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The Winter Wars

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The first thing he remembered was waking up in cold darkness. He couldn’t tell if his eyes were actually open and he was blind, or if his eyelids were simply stuck together, and all he could hear was the pounding of his own heart, and his chest felt like there was a great, crushing vice-like grip around it. He couldn’t move, couldn’t scream for help, he couldn’t escape the darkness. Then, just as he was going to give up hope, a light from above him seemed to chase some of the darkness away, and then his body became slightly warm, as if someone wrapped their arms around him in a comforting embrace as they pulled him up. There was a solid barrier that easily broke as he met it; it felt cold. As he was pulled passed it the vice around his chest seemed to break and he took a deep breath, the air was cold and fresh with a slight taste of mint and pine that seemed just a little familiar; his brain registered winter air and he now knew why it was so cold. He slowly opened his eyes and the first thing he saw was the full moon big in the night sky and shining brightly; he felt safe in its light.

As he stared at it, the gentle voice of a man whispered to him, “Child of mine, your name is Jack Frost.”

Ever so carefully he was lowered down again until his bare feet touched a cold surface, ice. The boy, Jack, looked at himself; his skin was white as snow, his hair was silvery-white, and his clothes had a light dusting of frost designs. His body felt right, yet strange at the same time.

He looked up at the moon hoping it would tell him why, but the speaker from before remained silent and yet seemed to be giving him an affectionate smile that he couldn’t help but return. Jack took a step and his foot jostled something he didn’t notice lying on the ground, a Shepard’s crook; he tapped it with his toe and it was instantly coated in frost. Curious he picked it up and looked it over; the wood itself looked as if it twisted around itself to make the shape, and the grooves were filled with frost from end to end becoming thicker ice as it worked to the center expanse where it was typically held. The centering ice glowed lightly as his fingers brushed over it and at the same time he felt as if something inside him was resonating with the glow; he went over to a nearby tree and touched the hook of the staff to the bark watching in wonder as frost spread over it in beautiful fern designs, and he repeated the action to a tree on his other side this time letting out a joyful laugh as the designs formed again. Feeling exited he ran across the icy surface he still stood on waving the staff and laughing as more frost spread making the surface thicker, and the frost spread beyond the ice to the trees coating them and reflecting the moonlight the scene was bathed in. Jack jumped and twirled enjoying the rush he felt when suddenly a gust of wind lifted him off his feet and above the treetops so he could see his work; he had been on a frozen pond in the middle of a forest and it was now gleaming with ice and frost in the moonlight beautifully; Jack felt quite proud of himself.

“Whoa!”

Jack was suddenly falling from the air; on the way down, he hit the smaller, thinner branches of trees snapping them off as he tried to grab them to stop his fall until he hit a thicker one and clung to it for dear life like a koala. He took a few breaths to calm himself after the rush then pulled himself up to squat on his perch and he immediately saw lights in the distance, and lights meant people who could help him figure out where he was. He looked down the tree trunk noticing that there were too many large gaps between the sturdier tree branches to climb down, but if a few moments ago were any indication he didn’t need to climb. He didn’t even need to walk! He could fly to the source of the lights!

Or try to, at least.

With a deep breath, he jumped out into the air and immediately felt the wind wrap around him in support; he was a bit unsteady in trying to balance his weight on nothing, but at least he wasn’t dropping suddenly mid-flight. He reached the source of the lights in practically no time… And crashed into some bushes; he’ll need to work on the landings in the future. Right now though, he was going to look around what he saw actually a village with lanterns and bon fires, people walking around or gathered in groups talking with music in the air as children ran around the adults laughing. Jack walked into the village greeting anyone he saw with a bright smile and a “hello” until he got close enough to a woman sitting down by a fire and he tried to get her attention hoping she would answer his questions.

“Good evening ma’am. Ma’am?”

He leaned closer to her getting into her line of sight seeing as she didn’t seem to hear him; the laughter of a few children grew closer to him and he saw a couple kids running in his direction, so he knelt down to their level hoping they would stop and answer his questions.

“Excuse me, could you tell me-!”

The feeling of having the wind knocked out of him overtook his body and he stumbled back in shock; how had those children run right through him? It should be impossible! He was solid and alive! The pain from both his crash landings were proof enough of that for him, and the things he could do with ice!

