine! You need to keep yours in top shape!” The Hufflepuff boy refused gently.
“You know what, we need to go broom shopping next time.” Jack commented.
“I don’t have enough money for that.” Hiccup rolled his eyes. “And I won’t take charity.”
“Pretty sure it’s called a gift if it’s between friends.” Rapunzel smiled, “And if you don’t want a gift, let’s just call it a bribe for our future Dark Lord.”
Hiccup’s lips twisted into a scowl but he actually looked happier than before. “Thanks guys, but I don’t think my dad would allow it.”
“What? Why?” The Ravenclaw voiced everyone’s confusion.
“Oh you know, Viking’s Pride and all that.” Hiccup shrugged, “But hey, it’s the thoughts that count.”
“Pretty sure I can make North dress up as Santa Claus so he can give it to you.” Jack smiled conspiratorially.
The shorter boy just shook his head, “Wish me luck.” He headed to the pitch.
The three went back to their previous seats in the bench, watching The Hufflepuffs’ try outs. They weren’t bad, not bad at all. Probably even better than Gryffindor, but Jack wouldn’t say that in front of Merida. Who knew Hufflepuff could be as passionate as Gryffindor when it came to Quidditch? The Keeper’s test was about to start, and before Hiccup, there was a boy named Todd Diddykins, a third year. He was like a taller version of Hiccup, thankfully not scrawnier or he would only be bones by now. Truth to be told, his skill was terrible and he only managed to stop one Quaffle from entering the hoop.
He looked depressed, not even the seniors could cheer him up. It was obvious that Hiccup already bagged the position... if he actually knew how to play. “Go Hiccup! You can do it!” Merida roared loudly and Jack cringed from the volume. Many seemed sceptical when seeing his beat up broomstick. Will they actually get a decent Keeper this year?
Hiccup wobbled a bit when he stationed himself in front of the hoops and Rapunzel hitched a breath, afraid he was going to fall. It didn’t happen fortunately, instead he straightened his posture. “I’m ready!” He missed the first Quaffle, and he actually grazed the second one but it still went inside anyway. As the spectators began to felt that the Hufflepuff Team wouldn’t be able to compete because of the lack of a Keeper, Hiccup managed to block three Quaffles in a row, which left him with five more Quaffles and two to block so he could be part of the team. He managed to block another three. The first ones to realized it was Jack, Merida, and Rapunzel, whom immediately cheered and conjured some confettis around the air. The second ones who noticed were the team members, who was glad that they could actually compete. The last one was Hiccup, who was confused as to why his friends decided to bellow like a bunch of idiots before he did the Quaffles count and gave a whooping shout mid-flight.
“I did it!”
Landing on the ground, Hiccup’s legs were shaking, his eyes were looking at his friends with a mixture of disbelief, pride, and relief. “I did it...” The Study Group rushed their way to him, all the while chanting ‘he did it! he did it!’ and laughed cheerfully when tackling the new Keeper to the ground, making a tangled mess of limbs.
“That was amazing Hiccup! You did it!” Rapunzel was the first to get up. “We should celebrate!”
“I vote for Butterbeer!” Jack chimed.
“You never not vote for Butterbeer!” Hiccup’s laughter was infectious and soon they joined in. It was perhaps the first real laughter they heard from him in awhile and it sounded so, so great.
“Come on Keeper! Let’s see how much food we can smuggle out of the kitchen!” Merida helped the two boys up, grinning from ear to ear and completely forgetting the bitterness Luke’s decision left for her. “Can we kidnap your Keeper for a while?” She asked The Hufflepuff Captain. The dark skinned sixth year smiled and Merida took that as a yes. “Come on Hic! We will build you some muscles for your first match!”
Hiccup opted out his usual sarcastic tone, too happy to be deadpan. “I don’t think sugar can build much muscles!” He exclaimed in amusement and let himself being dragged and pushed by his friends.
The House-Elves cheered and congratulated Young Master Haddock the Future Grandmaster of Toothpicks (Jack managed to convinced them to call The Study Group with ridiculous titles) on his newest achievement. Without being asked, they already brought out Butterbeers especially for them. Sure, the food wasn’t as extravagant as the ones they served at dinner, but he managed to make Merida snorted a lot of Butterbeer foams, and Rapunzel’s stifled chortles was the most beautiful noise he ever heard. And Hiccup. Skinny, thin Hiccup who thought he was a loser but in actuality amazing at many things.
They were his first friends. His best friends.
They ended up skipping dinner, already full with all the sweets the elves were feeding them. Whoever said that eating sugar before sleeping was bad was full of bull, because that night he didn’t get any nightmare, and the sweet taste still lingered in his mouth when he woke up.
“North! I told you to stop giving them Butterbeers!” Toothiana’s feather puffed in irritation. She rounded the drunken elves like a shepherd, hoping that she could minimize the damage this time. “Noooorth! At least help me! Don’t pretend you are working, I know you are not!” She yelled toward the closed office door. Receiving no reply, she sighed and turned to help the elves.
The young witch was startled when she heard the sound of the opening door colliding with the wall. “Tooth!” North bellowed, “I have to go, take care of the workshop.”
“What? Where? How long?” Toothiana was used with North leaving suddenly without prior warning. However, it was usually accompanied with jolly laughter and mischievous twinkles in his eyes. This time, his expression was hard and serious.
Quidditch match and character exploration.
“What are you doing here Frost?” Pucey questioned suspiciously upon seeing the white haired Slytherin actually show up to a Slytherin game.
“Cheering for you.”
“Funny, I thought with DunBroch in the other team you would have root for her.” Pucey narrowed his eyes.
“Well yeah, if she actually got to play. Which reminds me, I’ll pay you ten galleons if you manage to hit Martha with a bludger.”
It was hilarious, seeing his roommate spluttered. “Wha--Frost! Are you insane?! Wait, no, don’t answer that I already know the answer...” He muttered the last part.
“Fifteen.” Jack asked, raising his offer.
“Why not?” He leaned on his staff, hands folded and an eyebrow raised.
Pucey hesitated, “Because I’m a chaser.”
“Soooo... if you were a Beater, would you do it?” The other boy gaped, Jack took that as a no.
Even with all his flair, Jack was nothing if not observant. He liked gaining reaction from his incessant questions. Vexed people were easier to read. Like Pucey (one of these days he would get his first name), everyone knew he had a crush on their Punzie, even though she was friend with a certain annoying redhead and an even more annoying silverhead (was that even a word? Meh, whatever).
And because of that Jack began to observe him. Because friends don't let friends date jerks (Well yeah, they were too young to date but Jack already knew about dating and North said children nowadays grew up fast anyway so he couldn’t take any chances). But you know... Pucey wasn’t a jerk. He was afraid of hurting people, and all his snark and dislike and everything else was because of Hogwarts and this Wizarding Pureblood thing and Jack started to doubt that Pucey even understood why he disliked something.
Jack doubted that anyone here understood anything.
Except Merida, who learned it the hard way. Except Rapunzel, whose eyes were already bright from the moment they met. Except for Hiccup, even with all his doubts would try his best and stood his ground. And perhaps the boy in front of him would too, someday, maybe when North’s booming voice was heard loud and clear.
“Why are you staring at me?” The black haired boy stepped back.
“Hm? Oh, I just thought that you look absolutely dashing in your Quidditch uniform.” Jack batted his eyelashes.
