“Hey! Jamie! Don’t run too far ahead! I don’t wanna lose you!”
A loud laugh was the response as the young boy running ahead of you slowed down and turned to face you.
“Come on, (Name)! We’re almost there!”
You smiled lightly as you walked up next to Jamie and ruffled his hair. “The lake’s not going anywhere, buddy.”
“I know, but I wanna skate!” And with that said, he latched onto your hand and began to drag you down the snowy trail.
You were used to this sort of behavior. You’d been babysitting Jamie since he was five and you were eleven, so he saw you as an older sister at this point. It’d been six years since then and the two of you couldn’t be closer if you tried.
Sometimes you worried about him though. Eleven years old, going on twelve, and he still believed in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and now he’d added Jack Frost to the list. You didn’t know many of the other neighborhood kids, but you couldn’t imagine how they must act every time he brings up the “Guardians,” as he called them. And he brought them up a lot. Kids of his age group could be really mean sometimes and were merciless to kids different from them.
You were brought back to earth when Jamie let go of your hand to dash ahead to the edge of the lake, almost falling over as he attempted to put on his skates while he ran. A snort escaped you as you went over to help him.
“What’s the rush today, Jamie?” you asked, as you knelt next to him to slip on and tie his skates. “You’re never usually this hurried.”
“Jack said he was gonna be here soon! I wanted to be ready!”
You paused as you set down his first foot before reaching for the other. “You mean Jack Frost?”
“Yeah! He’s really cool; I think you’d like him, (Name)!”
You sighed as you finished his other foot and stood up, feeling bad for not being able to reciprocate his excitement. But it honestly worried you every time he brought it up. Maybe it wasn’t just holding onto a childish belief. What if he actually believed these characters were real?
“If you say so, buddy,” you said, sticking your hands in your coat pockets. You nodded your head towards the lake. “Why don’t you get out there. I’ll keep an eye on you from here.”
Jamie looked up at you with a questioning look. “You’re not coming out with me?”
“Forgot my skates,” you said, with a sheepish smile. Jamie rolled his eyes with a laugh before turning and waddling his way to the ice, carefully moving further away from land. You moved over to a nearby rock, brushing off the snow before sitting down so you had a good view of the whole lake.
A light wind blew past you, carrying a small snow flurry with it and making you shiver. You wrapped your arms around yourself to try and keep a little warm, staring curiously at the little flurry as it swirled around you before blowing towards Jamie.
You half jerked up out of your seat when Jamie’s feet suddenly flew out from under him, but slowly sat back down when he started laughing. Confusion covered your face when Jamie sat up and pointed at something, his mouth moving as he spoke, although you were too far away to hear what he said.
An anxious feeling filled your stomach as you moved your gaze over the surrounding area, trying to see if there was anyone else nearby. When you couldn’t see anyone, you looked back to Jamie to see that he was looking in a skyward direction, which made you more confused.
“Jamie!” you called out, waving him over when he looked at you. “Who are you talking to?”
A big grin spread across the boy’s face as he sped over to you. “Jack! He just got here!”
You raised an eyebrow at him. “I don’t see anyone.”
“But he’s right here,” Jamie said, looking at the air next to him. You looked in the same spot. You even looked around the area just to be sure. But you still couldn’t see the young man that was supposedly Jack Frost.
“I really don’t see anything, Jamie,” you said, loosely crossing your arms and looking down at him. “Are you sure you’re not seeing things?”
Before Jamie could respond, a huge gust of wind swept past you, whipping your hair over your face as you squeezed your eyes shut. A shriek escaped you as you felt your feet leave the ground before your entire body shot into the air high above the trees.
You opened your eyes and immediately screamed when you saw how high up you were, flailing your arms and latching onto the body behind you when you hit it.
A light chuckle caught your attention and you whipped your head around to look at the person you were somehow holding onto, who had a huge grin on their face.
“You know, the surprised look suits you. I- …Aaannd you fainted.”
A groan forced its way out of your lips as you sat up, putting a hand to your face.
“Jamie?” you called, looking around to see him sitting near the edge of the lake. Shakily, you stood up and went over to him. He turned at the sound of snow crunching and launched himself at you, knocking you onto your butt.
“Gosh, Jamie, don’t break my back,” you wheezed as you carefully pulled his arms away.
“I’m sorry, (Name), but I was really worried cause you fainted and I told Jack not to scare you like that, but he thought it would be funny and I couldn’t get him to think of something else and-“
“Wait, wait, wait,” you said, holding up your hands. “So that flying into the air thing was real?”
“Well, yeah. I told you Jack’s real.”
“Then where is he now?”
You shrieked and spun in a circle so fast you landed in the pile of snow next to you.
“Oh that was great! You’re so easy to sneak up on!”
You glared as you shoved snow off of yourself so you could look at the person who scared you. Actually being able to get a good look at him, you had to admit, he was pretty attractive. But that didn’t mean he could scare you and get away with it. Twice.
“What’s the big idea!” you snapped, carefully standing up again. “Do you want to give me a heart attack?!”