Another person walked right through him, and another. Frightened and confused, Jack turned and ran out of the village and into the woods heading back to the pond he’d just left with so many questions running through his head. He could feel his body trembling with the fear coursing through him, his heart was pounding, and for some reason he felt colder; ice trailed after him creating a path right to him and spreading over the forest floor and up the trees, snow was starting to fall from the lingering clouds that grew thick enough to block out the moon. Everything was cold and dark, Jack didn’t understand and he was scared; he didn’t know if there was anyone he could turn to for help. He felt empty and hopeless.

He reached the lake again and sat under a tree dropping his staff in favor of hugging his knees to his chest in an attempt to comfort himself; it didn’t work and it scared him more.

“There, there child. Everything will be alright.” A gentle, accented voice cooed from a small distance away.

Jack turned his head seeing a man dressed all in black walking towards him slowly; his hair was black, his skin was gray, and his eyes glowed gold in the darkness.

“Who-who are you?” he asked shakily.

“Pitch Black. I came to fetch you.” The man answered stopping a few feet from him.

Jack tilted his head and narrowed his eyes in confusion, “Fetch me? You knew I would be here?”

“Indeed, I did.” The man, Pitch, nodded “The Man in the Moon told me to be here for you. I would have arrived earlier, but I had to keep your siblings from trying to follow me.”

A fond smile crossed the man’s lips that relaxed Jack just a bit and he stood up with his staff in hand again.

“Siblings? I don’t have any siblings though.” He said with conviction.

“Well, I will concede it will be up to you if you wish to acknowledge my family as your own. But for now, I can see you don’t quite understand everything and you are exhausted, so I will take you to my daughter’s home so that you may rest. In the morning, you can meet everyone and have your questions answered.” Pitch offered.

A place to rest with the promise of explanations was a tempting offer, and if there were others like him who knew how things worked, he could at least stay for a while and figure out what to do next. And if he were to be honest with himself, he didn’t want to be alone right now after everything that happened in the village.

“Okay, I’ll go with you. My name if Jack Frost, the Moon told me.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Jack.” Pitch smiled.

Jack saw his teeth were all sharp, as if his mouth was full of fangs, but he didn’t feel scared of this new man; perhaps that was due to the need of a friendly being.

Pitch put an arm around his shoulders in a gentle embrace and led him from the pond some distance into the woods to where an old bedframe sat over a hole in the ground.

“This leads to my lair. We’ll reach my daughter’s domain faster from within.”

“May I ask, why the bedframe?” Jack inquired.

“You will learn tomorrow. Come along now.”

Pitch moved his arm from Jack’s shoulders to around his waist and waved his hand as a silent order for a shadow to lift the frame allowing them to step into the hole and slowly descend into the darkness slowly.

Jack immediately tensed still feeling scared of the dark as he remembered when he woke up under the ice: the vice-like pressure on his chest, being unable hear anything but his pounding heart, wondering if his eyes were even open…

The hand on his waist gave a gentle squeeze, “I’m here Jack. You don’t have to be so afraid.”

Hearing Pitch’s voice helped him to relax and he leaned into the man’s side telling himself he wasn’t alone like a mantra in his head.

They touched onto solid ground and Jack saw that the underground domain was like a sinking city; everything looked to be at an angle with multiple bridges, escalators, and scattered staircases, metal cages hung from the ceiling, there was mud and rock on the ground that was visible before everything seemed to drop off into an abyss, and there was a gray and black globe speckled with golden lights. In the ceiling were holes that aloud moonlight in, which confused Jack as last he saw, storm clouds had blocked the moon.

“How is light getting in?” he asked.

“We’re under the sinking city of Venice, Italy. My domain is more or less a sunken palace from which I can reach anywhere I need to go immediately. Now come along, the Empire is this way.”

Pitch had released Jack and started up a nearby staircase to one of the bridges and Jack ran after him.

“Empire?”

The man chuckled fondly; he sure was a curious child this one. None of the other three asked so many questions, they took everything they were told in stride and went on with their lives.

“Well Jack, you will be the most interesting of the four if you decide to stay. Mother Nature’s Empire is where I am taking you.”