Pucey wrinkled his nose, “You are gross.”
“So I’ve been told.” The prankster grinned.
Even when she was standing between her teammates, it didn’t feel like she was included in the circle. Merida kept her face straight, refraining from frowning or showing any emotions that would make Luke think that he caused it, that he managed to one-up Merida. Well, he did. Only the redhead would never gave him the satisfaction to gloat. “-Broch!”
“What?!” Oops, that sounded louder than intended.
Luke tsk-ed, “I said, I hope you didn’t sell us out to the snakes.”
Merida made a face, the one that said ‘Are you running for Order of Moron or something?’. “You really think I would make us lose just because of a petty revenge?” She held back her tongue before saying, ‘which you know, isn’t really something above you’.
Dammit, why was he the captain?
“Well, glad to hear that.” He said, although he sounded more smug than glad. “Come on Team, let’s beat those slimy gits!” The Gryffindors roared but Merida didn’t find the will to do it with them. Not when they didn’t think of her as one of them. The redhead sat on the reserve players bench as Martha walked pass her. She flicked a glance at Merida. There was something funny in her expression, not pride, not mockery, but more like a hardened will to prove herself. It was hard not to notice, considering most Gryffindors wore that expression plenty of times. Considering that Merida too, was wearing it right now.
Martha jogged to the field, leaving Merida without a taunt.
“Where did you go?” Rapunzel craned her neck to see Jack.
“I was trying to bribe Pucey, it didn’t work.” Jack flopped down to his seat beside Hiccup. His Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw friends glanced at each others.
“Bribing him for what... exactly?” Hiccup felt like he was going to regret hearing the answer.
Jack shrugged awkwardly, “Uh, you know... something Beater related.”
Rapunzel was confused. “But he’s a Chaser.”
“Yeah, which is why it didn’t work. How did you know he’s a Chaser anyway?”
Hiccup poked Jack’s chest pointedly, “Ah, ah, ah, you still haven’t answered my question.”
“Fiiiine...” The silverhead let out an overly dramatic sigh. “I might asked him to hit Combe Junior with a Bludger.”
Hiccup’s eyes widened. He opened his mouth as if to say something but thought better of it. “For the sake of my sanity, I won’t comment on it.”
“You already forfeit your sanity the moment you became my friend.” Jack said in all seriousness. Hiccup just hummed with Rapunzel shaking her head.
Soon the players filled the pitch and they took off. People cheered, mostly for Gryffindor, as The Snitch was released.
Martha hit a Bludger that was coming her way. It was about 15 minutes in the game and her hands are beginning to feel sore. Not only that but her head was starting to get dizzy. Flying from places to places trying to protect people from murderous ball tended to do that to people. And also murderous Slytherin, you couldn’t forget that. Martha felt really small compared to the others and as much as she hated to admit it, she felt scared. Briefly she wondered what DunBroche would do if she was the one who got the spot. The younger Combe wasn’t stupid, and she wasn’t vain enough to mistake the position she got was because of her skill. It was all her brother.
If Luke didn’t have a bad blood with the redhead, surely DunBroche would be the one who got the spot. At first she didn’t say anything about it. She was sure that she could prove herself in the game. She would prove that she deserved the spot better than DunBroche, and the uneasy feeling in her gut would disappear.
Martha gritted her teeth as she pushed back another Bludger with her bat. Unfortunately, she didn’t push far enough as the ball came straight to her with vengeance.
“Oh my god is that blood?”
“Sit down Jack!”
Martha’s eyes fluttered open. She felt like a Bludger just hit her face---oh, wait. “Martha! Are you alright?” Her brother was hovering over her with a worried expression. Martha tried to open her mouth to speak and tasted the dried blood that smeared the lower half of her face instead. She winced when she closed it. Even though the bleeding had stopped but she still felt the sting on her nose. A very painful and sharp sting. It was hard to concentrate with that kind of pain.
“I can help!”
“Can it DunBroche?! My sister is hurt!”
“An’ ah’m offering ta help ‘er!” The redhead’s accent slipped, but no one made fun of it, this time. “Move!”
“What are you--HEY!”
Merida pointed her wand to Martha’s nose. The younger Combe closed her eyes, expecting the worst. Only, ‘the worst’ was actually her nose getting fixed. “Ah--I still don’t know how to clean the blood, but you should be able to keep going.”
“I will be the judge of that.” Martha moved her neck slowly and saw the resident nurse approaching her. A green glow covered her as Nurse Maxim did a diagnostic spell. The young woman hummed and shook her head. “I’m afraid I can’t let you continue. You need to rest your head.”
Luke yelled. Martha wasn’t sure what he was yelling about with all the buzzing her head was swarming in. He didn’t sound pleased. He sounded frustrated. She moved her lips, finally able to form a sentence. “...shut up.”
“What?” Her older brother said as intelligently as possible.
“Shut up and give DunBroche a chance, she’s a bloody better Beater than I am anyway...” The grudging acceptance was there, it was always there no matter how hard she tried to deny it.
“That’s not true...” Luke whispered helplessly.
Martha ignored him and chose to look at the redhead instead. Merida looked confused but there was a spark of determination in her eyes. “I won’t fail you.” She said, ignoring the fact that her team would blame it all on The Rat if they lose (Or perhaps it was because they would blame it on her that she made that promise).
Luke gritted his teeth. He had no other choice. It was either this or surrender the match. And surrendering to Slytherin was never an option. So he swallowed his pride and handed Merida the bat. “Let’s go DunBroche.” She only nodded.
“Look! It’s Merida!” Rapunzel jumped excitedly on her seat.
If Merida’s play in the tryout was brilliant, then her skill in this match was downright terrifying. She wasn’t quite at a professional level yet, but as Jack’s said, “Merlin’s saggy left ball! I think she’s trying to kill someone!”
Hiccup paled as Merida shot a Bludger toward a frantic Slytherin Beater. Silently he asked himself what was he thinking when he decided to play Quidditch?
Luke observed from his place near the loops. Martha was right, DunBroche was a better player than her. His fear of the redhead couldn’t play with the team was unfounded. She reacted naturally and protected her teammates as if it was a second nature to her.
Fine then, she could be trusted with Quidditch. Luke’s stubborn mind added. But he would not trust her anywhere else as long as she befriended Frost.
“Did we win?”
“Yeah.” Merida nodded. “I also hit that Beater. Not for you of course, I just felt like it.”
Martha snorted, “Whatever.”
The Gryffindor won their match.
Merida won her housemates’ respect. Somewhat.
They tried to keep it quiet, but the presence of many Aurors in one place tended to make a scene. North sighed as he thought about how much their quality declined after Pitch stepped down from his position. The conductor and other employees were gawking in the sidelines, looking rather worried as they rightfully should be.
North kneeled beside the dead body as he investigated it (her, her name was Millie and he knew because he met her on Jack’s first year when he accompanied his son to the station. She was a nice lassie). Behind him Pitch had to deal with the current Head Auror, Gilderoy Fudge. North had heard about him, such a shame he was named after a great candy. “I mean, how are you so sure that it was her? I don’t doubt your ability of course, but every single one of us made a mistake once or twice...” North tuned out his rambling, as he was sure Pitch was doing the same. The Hermit Wizard narrowed his eyes slightly as his wand detected her traces.
North stood up abruptly, surprising Fudge who immediately smiled at his back. “How is it Mr. Frost? It was a false alarm, yes?”