“Hey, relax,” Jack said, holding his hands up in front of him. “It’s all in good fun. And besides, how else was I gonna get you to believe in me?”
“Oh, I don’t know. By not trying to scare me to death?”
Jamie giggled and looked up at Jack. “Despite the scaring bit, she’s taking this a lot better than we thought, huh?”
Jack grinned and nodded. “Definitely. So everything worked out.”
“Well I’m glad you’re both all cheery about this,” you grumbled, rubbing your arms to get warm again. Jamie looked at you a little worriedly as he scrambled over to you and started tugging you in the direction of home.
“I’m sorry, (Name). You’re probably really cold, huh.”
“Ah, that’s my fault,” Jack said sheepishly, flying along behind both of you. “Sorry about that.”
“Just doing your job,” you mumbled, looking at him in mild curiosity. He was a lot younger looking than you would have expected. Although Jamie did say he was the Guardian of Fun, so you guessed it’d make more sense for him to be a bit younger.
Jack noticed you looking at him and grinned. “See anything you like?”
Your face blanked as you deadpanned. “No, just a dorky Spirit who likes scaring people.”
“Oooh, ouch,” Jack joked. “But for your information, I don’t enjoy scaring people usually. Startling them, however, is another matter.”
“It seems I’ve misjudged you then.”
“Yeah. You’re just a dork.”
“Are you always this mean?”
“Say you’re sorry for scaring me and maybe I’ll be nicer.”
“I’m sorry for scaring you. Will you please be nicer?”
“Hmm. I’ll think about it.”
Jamie giggled at Jack’s incredulous look. “That’s the best you’re gonna get, Jack.”
“I can see that,” Jack snorted when you stuck your tongue out at him. Then he slapped on a cheesy grin. “But I think this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
“Come on, Jack, you know I can’t hide as well as you can! So show yourself before I visit my wrath upon you!”
“What wrath? The wrath of fuzzy gloves?” a voice called out from the trees. You rolled your eyes and started scanning the branches for your friend.
“Just stop cheating and get down here. Or start being a more reasonable hider.”
You heard a chuckle before Jack swooped down from the tree in front of you, resting his staff on the ground and balancing on its top.
“Aw, you’re no fun.”
You smirked lightly and pushed his staff, sending him tumbling to the snowy ground. “And I guess you would know best after all, oh Guardian of Fun.”
Jack grinned as he raised himself onto his elbows. “Of course! It’s my area of specialty.”
You pretended to glare at him before laughing and plopping down next to him. Sometimes you wondered what your life would be like if you hadn’t met Jack a year ago. Probably wouldn’t be as interesting. Although you found it hard to have such a good friend that only Jamie knew about. You really wished you could show him off to your other friends, or have a real reason to give your parents about why you were always out at the lake during the winter.
But at the same time, you wouldn’t trade what you had with him for the world.
“You’re thinking about me again.”
You blinked and shook your head before looking at Jack. “Huh?”
Jack smiled lightly and reached over to flick your nose, making you scrunch it. “You get a look on your face when you think about me being a Guardian.”
“I didn’t realize I did that,” you said, leaning against the tree behind you.
“So what’s got you worrying this time?”
“It’s not worrying. I just wish I could let others know about you.”
“Yeah. But this way you get me all to yourself!”
You laughed. “Leave it to you to say that.”
“Is that a complaint?” he asked, grinning as he leaned closer to you. You blushed a bit and leaned away to hide your face.
“Maybe, maybe not.”
“Eh. I’ll take it.”
A comfortable silence enveloped you both as you watched the snow fall. Before you could stop yourself, you started drifting off and your eyes started to close as your body became limp and fell against Jack’s side. You murmured lightly as you felt an arm wrap around your shoulders to keep you up.
“What am I gonna do with you,” a soft voice said, voice too full of affection to actually be scolding you. You made a noise in your throat in reprimand though and the voice chuckled.
“Wouldn’t have you any other way, snowflake.”
A smile made its way onto your face at your own personal nickname. You found it adorable when he called you that and if you were to be honest, it made your heart flutter a bit too.
Silence took over again as you slowly began slipping into sleeps hold. You were almost completely gone when Jack spoke.
“…I love you.”
Your eyes shot open, all traces of sleep gone as you sat up to look at him. His face was bright red as he stared off in the other direction, refusing to look at you.
“Jack, I-… Did you mean that?”
A nod was all you got as he continued to look away from you. You leaned to the side a bit to try and look at his face, although all he did was twist himself around more.
“You weren’t supposed to hear that…,” he said quietly.
You blinked and tilted your head in confusion. “Then why did you say it?”
“Because…I thought you were asleep. And I just needed to say it or I’d burst at having to hold it in any longer.”
“Jack. How long have you felt this way?”
“…A few months.”
You smiled and leaned forward to kiss his cheek. “Wish you would’ve told me sooner, Jack. I love you too.”
Jack turned his head to look at you a little pensively, searching your eyes to make sure you weren’t messing with him, before smiling and resting his forehead on yours.
A head popped out from a nearby bush.
“Are you gonna kiss her, Jack?”
Two voices echoed loud enough to shake snow from the trees.