They continued up a few floors and crossing many of the slanted bridges until they came to a tunnel entrance lined with kniolas black morning glories in full bloom glowing with dark purple, red, and dark blue. They entered the tunnel and Jack’s nose was assaulted with the different scents of flowers and other plants, and honey, and the young spirit felt the comforting sense of being welcomed home; all the tension in his body melted away with the first taste on his breath. The walk through the tunnel took about five minutes then they came out to a courtyard that looked more like a clearing in a forest; a sakura tree standing at one side had grown so big that the roots served as a chaste lounge covered with thick moss and the branches were so thick with the pink blossoms that very little moonlight was able to flow between the gaps. Off to another side was a pond, about the size of the one Jack came out of give or take, surrounded by red spider lilies with blue and white waterlilies floating on the surface and a weeping willow half the size of the sakura tree sitting on the other side of its shore, the vines of the tree reached the ground and mostly blocked something Jack couldn’t quite make out in the shadows of it.

Back around the clearing, there were some bonsai and oak trees with ivy growing around the bases acting as natural barriers, dogwood trees in full bloom with small bunches of azalea orchids to accent them, and camellia bushes to complete the area with a small, naturally made stone fountain in the center. Nightingales could be heard singing and there were a few different paths weaving through the trees from the clearing lined with glowing moon orchids; he could see three with arches: one with blue moon phlox and Casablanca lilies, one with larkspurs and tulips, one with carnations and dahlias, and the last with zinnia and irises.

“This way please.” Pitch said leading Jack to the arch with the phlox and lilies.

As they grew closer he could smell winter air, snow, mint, and pine among the smell of the flowers making up the arch, and as they walked through he saw hemlock and oak trees covered with snow that also blanketed the ground. A narrow river flowed quietly through the land with a few pieces of ice adding a soothing ambiance for the setting. There were a few stone benches by an in-ground cave with a bed inside that hung from the ceiling almost like a shallow bowl with enough of a head to lean some of the pillows against should he just want to sit and relax; the sheets were glacier blue and white, the pillows were twilight blue, and there was a canopy made of a sheer material that looked to have frost designs woven into it; it all looked so inviting.

“Go on and get some rest. I’ll see you in the morning with the others.” Pitch said patting his shoulder.

“Okay. Goodnight, and thank you.” Jack said going into the cave.

It wasn’t so deep in; if he wanted to, he could invite a few people inside and they could sit on the floor with comfortable space between them and the bed hung toward the very back, and the top of his staff didn’t reach the ceiling but there still wasn’t that much clearance between them. He took off his cloak and vest draping them over the crook of his staff and leaned it against the wall before he climbed into the bed almost sinking into the mattress with a pleased sigh.

Pitch came to the mouth of the cave holding a small, leather pouch and he tossed it to Jack.

“Before I forget, that’s for you. When I first brought a Reborn here, he had nightmares of what led to his new life his first night here. So, a companion of mine, the Sandman, gave him some Dream Sand until he could move passed it all, and so he had done the same for his two sisters, and now you. Only sprinkle a pinch onto your forehead. Goodnight.” He nodded in farewell then left.

Jack stared at where Pitch had stood for a moment then to the pouch that had landed on his bed before picking it up and opening the flap revealing the golden sand inside.

“Wow, they really take care of each other here.”

He pulled the sheets over himself and laid down taking a pinch of sand to use; putting the pouch on the floor he sprinkled the sand and was asleep instantly and his dreams were filled with Pitch, and his new possible family. Mother Nature and her three current children were faceless, as he didn’t know what they all looked like, but their combined laughter was full of joy and he could feel love radiating around them, and it made him smile in his sleep. Outside, it had begun to snow lightly in response to the happiness the dreams made him feel.


 

The next morning the sunlight was soft as it kissed Jack’s face to wake him. His eyes fluttered open slowly and he stretched out with a pleased groan before sitting up and looked out to the winter scene outside the cave admiring how the snow sparkled as it was touched by the beams. He remembered the dreams he had and felt the excitement of meeting everyone well up inside of him; he saw a basin filled with water, and next to it a stool holding a parcel, and a wash cloth with a bottle sitting on top of it. He got out of bed and went over to the items picking up the parcel finding the wrapping to in fact be cloth, and opened it finding clothes inside; he set it on the bed and pulled out each piece: a white, long-sleeved turtleneck shirt, dark blue, almost black cotton pants with narrow strips of silver ribbons attached to the top of the calf area, and a blue, sleeveless duster coat with an attached cloak and hood embroidered with silver designs like the frost ferns he remembered making the night before.