“I would advise you to keep this quiet Mr. Fudge.” The large man said in an uncharacteristically serious voice. “We need to find her first, and quickly.”
The nervous gulp coming out from Fudge’s throat could be heard clearly. “You don’t mean that... do you?”
Right then North turned his heel and faced the Head Auror’s face with a hard expression, “I do not joke about her.”
Fudge nodded frantically and loosened his collar in a poor attempt of looking not distressed. “S--so, what should we do, Sirs?” He glanced at Pitch like a child looking for guidance.
“What we do best.” Pitch gave a look at him and the other Aurors. They were not incompetent (mostly), but a subtle encouragement would help. “Catching dark wizards.”
Ironically, the sky was clear in Hogwarts, whose residents were still unaware of the crisis that was happening. And a certain grumpy blond Gryffindor was still recuperating in the Hospital Wing. Martha was bored. Gryffindors weren’t exactly known for their patience and her wound was testing hers. Luke sometimes came to visit her and weirdly Merida always did it too whenever Luke couldn’t. The younger Combe always thought that it would only be a temporary truce but apparently it prolonged as long as she was still injured. Thankfully the redhead didn’t give her the pitying look everyone else gave. No, she just sneaked some snacks before leaving. It was still awkward.
“Luke?” Martha sat a little straighter when the door opened.
“Nope, sorry, it’s just the humble moi.”
She didn’t even try to hide her groan. “Frost...”
“Wow, rude, I’m not even here to prank you.” And Martha knew that, because the Slytherin had been coming to visit as much as Merida did (huh, since when she was Merida and not DunBroch? Weird). Except he didn’t come to visit her (the mental image made Martha shuddered) thank Merlin. He was here to visit someone else, “Nurse Maxim!” He beamed when the young medic appeared from her office.
“My, Mr. Frost, I didn’t expect you today.” Martha rolled her eyes because obviously Nurse Maxim expected him. She completely ignored her patient in favor of preparing tea for Jack Frost of all people.
Frost made a little ‘hehe’ laugh and it took all of the blond’s willpower not to gag at the sight. Instead, Martha grabbed her pillow and buried her face in it. The boy always acted like a little puppy around the nurse and Martha was the unfortunate victim that had to witness their exchanges. Eugh.
“Hold on for a moment Mr. Frost, I would like to have one last check on Ms. Combe.” Nurse Maxim whipped out her wand. Martha stayed still so it would be done quickly and maybe, maybe this time Fate would be kind to her and the nurse would let her go so she wouldn’t suffer Frost’ cutesy act. “Well, Ms. Combe! Good news! You are free to go!”
And it didn’t take a long time for Martha to jump from her bed and run outside. Bless you Fate!
The two occupants left in the Hospital Wing blinked at her excitement. “I guess she’s really bored in here.” Jack shrugged. In truth, he was glad he could have a little more privacy in here. He knew that Combe Junior won’t be able to listen because they always talked inside the office, but he still didn’t like the idea of Martha Freaking Combe eavesdropping on his conversation.
Nurse Maxim giggled and it sounded so beautiful (“No Punzie, I don’t have a crush on Nurse Maxim” “Umhum, I’m sure”). “Oh, I don’t know, with Ms. DunBroch smuggling snacks every other day I don’t think she was that bored.”
“Merida did what?” Jack was shocked.
Nurse Maxim looked at him, “You didn’t know?”
“...no.” It was impossible! But it would certainly explain where she was running off to with those tarts! Except... it didn’t make any sense and it was Combe Junior! Why would Merida gave Combe Junior of all people their tarts?
A hand patted his shoulder and snapped Jack out of his internal confusion. “Come on now Jack, just because she didn’t tell you doesn’t mean she will leave you.”
Jack snorted, “Of course she won’t. It’s Combe, she won’t leave me for her.”
Nurse Maxim smiled indulgently and led him inside her office, “Come on, let’s talk over some teas. I just got this special mix!” Jack followed her willingly, trying to ignore the nagging worry that seemed to come out of nowhere. His friend wouldn’t leave him for her House, would she?
“Ooooh, look who just got back from his date!” Merida teased when Jack arrived at their secret headquarter.
The boy scoffed, “I know you are jealous Red, but please keep it to yourself.” Merida gagged jokingly. He stuck his tongue at her and flopped down beside Hiccup. “So, which mind-numbing homework are we going to do now?”
“DADA, we need to make an essay about which protective spell works best for what hex.” The Hufflepuff mumbled while looking through his books. “This is fascinating, we don’t even know half of these books but The Room still managed to transfigure them...”
“Nerd.” Jack smiled at his friend, who gave an unamused look. “By the way, where’s Rapunzel? Didn’t she said she have something important to tell us?”
Merida and Hiccup looked at each other with unease. “We don’t know, we are still waiting for her...” Hiccup muttered.
“She seems a little worried too.” The redhead added her two cents. “I think she was going to Professor Black first?”
Jack frowned. What did Uncle Pitch got to do about this important thing?
The three waited for their friend to arrive, scribbling on their note and perfecting their essays. Although his hand was writing, Jack’s mind drifted somewhere else. Particularly the conversation he had with Nurse Maxim.
“I think Ms. Combe and Ms. DunBroch are beginning to warm up to each others, isn’t that great?”
Well, yeah. He scowled. Except Combe Junior is a little jerkface.
“Maybe she can finally be accepted by her House! I was worried about her you know? And you too of course. Because you keep talking about how awful The Gryffindors were to her, and I don’t like seeing you stressed. Now you can rest too!”
Yeah, yeah, he should be happy that Merida was getting along well with her housemates and all that jazz. But he couldn’t help but feel jealous. “Why do you bring our tarts to Martha?” He blurted out.
Merida was taken aback by the sudden question, “Huh?”
“You do remember she’s Combe Junior right?”
“Hard not to, considering that her last name is Combe.” She snarked. “And it’s not our tarts, the house-elves made it for everybody.”
“What got you so worked up?” Hiccup asked. “You act as if you only realized it no--Oh, you only realized it now.”
Jack scowled, “You know and you didn’t tell me?”
“I thought you knew.” Hiccup shrugged, “It’s not a big deal anyway.”
But it was for Jack. Martha covered Merida’s bed with rats and she made the redhead run into a forest and all of that wasn’t okay. It still wasn’t. Wisely, Jack shut his mouth, feeling confused at the negative feelings he was having.
“Hey guys! Sorry I’m late!” Rapunzel arrived with an apology. Her friends greeted her, noticing the tired look on her face.She held her hands in front of them, “Before you ask what’s wrong, let me catch my breath.” She sat down immediately and took deep breaths. “I was searching for Professor Black but he’s still not done with his errand yet.”
“Okay? Can we ask you what’s wrong now?” Merida asked.
The blond Ravenclaw nodded, appreciating that her friends didn’t bombard her with questions. “Remember when I went around asking the professors about stuff in my first year?” Merida mumbled a confused ‘yeah’. “I think it’s time to tell you guys what it was about.”
And she did. She told them about the promise she made to Eugene, and how the professors brushed off her questions except for Pitch, who advised her to keep it secret until she was ready. But she didn’t think she was ready to fulfill it, not now at least. However, there was no way she would keep it secret from them, her best friends. “I have been researching about the origin of magic in secret, even though Professor Black said I should concentrate on my study first. But I do! I still get good grades right?”
“Punzie, it’s obvious that you are the smartest here.”