Smiling at the gift he received, Jack stripped down and set to cleaning himself up; the water in the basin was lukewarm, if not chilled due to the winter setting, and the bottle was filled with a liquid soap that smelled of mint. When he washed with it, he could feel it chilling his skin and he giggled at the brief sensation. Once clean, he dressed in his new clothes, which became coating in a fine layer of frost upon contact, finding that his shirt and pants hugged his frame like second skin and fit comfortably as if the maker had him specifically in mind; he wound and tied the ribbons around his calves like he had his deer hide pants, and slipped the duster on closing the three silver buttons down his torso. The coat also fit to his frame, though not so tightly, and the cloak fell halfway down his forearms and just a bit longer in the back. He moved his arms and legs testing the resistance of the material and jumped in place a few times to test the weight of the coat; he grabbed his staff, tossing his old cloak and vest onto the bed, and ran outside immediately being swept up by the wind just as easily as the night before. Satisfied that he wouldn’t be hindered by any extra weight in his new outfit, he tried to land again but almost hit the river; at least it was better than the night before when he hit the bushes by the village.

He headed for the arch and went through finding a small ball of light with wings waiting next to it. It floated up to his face and he could see it actually had a body, a petite woman with hair falling to her hips; she bowed and gestured down the path he had traveled the previous night then flew off at a slow pace and Jack realized she wanted him to follow. He did so feeling relief because he had just been hit with the realization that he had no idea where he was supposed to go to meet everyone, and he was sure that if they were supposed to have breakfast together showing up late would make a bad first impression. The small fairy led him back to the clearing area and through it to one of the other paths that passed the lake with the willow and spider lilies; Jack caught a glimpse between the vines swaying gently in the breeze and saw a stone framed bed. He kept walking with the small fairy fluttering in front of him until they came to a meadow area full of clovers and wild flowers, a stream flowing not too far from a low table. The table was so close the ground, people would need to sit on the ground to reach it, and there were five other people sitting around the table sitting on different colored pillows.

At the head of the table was a woman with long, black hair accented with a small tiara of ivy, amber eyes, a long yet lovely face, and she wore a dress colored in winter blue from the Mandarin styled collar down to her hips where it bled into the slightly darker summer blue. The dress was embroidered with goldfish stitching in red, orange, gold, and white that looked to really be swimming around along the skirt, and white snowflakes that looked to really be falling starting from her shoulders down, and resting on the crook of her arms was a white shawl wrap made of clouds. Jack guessed she was Mother Nature.

To her left sat a young woman with long, golden blond hair done in a thick braid with smaller, thinner braids woven through it and a variety of brightly colored flowers stuck in; she wore a dress that was predominately violet with lilac off-shoulder bell sleeves, and a pink sash around her waist held with a golden lily broach letting the ends fall with the length of the skirt. Along the skirt hem was a tessellation of embroidered golden suns connected by their rays, and her eyes were green.

Across from the blonde was another woman with pale skin, fiery red hair, blue eyes, and faint freckles across her nose, she wore a teal dress with sleeves cut to expose her shoulders falling just passed her elbows, and the flowing skirt going to her knees showing her legs clad in dark red, almost black leggings and taupe boots, around her waist was a brown belt that just hung on her waist, and on her left forearm was a leather archery armguard.

Next to the redhead was a young man who looked to be the oldest of three; he had auburn hair with two small braids behind his right ear, green eyes a bit darker than the blonde woman’s. He wore a deep red long sleeved tunic under a brown leather vest with a matching belt around his waist, black pants and… Was that a peg leg made of metal instead of a left foot? And next to him, across from Mother Nature, was a man with long, black hair, some type of appendages growing from each side of his head near the top, his clothes were completely black and mostly made of leather from what Jack could see, he wore a long cloak, and gauntlets on his forearms. Was that a tale with a false fin on the end?

Seeing as the others hadn’t noticed Jack’s arrival, the little fairy flew over to Mother Nature and whispered in her ear prompting her to look up at the boy and smiled warmly.

“Jack, good morning. I’m glad to see my Water Light was able to guide you here. Come sit.” She gestured to the one open seat by the blonde girl “How did you sleep?”

Jack slowly made his way over to the open spot clutching his staff tightly, “I slept fine, thank you.”

As he sat down, everyone else at the table smiled at him warmly making him relax slightly.

“Hi Jack! I’m Rapunzel, and I’m a Herald of Spring!” the blonde girl said with a smile like the sun.

Jack blinked, “A Herald? Are there others?”

“Just one other.” She answered holding up a finger.