“Thanks Jack! Anyway, there’s a lot of theories about it but never a concrete one! I know I can’t find it immediately but I want to find it faster than this rate! So... so if you guys don’t mind...” Rapunzel faltered.
Merida smiled, patting Rapunzel’s shoulder kindly, “We will help you with your research. Eugene is a great guy.”
“Yeah, I can ask North’s help too, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind!”
“And I will keep these two in line.” Hiccup looked pointedly at Jack and Merida, but there was a twitch of smile on his lips that everyone knew he was (half) joking.
“Thank you.” The Ravenclaw trembled and began to cry, “Thank you! Oh Merlin I’m so sorry for crying, it was just I had been researching by myself and it was frustrating!” Jack couldn’t help but laugh at her emotional display, not because it was funny but because he was relieved that he could help her. It didn’t stop Merida to slap his back, that git.
That night, after a fulfilling dinner in (surprise!) Gryffindor table (No, it really was a surprise for Jack. It seemed Combe Junior had pacified her big brother. Or they were afraid of losing points. Whichever it was, it was a bloody weird experience.) Jack strode to his bed, feeling extra sleepy for some reason. Pucey was already snoring and Galley (Hah! He now remembered his other roommate’s name!) was preparing for bed. The tan boy seemed offended that Jack had dinner with the Gryffindors instead of Slytherins, while Pucey was just a ‘tad’ disappointed that Rapunzel didn’t eat beside him. Hey, it wasn’t like he wanted to eat while being stared by the first years. Although, the first years seemed to be delighted with Merida’s presence, which was good.
Jack lied down heavily on his bed, his mind slipped away as he drifted to sleep. He dreamed.
And it was the same nightmare, the same faces and the same voices. The same sweet Emma, who was crying and then looking at him with fear. “You monster! What did you do to your friend?!”
Jack was confused. Friend? Dodgson wasn’t his friend. “..Jack”
But it wasn’t Dodgson voice, it was a different red hair. It was a different face that looked at him in panic. “Jack! What did you do to me?!”
Oh god, oh god, what did you do? What have you done? This wasn’t how it happened! He would never hurt his friend!
“So you will hurt them... if they were not your friend?” North’s voice was solemn behind him. Jack spun around seeing North looking at him with disappointment and... fear? “So it was on purpose then? The boy that his hands were frozen?”
Jack could deal with hate, with distrust from his peers. But he could never, ever, stand to the disappointment his father showed him right now.
“Do not call me your father, ever again.”
Jack woke up with a frozen bed and his roommates staring at him. Jack had just dreamed. And it wasn’t a good dream.
Something happened to Jack. Whenever they tried to approach him he would flee as if his life depended on it. No snark nor witty excuses, he simply ran. He never ate with them, neither in The Great Hall nor the kitchen anymore. They weren’t even sure if he still eat regularly. He avoided everyone, but most specifically Hiccup, Rapunzel, and Merida.
“Jaeck! Wait!” The redhead chased after her friend, who seemed adamant to not interact with her at all. It was a pretty crowded hallway, and somehow Jack still managed to not touch anyone (it was pretty unnerving, as if he worked his life practicing it), meanwhile Merida was struggling with the current of students walking by. Irritated, not to mention frustrated, The Gryffindor girl decided not to care about the disapproving prefects she just shoved out of the way and began a more aggressive approach to catch him.
“Jaeck! Ah swear te Merlin if ye don’ stop now ah will start shooting spells!” She said in warning. It might be just her imagination but he seemed to tense up for a moment. He didn’t stop though. “Jaeck!” Merida grumbled, he called her bluff. The redhead continued chasing until she managed to corner him.
They were at the end of the hall, and Jack looked like a terrified animal being trapped by its predator. The obvious bags beneath his eyes made everything felt worse for Merida. She didn’t like the way Jack seemed to think of her as an enemy.
“Jaeck please, if somethin’ is wron’ ye can tell us...” Merida stepped closer, her hand outstretched to pat his shoulder. The Slytherin gripped his staff even tighter. His eyes never left Merida, still sharp even with the lack of sleeps.
“Back away Merida.” He whispered so low it was almost like a hiss. “It’s not safe.”
Safe? Not safe for whom? Merida wanted to ask, because she wasn’t sure if he was talking about her or himself. “Jaeck, whaetever it is, we can help ye! Hiccup is worried, Rapunzel is worried, everyon’ is!” Slowly, Merida regained control of her accent. As she reached for his shoulder, Jack’s eyes widened. He knocked her hand off with his staff, sending her tumbling backward. Merida hissed as the ice that started to form around them scratched the surface of her skin.
“I told you, it’s not safe!” Jack roared angrily. Merida flinched at his tone. His expression softened, but not in a good way. Instead of angry he looked like he just realized what he did, like he was disappointed. “Sorry...” he murmured, “Sorry.” Jack ran away without looking back at his friend (was he still think of her as his friend though? Merida couldn’t help but wonder). And The Gryffindor girl didn’t chase him, too stunned to even move. Jack never lost control like that. Something was wrong.
“Mr. Frost?” Nurse Maxim looked surprised at his arrival. Her face turned from delighted to worried when he didn’t answer her, “Jack?” The boy staggered toward her, never once his eyes left the floor. “Jack, are you alright?”
Jack raised his face a bit so he could see her face. He opened his mouth before shutting it close again. Nurse Maxim waited patiently for him. “Can I sleep here tonight?” He asked unsurely.
“Of course dear.” She pulled him into a hug and kissed his forehead. “Remember, I will always be there for you.” Jack nodded sleepily, his tiredness was finally catching up on him.
As he drifted off to sleep, one thing came across his mind. She’s so warm.
“Something is wrong with Jack.” Merida muttered as Rapunzel nursed her wounded palm. The three members of the Study Group were holed inside their Headquarter, discussing about Jack. “Like, really wrong.”
Hiccup chewed the end of his quill. “When did this start? He can’t just suddenly become like this...” He put down his poor abused writing tool. “I mean, freezing his room while he’s asleep? I don’t think he ever done that.”
They fell into an uncomfortable silence.
“But how can we help him?” The Ravenclaw whispered. “We don’t even know why--” She stopped mid-sentence.
“Punzie?” Merida asked worriedly.
“Of course!” The blond suddenly stood up.
Her friends glanced at each others, “Of course what?” Hiccup questioned.
“We might not know why, but we know who knows!” Rapunzel smiled at them.
“We do?” “Of course! Professor Black!” Merida and Hiccup said at almost the same time.
They have searched the forest around the station, navigating through every inch of it only to find nothing. “Well, thank goodness that was a false alarm.” Fudge smiled charmingly at the two senior wizards.
“No...” Pitch said in all seriousness. “There’s still one place we haven’t searched for.”
The Head Auror shook his head. Damned old timers and their paranoia. “And where is it?”
“Hogwarts.” North gritted his teeth as he walked briskly to his sleigh.
“Why would a Dark Wizard hide in a school? What’s there to gain?” Fudge almost laugh at the prospect.
The Hermit Wizard answered with a short reply, “My son.”
“Nurse Maxim?” Jack’s eyes fluttered open.
“Ssshhh jack, we are almost there.”
“Oh, okay...” He didn’t understand what she was saying, but it was Nurse Maxim, everything would be alright.
“What? What do you mean Professor Black isn’t here yet?” Merida snarled, feeling impatience.
“20 points from Gryffindor for blatant disrespect.” The Headmaster narrowed his eyes distastefully. “If you have any questions, you can ask me. I am as capable as he is.”
The redhead snorted, “Not likely.”
“Merida!” Rapunzel chided. “Look, I’m sorry Professor, but this isn’t something you can answer.”
“And why is that?” Professor Murdoch sounded offended.
“Because it’s about Jack!” Hiccup burst, “He had been acting weird and he’s avoiding us and he lost control--”
“He what?” The cowardly Headmaster paled. “Again? It’s only have been 5 days and he froze something again?”
“It’s not his fault!” Merida defended, “Something is wrong!”
Professor Murdoch agreed, “Well, obviously, since he froze another room!”
“It’s not his fault!” The three students chorused in irritation.
“Look, we just need to contact Professor Black so we can help him!” Rapunzel pleaded, all politeness she shown to the Headmaster was changed into desperation, “Please!”
“I--.” Professor Murdoch shook his head, “He’s on an important errand. If Mr. Frost made another mess I would be the one dealing with it.” Hiccup groaned at his answer. “Now go back to your dorms, it’s almost past your bedtime.” He said pointedly.
The three were forcibly ejected from the office. Merida yelled to vent her frustration. “I can’t believe he just dismissed us like that!” She stomped, “Who does he think he is?!”
“The Headmaster, obviously.” Merida glared at Hiccup. “Alright, that was badly timed, sorry...”
“What do we do now?” The redhead turned to Rapunzel.
“I don’t know...” Rapunzel sagged her shoulders. “We can send him an owl, but I don’t know if he will reply quick enough...” Feeling dejected, the three began walking down the hallway to reach their respective dorms. “This sucks.” The Ravenclaw pouted.
“I know.” Hiccup agreed. As they sulk, they didn’t notice the blur of red and black that was coming toward them.
“You!” As large hands gripped his shoulders, Hiccup yelled in surprise.
“Mr. Frost?” The Hufflepuff said dazedly.
“Do you know where Jack is?” The old wizard sounded angry, yet there was something else hidden beneath that fury.
“North! Put that student down!” Pitch warned, quickly approached the four of them.
“Professor Black!” Rapunzel brightened, “We have been looking for you!”
The DADA Professor nodded at her. “Ms. Corona, forgive his outburst. But we do need to know where Jack is.”
A sense of foreboding striked their hearts. “Why?” Hiccup, who was already released by North, asked.
“Just answer the question!” North snapped.
“We--we don’t know, sir...” Rapunzel fidgeted.
“How can you not know? You are his friends, yes?!” Hiccup took a step back as the large man yelled at them. This was a really different North than the one he met at the station.
“Hey! We are here because we want to help him!” Merida snapped back.
“What do you mean?” Pitch asked in an even tone, all professional like the one he used when he was an Auror.
“He’s been acting weird! I don’t know why but he’s been avoiding us!” Merida let out her distress, “We never see him eat these couple of days, and he might not be sleeping at all! And... and he lost control of his magic! He never lost control like that!”
North looked absolutely furious, “Do you know where he might be?” His voice wavered with anger.
“We told you we don’t know!” Hiccup threw his arms to the air, tired of people not listening to them.
“Think!” North barked, “This important! Jack might be in danger!”
“North!” Pitch admonished. “Calm down. We need you to be calm and think, where Jack might be.” He half said that to North and half said it to his students. Both seemed to be on the verge of having a panic attack.
Rapunzel took a deep breath and scrunched her eyes shut. “Somewhere... I think I know!”
“Where?” The ex Head Auror’s stance changed, as if ready to bolt anytime. Damn Hogwarts and it’s anti-apparation enchantment!
“The Hospital Wing! He usually spends time with Nurse Maxim!”
At the mention of the name, both adults’ looked horrified and enraged. “сука!” North swore in Russian. “Where is the place?!”
“Right this way!” Pitch led him as they dashed to the Hospital Wing. The worried children followed, trying to catch up with the adults.
“What’s wrong? Is Nurse Maxim bad?” Hiccup asked between breaths.
“Stay right where you are!” Pitch barked an order.
“No! We want to help!” Merida said stubbornly. Pitch wanted to stop them but realized that he had no time to deal with them. Every minute was important when The Dark Empress was involved.
North break down the door to Hospital Wing, only to find it empty of anyone. “Jack!” North shouted, “Jack!” Hopelessness began to creep on him as the moon was shining down the room, as if chiding him for being too late. The confused children stood on the doorway, not wanting to come any closer.
“North.” Pitch patted his back to gain his attention. “There is a note for you.”
The Hermit didn’t need to read it to know what was written.
You betrayed me Snow Child. You promised me your everything. But you took my family from me. Now it’s time for me to take yours.
The atmosphere in the room was heavy. Jack was gone, and Pitch was trying to calm his friend down before he would do anything rash. “North! We have to think this through!”
“Nothing to think about! She took my son!”
“You don’t even know where she took him!”
The children stared at the two with apprehension. They never seen Professor Black looking so desperate, and never expected to see a jolly old man like Jack’s father to look so angry.
“I know where.” North snarled. “And you will not stop me.” He pushed the shorter man and walked away. Pitch stumbled backward before regaining his balance. He did nothing to stop North, knowing that yes, nothing would stop the man now.
“Fine, at least let me come with you.” Pitch conceded. North said nothing, but that was good enough for one of the last Blacks.
“Wait! Mr. Frost! Let us help too!” Merida was trying to catch up with the two adults.
“You will only hinder us.” The ex Head Auror answered with such sharpness.
“You don’t know that!” Rapunzel insisted. She had to jog beside her professor, considering that his longer legs meant longer steps. “We can help!”
Pitch suddenly stopped, making Hiccup bumped into his back. He then turned his heels and glared at the three. “Unless you are prepared to lose your lives, I don’t think you will be of any help at all.”
The seriousness of his words sent chill to their spines. “What do you mean? Who kidnapped Jack?” The only boy in the group asked, fearing for his best friend’s safety.
Pitch mulled over his choices, and decided that the truth was the best course of action. “Maximillia Lunar.” The color was drained from the girls’ faces and Pitch was sure that they would not follow now. “Now go.”
Merida and Rapunzel nodded slowly. Pitch then walked away, catching up with North who would surely leave him behind if he lagged.
”What was that?” Hiccup asked, confused by his friends’ reaction. “Who’s Maximillia Lunar?” By the way Merida’s lips seemed to dry at the mention of the name, Hiccup began to regret even asking that question.
“The most dangerous Dark Wizard in Modern History, or even all History combined.” She answered. “Her short but terrifying reign of power still left wounds in The Wizarding Society that might not heal at all.” Hiccup gulped. Surely Merida was just exaggerating?
“It couldn’t be that bad right?”
Rapunzel glared at him. She looked offended for some reason. “It is that bad. Just because we weren’t there to witness it--and thank Merlin we didn’t- doesn’t mean we don’t know what happened.”
“What did she do?”
At his question, the girls looked at each other. “Come on, it’s time for some History of Magic.”
They were inside their Headquarters. It was obviously past their bedtime but Merida and Rapunzel deemed it necessary for Hiccup to know now. “Maximillia Lunar, the adopted daughter of The Great Manford Lunar.” Rapunzel took a book out of a high shelf before sliding down with the ladder.