“I’m Merida, the Herald of Summer.” The redhead introduced herself; she had an accent different from Pitch’s.

“Where did you originally come from?” he asked curiously.

“Scotland.”

“And I’m Hiccup, the Herald of Autumn.” The light brunet said.

Jack let out a small laugh before biting his lip hoping he didn’t offend the other male.

Rapunzel giggled, “Don’t worry, Merida and I laughed at his name too.”

Hiccup shrugged with a small smile, “I’m come from a tribe of Vikings, and our traditions say the worst names strike fear. But the names I like are the ones that confuse people, like the one I gave this useless reptile.”

He nodded to the one other male sitting between them.

Jack looked at him, “What’s your name?”

“Toothless.” He said simply.

He blinked; the guy had teeth. Why was he named Toothless? And did Hiccup say he named him?

Toothless smirked and looked at Hiccup, and Hiccup smirked back and nodded drawing giggles from Rapunzel, Merida, and Mother Nature. Toothless stood up looking giddy and took a few steps back from the table; his skin started to darken to black, he dropped down on all fours as his body started to grow longer, larger, and covered in scales, and the cloak he was wearing became large, leathery, bat-like wings. The guy was a dragon! Well that explained those things on his head: they were his ears.

Toothless looked at Jack with his mouth open showing a mouth full of sharp teeth, and then retracted them into his gums.

“That’s why I called him Toothless.” Hiccup said.

“That is amazing!” Jack said thoroughly impressed.

Toothless shifted back to his human for and gave a bow with a smirk, “Glad you enjoyed the show! I’m here all week!”

Everyone laughed at the joke as they settled in for the meal.

There was a variety of fruits and breads, Toothless having raw fish, along with cold pitchers of juice and milk, and a pot of tea; as they ate, they spoke amongst each other so that Jack would get to know them all better, and hopefully decide to become part of their small family. The other Heralds shared some stories from their travels in spreading their designated seasons and some from their mortal lives; Mother Nature shared some of her memories from the Golden Age giving Jack more insight as to who her father used to be and who he is now. Jack smiled, laughed, sympathized, and kept himself from crying at all the right points of each story he heard; the only stories he hadn’t heard from the other Heralds was what circumstances led to them becoming Heralds, all Jack knew for sure was that Pitch had found and brought them to Mother Nature.

“…So, as Toothless and I are flying over Canada painting the maple leaves, Toothless sees this pond and dives for it because he saw a fish jumping out for bugs. Neither of us realized that the pond was only a few feet deep, so when he hit there was this huge splash of mud and water, and when Toothless finally pulled his head out he had a mouth full of mud. He ran around bucking and tossing his head trying to get it all out, and even tried using water to rinse it but all his frantic movements had stirred up the mud so much that his effort was all for naught. I would have helped, but I was too busy keeping my sides from splitting on the shore.” Hiccup said recounting an incident from a few years ago.

Jack, Rapunzel, and Merida doubled over the table laughing while Mother Nature covered her laughter behind her hand in an attempt to not let the sip of tea she just took to spurt all over the table, but her shoulders still shook with her amusement.

Toothless was half scowling at the lighter brunet, “Why must you always tell that story?”

“Because it never gets old.” Hiccup said with an innocent, bright smile.

The dragon growled for a moment then smirked getting a certain gleam in his cat-like green eyes that told Hiccup to get up and run, and possibly climb a tree if he could reach one fast enough.

Hiccup launched to his feet and bolted for the forest making it only a few yards before he was tackled by Toothless in his original dragon form; he groaned in pain as he was turned over then started flailing as a wide, flat, wet tongue licked his face and the top of his chest all over.

“Gah! Toothless, stop! You know that doesn’t wash out! Knock it off!” he cried out trying to push the giant reptile off him.

The others at the table were laughing twice as hard as before; Merida had her head buried in her arms as she tried to regain her breath, and Rapunzel and Jack were leaning on each other for support. Mother Nature was trying to hold herself up by one arm on the table as the other clutched her stomach tight from so much laughing.

“This-this ha-happen all the time!” Rapunzel gasped out “B-but it’s always so funny!”

Hiccup finally pushed Toothless off of him and started trying to flick and swipe off the ridiculous amount of dragon saliva he was covered in while Toothless let out throaty laugh.

Having finally regained her breath, Mother Nature waved a hand creating a concentrated downpour over Hiccup that proved effecting in washing the saliva off then created a warm wind to dry him.