“Manford Lunar... wasn’t he The All Seeing Seer?” Hiccup recognized the name. It was mentioned several times in many books.
Rapunzel nodded. “He was considered the greatest wizard who ever lived. Not only because of his seer quality but also because he used his ability to prevent wars and stopped treachery.” The Ravenclaw sat down in front of Hiccup, opening the little silver book she just took. “Everyone thought that his daughter would follow his footsteps.”
“She didn’t.” Merida answered.
Pitch was holding on to the sleigh’s railing for dear life. North had no intention whatsoever to slow down, and Pitch respected that. The Hermit Wizard’s blue eyes were clouded with anger and sadness. But the strongest emotion he felt was disappointment. Not towards Jack, not towards Max, but towards himself.
“My name is Maximillia...”
Her hair was short when they first met. She was so shy and kept tugging on Manny’s robe whenever North came near.
“Nice to meet you!” The boisterous Russian boy exclaimed. “Hope we be friends!”
The girl blinked at his messy grammar and laughed. “Yes, friends!”
Rapunzel put down the silver book, the writing inside it began to move and morphed into a face. It was a beautiful woman with long sandy blond hair and hazel eyes. Her smile wasn’t a deranged one Hiccup would expect from a Dark Wizard. Instead, she reminded him of a nice lady who volunteered to babysit him when he was little. “This is the last picture ever of her. After the end of her terror, the Ministry burned all of her photos... and I only know how she looked like through the book my kidnapper let me read.” She muttered.
Sometimes Hiccup forgot that everything inside this room was either made out of necessity or memory.
Merida put a comforting hand on Rapunzel’s shoulder and squeezed it. “She’s like The Boogeyman of Wizarding World.” The redhead looked solemn. “What she did was not only unforgivable, but also terrifying.”
”Father said it was my destiny to help people.” They were stargazing on the field when Maximillia suddenly spoke up. North sat up from his position and stared at the girl. “That’s why he adopted me, so he could tell me my destiny.” She buried her face on her knees. “I want to make him proud... but I don’t know if I can...”
North had never seen the girl looked so fragile before. Against his better judgement, he stroked her hair. “You can do it... I know you can.” He said firmly. “And if you still doubt yourself, remember that I never doubted you.”
Maximillia glanced at him, her eyes were glassy with tears. “Would you...” She blushed. “Would you help me with my destiny?”
“North! Watch out!” Pitch’s warning snapped North out of his reverie. With a quick flick of the reins they managed to avoid an unpleasant crash with a wyvern.
The ex Head Auror readied his wand. “A wyvern... of course.” He drawled.
”She helped people. She fought against prejudice. Everyone thought she was going to be the next Minister of Magic.” Merida recounted the event. “But then she got a dragon as a familiar and everything went downhill from there.”
”Oh that is amazing.” North was awed by the size of her familiar. A rare species of dragon, under Maximillia’s command. Needless to say he was starstruck.
Maximillia giggled. “I found her in a volcano! I thought she was going to eat me whole at first, but then... we just... sort of bonded?”
“Maxim! Do you know what this means?” North asked excitedly, “You are first person after Merlin who ever ride dragon!”
The wyvern in front of them was obviously not a real one, since they were extinct a long time ago. A golem at best. A horrible magical experiment at worst.
”All that power got into her head and she was...” Rapunzel struggled to find the right word. “She spiraled into insanity.”
“One day she gathered a bunch of Pureblood families for a special event.” Merida said, “Including one of my ancestors.”
Hiccup couldn’t deal with the suspense and asked. “What did she do?”
“She took their magic from them.”
He cornered her. Her dragon was dead at the terrible price of many lives. North killed his emotions for this moment, but he couldn’t help but to ask, “Why?”
“Snow Child, don’t you understand? This is my destiny... Our destiny!” Her eyes were wild with stolen magic, “As long as magic exists inside of rotten people, we cannot achieve equality! I have to take it from them! I have to use it to show them how wrong they were!” And at that moment, North realized that Maximillia was gone. Sweet, innocent Maximillia, was replaced by this. This deranged woman. North gripped his swords, forged with magic strong enough to cut open a dragon skin. “North...” Her gaze lowered to the swords. “North please! You promised me your everything!”
“It was a mistake.” His voice was sorrowful. He raised his sword.
“It was a mistake.” North muttered under his breath, as he kicked the dead wyvern out of his sleigh. Pitch glanced at the older wizard, not saying anything. They were about to arrive at the Wintertusk Mountain, the place of North’s and Maximillia’s last encounter. “Hold on Jack...” he whispered. “I am coming for you.”
How did it come to this? Pitch was gone, chasing the wounded Maximillia. North couldn’t give a damn what happened to her and chose to search for his son instead. When he did find Jack, the boy was slumped on the wall with his staff in hand. “Jack! Are you--”
“Is it true?” Jack cut him off. “What she said to me?” The temperature got colder, and if it wasn’t for his manticore coat, North would have frozen to death. The boy moved sluggishly, using his staff as a support and stood up. “Tell me.” Eyes as cold as the chamber they were in, Jack pointed his staff to North. “Why did you adopt me?”
Once upon a time, there was an invisible boy who lived in an orphanage. No one saw him, no one but a little girl who believed in him.
“Jack! There you are!”
Her name was Emma.
“Come on! You promise you are going to teach me ice-skating!”
The invisible boy was happy, for even though he only had one believer, that one person was important to him. And he was important to her. Laughter and joy would radiate from their very being when they were together, and so, the invisible boy thought. “Ah, so this is what family is.” And everything was perfect.
Perfection did not exist.
The illusion shattered along with the thin ice layering the lake. When Dodgson threw him there after he froze the redhead’s arm. When he saw Emma’s terrified face looking at him. When he fell to the freezing water and the ice reformed and he couldn’t get out he was going to die. Except he didn’t. His magic wouldn’t allow it to happen. So he rose.
The Ministry of Magic was in uproar. A few days ago a flare--no, it was more than that, it was a burst- of magic explodedin a small town of Burgess. It had been twenty years since the end of Maximillia Lunar’s reign, and the Wizarding World had finally recover from the trauma that she left. But now they were surprised by the power this boy had displayed. From their investigation, he was a muggleborn.
A muggleborn had never showed so much power before. Some hypothesized it was because his magic never found a way to release itself until now, that it was a one time thing only. They were wrong. The boy was strong. The room he was held in kept snowing every time he cried. Even with accidental magic, it took a great amount of stamina to control the weather, and Jack was still awake.
The Wizengamot gathered to take vote about what to do with the boy. Some of the more paranoid wizards agreed to put him in the Azkaban. “Like what we should have done with her.” One spat. The current Minister, William Marker, did not share the sentiment. Or rather, he did, but his hands were tied by politics. The Muggle Ministry would rise hell if they found out that they put a child in their wizarding prison.
So he decided on another option.
The door to his room was open. Jack snapped his head toward the entrance. His body was covered in many layers of blankets, shivering either from the cold or fear. He looked like a small, scared animal. That was not what North was expecting. “Hello Jack.” The social worker woman greeted in falsely sweet voice. North winced at her tone. There was no way the kid didn’t notice the malice. “This is Sir Nicholas North Frost, he’s here to adopt you.” Quick and to the point, either she was efficient or she didn’t want to be in this room any longer. “Now, I will leave you two alone to get to know each other.” Ah, the latter then.