“Thanks, Mama Sera.” Hiccup said with relief as he stood up.

Toothless shifted back into his hybrid form again still smirking with satisfaction.

“I regret nothing.”

“Do you ever?” Hiccup replied giving him a half scowl, half pout.

The dragon stepped up to him cupping the back of his neck pulling the other male into a chaste, yet loving kiss that had Merida and Rapunzel giggling like crazy while Jack looked on with surprise. Nothing about their behavior had actually given a sign that the two were actually a couple; was it really accepted in their world, or was it a kept family secret that he may be trusted to keep now too?

“Alright there, Jack?” Merida asked bringing him from his thoughts.

“Oh, yeah. Just uh,” he gestured to Hiccup and Toothless “Is that really okay?”

The redhead looked at him confused, “How do you mean? Both of them being male, or the species difference?”

“Both.”

She looked at the two again, “Well, it did take Rapunzel and me a while to get used to when we found out. Mama Sera told us that back where she grew up, such relationships were very common. She taught us that all that matters in terms of love is what the heart wants, and that made it easier for me to accept because my mother had learned through a difficult trial that the heart could be your best guide in life…”

Jack could see Merida’s eyes had gone glazed with unshed tears and a memory as she spoke of her mortal mother; he guessed they had a very strong bond back before the Scot girl became the Herald of Summer, and even after so long it still hurt to talk about it. The pain he could see must be tied to how Merida came to be as she was now.

“Meri?” Rapunzel called softly as she reached across the table to clasp her sister’s hand.

By now Hiccup and Toothless had pulled apart and came back to the table, concern clear on their faces as they watched the redhead come back from her memories.

“I’m alright.” She breathed and blinked a few times.

Mother Nature pushed back some of the flaming locks in a motherly manner, “Child mine with so much strength, you are not without love and family among us. You can lean on us still as you wish.”

Merida smiled gratefully, “I know, but I’m really alright. It’s slowly becoming easier.”

The woman smiled back, “I am proud of your resilience.”

“Indeed. Resilience is a strong, common factor we share it seems.”

Jack smiled recognizing the new voice; he looked over and saw Pitch standing near the table with a fond smile on his lips.

“Pitch! I wondered where you were! We started without you!”

“I work at night, young man.” The dark man said going over to Mother Nature.

He stooped down enough to kiss her forehead, “Hello, Seraphina.”

“Hello Father.” She smiled squeezing his hand “We’ve been sharing some stories with Jack so far.”

“Have you now? The questions haven’t started yet?” Pitch asked sitting next to his daughter.

Jack, so caught up in just being around the others, had forgotten all the questions that plagued his mind the night before; having them mentioned now reminded him of just how clueless he really was about, well, everything.

He looked at the others, “I do have one that stands out the most for me. Why can people walk right through me?”

Seraphina gasped, “You tried to make contact with mortals?”

“I thought they could see me…” Jack said weakly thinking he was in trouble.

She stood and went over to him hugging him tightly, “Poor child of mine, to know that pain… Jack, we cannot be seen by mortals unless they believe in us. It’s a complicated, confusing, ugly, yet beautiful world we live in. For us, and mortals.”

“I don’t understand. Why do they need to believe in us to see us?” he asked.

“Because we are myths to them. Beings of fairytales and folk stories. There are some who need the belief of children to retain their power and longevity, but any like us, don’t necessarily have to be believed in for our strength. I wish I could say the pain of being passed through becomes easier to deal with, but it doesn’t, not really.”

Jack leaned against her as she ran her fingers through his hair, the action soothing the stab of pain he felt at knowing it was likely no one would ever be able to see him; it gave him a sense of isolation and loneliness despite the group around him. But feeling Seraphina’s comforting touch, hearing the soothing tone of her voice, and seeing the others around him offering silent support and assurance chased the negative feeling away, like when he looked at the Moon the night before after he was pulled from the pond: safe.

“You guys will be a great family for me, I can tell.” He said smiling.

“You mean you’re staying?” Rapunzel asked excitedly.

When Jack nodded affirmatively the Spring Herald squealed and pulled Jack into a tight hug practically bouncing.

“This is great! We have a new brother and all four seasons are finally together! Oh, we’re going to have so much fun! Mama Sera, when will the party be?”

The others just laughed at her enthusiastic chatter that seemed to come out in one breath; Jack had to wonder if she was more hyper than him.