The door was closed, leaving North alone with this Jack boy. Several second of awkward silent later, North finally summoned a chair for him to sit with his magic. The boy’s eyes widened, he looked at the chair and then at North’s wand. “You are a wizard.” He stated.
“I am.” The old man nodded.
“They said I am a wizard too...” Jack trailed off. “Is that how I froze Dodgson?” His eyebrows creased together. “Emma! What about Emma? Is she okay?”
North frowned, trying to remember who Emma was from the briefing. Apparently, she was one of the witnesses that the Ministry had to obliviate. “I am sure she is fine.” He finally said.
“Can I see her again?” Jack asked hopefully.
“Ah...” Here came the hard part, North thought. “I’m afraid not.”
The boy looked crestfallen. “Why not?”
“Even if you do meet her right now, she wouldn’t remember you.” The hermit wizard began to explain. “You see Jack, for her and your protection, we had to erase her memories about you. A sad thing, but it cannot be helped.”
There was only one thing that could describe Jack’s expression right now.
There was only one way to describe North’s expression right now.
“That witch told me... everything. About how you two met, about how you defeated her but more importantly about why you adopted me.” The staff was still held high toward the older wizard’s head. “Tell me North.” Jack said in mock calmness. “Have I ever been a son to you, or am I just a tool, a weapon to be sharpened?”
”Poor little Jackson.” The woman crooned. “Do you really think North loves you?” It was terrifying... how sincere she sounded, as if she really did care. As if she wasn’t lying to his face. “Now that you know who I am, I think you also need to know who you are.” She crouched, her eyes were looking deeply at Jack’s. “Orwhatyou are for North.”
”The Snow Child.” Jack whispered the name with venom. “Once upon a time, there was an invisible boy.” North’s eyes widened. “Who held winter inside his soul, who had the power to destroy.” The boy hissed the next verse, “Baptized by the water of the frozen lake, everything would freeze in his wake.”
“Jack...” North breathed his words, “That’s not all.”
“Of course that’s not all!” Jack roared, the ice cave shook, as if it was trembling with fear. “Then come the Winter King! He crowned the child and make him prince! Shower him with gifts, put him on a leash!” If the place was freezing before now it was worse. “Tell me my King, this is the Lunar’s Prophecy isn’t it? The one you followed so you could control me?!”
Jack glared at North, he lowered his staff and there was a flicker of hope in the man’s eyes. That hope was shattered when Jack broke his staff in two. “No!”
“Yes.” The snow child replied with cold fury. “Now you can’t control me anymore.” Gales of wind danced in wild flurry. North struggled to keep his feet on the ground, desperately trying to use his voice.
“Jack! Please, let me explain!”
“Explain?! So you don’t deny it then?!” Jack screamed through the wind. “So I am a tool to you?!”
“No!” North kept going, fighting the impromptu blizzard created by Jack’s anger. ”Don’t ever call yourself a tool!”
Jack let out a harsh laughter, “A weapon of mass destruction then?”
North’s jacket wouldn’t last long. Soon the effect of the manticore skin wouldn’t be able to fight off the cold. However, even the idea of death by hypothermia didn’t cross his mind. All he wanted to do was to explain to Jack, and ask for his forgiveness. “The Winter King was a fool!” He screamed. “The Snow Child was neither a weapon nor a tool!” The old wizard coughed, his throat felt hoarse. “I couldn’t care less about some prophecy! People can call you the Chosen One or Snow Child for all I care, but to me you are still my son!”
“Liar!” Jack threw an ice ball at North, the man barely missed it.
North was gaining closer toward his boy. “I admit that I was afraid of you, of what you could have become. The prophecy was dodgy and incomplete--.”
“And that’s supposed to make me feel better?!” The Slytherin threw the broken staff at the maker. North caught it and advanced. Jack took a step back, forgetting that behind him was an ice wall.
“--But then I see you for who you are! You were a child, scared because he might have hurt someone, afraid because you lost a loved one! No child should have gone through that!” North’s giant hands were reaching out to Jack. The boy panicked and closed his eyes in fear.
“Go away!” The cave shook again. The ceiling began to fall. There was no time to create a barrier and no way to run. North protectively wrapped himself around Jack, becoming the boy’s shield. The manticore jacket managed to protect him from most of the rubbles, but some icicles pierced their way to the hermit’s back.
North hissed, struggling with the pain. “We need to get out of here.” He picked up the dazed Jack and began to run. The blood loss made his head too light for his liking. But he had to do this, the only way to escape quickly is to Apparate. Concentrating as best as he could he closed his eyes and hold Jack tightly. He might had splinched his left leg in the process, but it was worth Jack’s safety.
Pitch gasped for air as he managed to escape from the snow. Damn that Dragoness, even with diminishing magic and wounded stomach, she still managed to do something as tricky as avalanche. Limping to the sleigh, the ex-Auror wasn’t surprised to find North and Jack were already there. No, what surprised him was his friend’s condition. His left leg was gone, and there were some icicles stabbing his back. And then there was Jack, whose expression could only be described as horrified. The boy tilted his head to Pitch, eyes wide and lips trembling.
“We have to get going, hurry.” Pitch ordered the boy. “If we are lucky, there wouldn’t be any wyvern on the way back.”
It was dawn when they arrived back at Hogwarts. The snow was falling softly to the ground, synchronizing with Jack’s heart, numbing the pain with the cold. Jack made no move to help Pitch carry North, not that he needed help considering the man used magic. The Slytherin followed quietly from behind. His shoes were long discarded as they were almost frozen on his feet. Walking through the hallways, his footsteps left behind rimes of frost. The paintings were whispering before some of them went away, no doubt trying to get Headmaster Murdoch. They were closing in the Hospital Wing when they heard the yelling. “And we won’t get to our own dorms before Jack is back!” It was Rapunzel’s.
“Don’t be silly Corona! From what I can tell you have been staying up all night with your... friends. If any of the professors find out we will get a lot of demerits!”
“As a Prefect isn’t it your job to give us demerits anyway?” Hiccup pointed out to the stranger.
“Well I--!” The Ravenclaw Prefect stopped when she saw Pitch. “Professor Black!” She stammered, “I--I can explain!”
“Move Miss Murlberry, can’t you see there’s a hurt man here?” Pitch snapped, not in the mood for dealing with students. Murlberry glanced up to the body hovering in the air, her eyes widened. Without saying another word she left the Hospital Wing. The pale man sighed and gently put North on the bed. He turned to face Jack’s friends. “I had done the best that I could to stop the bleeding. Stay here and watch for his vitals, I need to call St. Mungo.”
“I could make the call, sir. I think it would be best if someone with more experience watch over Mr. Frost.” Rapunzel volunteered.
“They will only think it’s a prank call if it comes from a student. Now, stay put.” Pitch glanced briefly at Jack when he said the last part. After the ex-Auror had left, the three ran to hug Jack.
“Jack! Are you alright? You are not hurt are you?” Merida asked with worry written all over her face.
“What happened? Did Nurse Maxim really do that to your dad?” Hiccup looked queasy. They had let that fake nurse hang around Jack this whole time... what a mess.
“Jack?” Rapunzel let go of the hug when she realized the Slytherin wasn’t returning it. The temperature fell down a bit and the blonde realized something was wrong. “Where’s your staff?”
“Maxim didn’t do that to him.” Jack muttered. “I did.”
His friends stared at him. Rapunzel finally break the silent. “What--what do you mean by that?”
The answer they got was short and clipped, “I got angry and broke my staff.” Jack looked up and saw the expectant looks. “I don’t want to talk about it.” They seemed to accept his answer, or at least respected it. Soon they stopped crowding and began to do their own things. Merida paced around nervously near the front door, no doubt waiting for Pitch to come back. Hiccup and Rapunzel were standing by with potions on their hands, ready if anything happened to North. Jack sat in the corner of the room, away from North’s bed. He wasn’t sure how to feel about all... this. He wasn’t sure about anything at all.
“What’s wrong with your hair?” Merida suddenly asked.
“My hair?” Jack tilted his head.
“Yeah, it turning brown.” As soon as Merida said that, Jack jumped from his seat and sprint to the bathroom. Inside, he checked himself on the mirror. It was true, his hair was turning brown from the roots.
“Jack?” North asked with laughter in his voice. “What did you do to your hair?”
“I dyed it.” The previously brown haired boy now had white hair and black eyebrows, just like North.
The old man looked even more amused, “I can see that.” He sat beside the boy. “You pull off that look, good job.”
“Of course! I’m your son!” Jack grinned goofily.
North smiled softly, “You are my son no matter what.”
The harsh knocking on the door snapped Jack out of the memory. “Jack? Are you alright? It’s not some sort of curse is it?” Merida yelled through the door.
“Uh, no it’s not.” Jack wiped the tears that he hadn't realized was there. “It’s my natural hair color.”
There was a pause, “You are a metamorphagus?”
“No, I just dyed it.”
Another pause. “What?! I thought it was-- you dyed your hair?! I thought-- I mean-- what?!”
“Come on Red, it’s not that surprising is it?” Jack chuckled tiredly, “I mean, considering everything else?”
“It’s true, I guess.” Merida mumbled, “You okay in there?”
“Yeah... just cleaning up a bit.” The Slytherin turned on the water faucet and splashed his face with water, effectively hiding the tear stains. “I’m alright.”
“Well... okay then.”
Jack opened the door, greeted by the sight of Merida’s concerned face. “I told you I’m fine.”
“I know.” She said that but Jack knew she didn’t believe him. He didn’t believe it himself either.
The room was heavy with silence. No one dared to break the ice. So they kept quiet, letting Jack drowned deeper and deeper inside it. At least it had stopped snowing, but the room was still cold. It was obvious that it took a great deal of restraint for Jack, if the scrunched up expression on his face was any indication.
“Alright, that’s it.” Hiccup finally had enough. He stood up from his chair and approached his best friend. “You need to talk about what happened.”
“No. I don’t.” The Slytherin replied without looking at him.
Hiccup scoffed. “Yes. You do.” He mimicked Jack’s tone. “Come on.” He grabbed Jack and dragged him outside the Hospital Wing. It was surprisingly easy to do, and it worried Hiccup to no end. By this time Jack--the usual Jack- would have joked about the twig being stronger than he looked. The mellow boy in front of him was not the usual Jack. “Talk.” With the guts he didn’t know he had before, Hiccup stared him down.
Jack still refused to look at him. “Why?”
“Because else you will pass out from trying to hold everything inside.”
And just like that, the freezing wind was released as Jack glared and pushed Hiccup away. The brunet stumbled backward. He was quite surprised by the amount of emotions Jack had kept at bay. It was as if the good natured boy Hiccup had grown to know was simply a masquerade, and now he was facing the force of nature beneath the mask. “You want me to talk? Fine, I’ll talk.”
“Do you know why North adopted me? Why he made that staff for me?” Anger. So much cold anger like a blizzard, jagging icicles to your flesh with each words. “Apparently, I was, and still am, a threat to the Wizarding World. Too much power! Too dangerous! Let’s keep him leashed!” Jack threw his arms up in the air. “And if we are lucky, maybe he’ll die without anyone noticing!”
Hiccup stared at him with incredulity, and perhaps a healthy dose of fear. Both for his life and for his friend’s sanity. “What are you talking about?”
“Oh, you know. Just that North never really loved me. But that’s okay, why would anyone love a freak like me?” Jack said his words so casually, so nonchalant that it hurt. “Turns out he only adopted me by the order of The Ministry, just to make sure I don’t grow up to be the next Evil Overlord or something.” He chuckled and turned to Hiccup. “Heh, guess you don’t need to--Ugh!” Jack never finished his sentence as Hiccup’s fist collided with his face. He hit the wall behind him and hissed in pain as his nose bled. “What is wrong with you?!”
“Me?! You asked what’s wrong with me?!” Hiccup looked furious. He glared, towering Jack who was slumped on the floor. “What is wrong with you? North risked his life trying to save you and you dare tell yourself he never loves you?!” His fist were shaking, as if ready to strike Jack again if he opened his mouth. “Do you know that the first time we met, all he talked about was you? He talked about how you bested him that morning, about how he planned to get even and how proud he was to see you making friends.” If Jack was paying attention, he would notice the envy in Hiccup’s voice. “He’s proud of you… he loves you.”
Jack, eyes wide and mouth hung, looked at Hiccup in surprise. “I--.”
“Shut it!” Hiccup snapped. “Talking to you is not worth it.” The Hufflepuff stormed away from Jack. His footsteps echoing in the silent corridor.
It hurt. Hearing Hiccup tell him that hurt. Like a slap on the face that he needed to wake up. “Oh god…” Jack curled up on the floor, hiding his face beneath his knees and dyed fringe. “Oh god…I’m sorry, I’m so sorry...” He choked a sob, then some more, before letting his tears stream down his cheeks.
What had he done? He had hurt North, the person who actually cared for him. The person who stayed by his side through his moment of weakness, the one who made it possible for him to have friends. “I’m sorry… I’m sorry…”
The one person who he could call as his father.
The snow gently fell, as if trying to comfort Jack. It didn’t work very well.
When North woke up he was already in St. Mungo. The healers tried to hold him down as he thrashed around trying to find his son. His Snowflake. His Jack. “Let me go you ублюдок! I need to go to Jack!” He needed to apologize, needed to beg for his forgiveness and--.
North turned around. Hoping, wishing, praying that he wasn’t deluding himself, that he was just creating an illusionary voice that he wanted to hear. “Jack?”
For a moment, both simply stood where they were standing. Jack--was it really Jack? Was he dreaming?- stepped inside from the doorway.
“Merlin… Jack, Jack I am sorry. I know that I don’t deserve your forgiveness--.” He also didn’t deserve his love. “--but please, give me a chance! I’ll make it right this time!” He must have said something wrong, because Jack started to cry.
“W--why are you the one apologizing? I’m the one who put you in the hospital!” Jack seemed angry. “I’m the one who hurt you! I doubted you even after everything you had done for me! I’m sorry for being ungrateful! I’m sorry for everything!”
Once again, North saw the boy in that small room. The boy who covered himself in multiple layer of blankets, who looked scared of everything. And all North wanted to do was to hold him and tell him everything will be fine. So he did. “No… no son, there is no reason for you to blame yourself…” North’s body was warm, his hands were gentle. “I’m sorry for hiding the prophecy from you… but we can start again, make everything anew.”
There was a pause. “There is nothing to start again.” For a moment, North’s heart stopped beating, only to be revived by Jack returning his embrace. “Everything was fine. Nothing was wrong, so why should we restart?” Because even with all the secrets, North still loved him truely. “I love you Dad…”
“I love you too Son…”