Chapter 19: Danger
The rest of the day had progressed slowly Jack spent much of his time with Annabeth either playing games or helping out with the odd chore she had been set. It made him happy to see his sister smile continuously throughout the afternoon.
Jack was having a lot of fun as well building a group of snowmen with his sister beside the house, having a snowball fight which ended in the destruction of a couple of snowmen. Annabeth also gave support when Jack tested out his winter powers further. He had finally got the hang of creating ice and frost, Annabeth marvelled over the icy patterns left behind. One side of the house was covered in ice and frost where he had attempted to draw with it.
Annabeth cheered as Jack managed to have more control over the wind, the icy breeze often blowing up loose snow to create a mini snow shower. This gave Annabeth an idea, she had asked Jack if he could make snowflakes considering they were like a combination of frost and ice but very tiny and detailed. So for a few hours of the afternoon Jack set about designing snowflakes.
The silence of the afternoon was beginning to bore Annabeth so she began thinking of a topic but the only thing she could think of was a continuation of their conversation about their past and all the stuff they used to do. With a sigh she decided to press her luck and bring it up again. "Do you remember when I told you that you often pulled pranks on the village." Annabeth asked, Jack hummed a response showing that she had part of his attention, his eyes glued to the snowflake in his hands.
Seeing as Jack wasn't really paying attention Annabeth began thinking of something to say that would give her his full attention. "Did I tell you about the time I wanted to run away from home and live with the Tooth Fairy?" Annabeth asked. Jack nodded his head while agreeing several times before the words full sank in causing him to look up.
"Wait what?" He asked "What do you mean run away from home?" He further questioned looking at the twelve year old.
Thinking that this was her only chance to keep Jack from creating more snowflakes for the rest of the day Annabeth suddenly stood up exclaiming, "I think I hear Mom calling." with that she dashed off leaving Jack to scramble onto his feet.
Now utterly confused Jack followed Annabeth, "I didn't hear Mum calling." Jack replied accusing his sister of lying.
Annabeth laughed, "Sure she did." she called back, "She wanted help with the… um… chores?" Annabeth struggled to finish as she knew that they had already finished the chores for today.
Catching Annabeth's slip up Jack tried to expose it further by replying, "
And what chores would that be then?" He continued to follow the brunette past their home towards the woods.
Annabeth muttered to herself unaware that she was loud enough for Jack to hear, "
I should have thought this through." she sighed as she moved closer to the tree line.
Annabeth pouted causing Jack to laugh, continuing forward she spoke as to ignore the nauseous feeling Jack's aerobatics were giving her, she didn't mind watching him fly about but there was something about walking with him floating upside down next to her that was making her stomach turn. "
Next time remind me to keep my mouth shut." She muttered a reply before the nausea become a headache, "And could you stop that it's giving me a headache." Annabeth asked.
For reasons not yet known to Annabeth, Jack was grinning madly as he landed beside her. She was about to question but was stopped when Jack spoke. "
I'll stop giving you a headache but I can't prevent you from shutting up, it's impossible!" Before Annabeth could respond Jack was suddenly sprinting into the forest, laughing.
"Hey!" Annabeth called after him with a smile on her face as she followed him into the forest. Grabbing some snow off the ground she proceeded to chase Jack around the trees, her target yet to realise the snowball in her hands.
It didn't take long for Jack to look behind to see Annabeth chasing him with a snowball, he laughed slightly at the thought. "
Seriously? You think you can beat me, Jack Frost, in a snowball fight-" Before he could say another word the soft compact ball of snow hit his face stunning him. Brushing his face free of the cold substance he looked back at Annabeth who was smiling and readying another snowball. "Alright, you wanna go there? Fine!" Jack replied creating several snowballs each as perfectly round as the last.
"Your name's Jackson Overland! Not Jack Frost!" Annabeth giggled throwing a snowball.
"That may be true but what winter spirit would called themselves Overland?" Jack asked dodging the snowball, "Besides Jack Frost is a much more fitting name." He laughed throwing one of the snowballs towards Annabeth which she missed.
Annabeth laughed as well, "
As if you've ever won in a snowball fight against me!" she said taunting him as she dodged another snowball. "After all you taught me how to win every time!" She called back noticing Jack had moved slightly further away out of her throwing distance, she laughed chasing after him.
Touché, Annabeth, I have taught you well...but...I DIDN'T TEACH YOU THIS!" Jack laughed as he threw several snowballs at once each of them hitting their target.
No fair you have magic on your side! I'm only able to throw two at most!" Annabeth complained between her giggles before she began gathering a lot of snow to create a big snowball. Picking it up she threw it at Jack once she was close enough.
You shouldn't of started a snowball fight then!" Jack replied as he hid behind a tree while Annabeth wasn't looking, silently he climbed it, his brown snow covered clothes and white hair and pale skin allowing him to blend in perfectly with the snow covered tree.
You threw a snowball first! Not me." Annabeth laughed after she replied, looking behind the tree she had recently seen Jack hide behind she was surprised to see that he wasn't there.
Maybe I did, Maybe I didn't but I know that I'm...GOING TO THROW THE LAST ONE!" Jack said throwing the snowball as he jumped out the tree with a slight victory yell.
Having spotted Jack landing nearby Annabeth was quick to tackle him to the ground, "
Gotcha!" she cheered.
Annabeth laughed as she ended up sitting on top of Jack "
Give up yet?" she asked.
No...I'm just getting started." Jack replied as he went to tickle Annabeth thus making her get off of him. Annabeth screams with laughter as she jumped up to avoid Jack from tickling her.
"This means war Jack!" Annabeth said between giggles.
"Bring it on!" Jack challenges as he goes after Annabeth ready to tickle her again.
Annabeth screams with laughter as she runs away. "
Oh! So we're playing hide and seek now!" Annabeth says delighted that they were now playing one of her favourite games. Quieting her giggles she runs off to hide, within seconds she found hiding spot from which she could watch Jack look for her.
The winter teen laughs, "
Oh, I wonder where Annabeth has gone?" Jack asks as he takes off into the air to look around for his sister. After a minute he shows signs of doubt being unable to find the young girl. "Hum...I can't seem to find her…" Jack says mostly to himself as he continues to search. Unknown to Jack that Annabeth is watching nearby with a smile on her face as she struggles to suppress he giggles.
More time passed and Jack slowly starts to freak out the snowy ground showing no signs of Annabeth's whereabouts and no snow disturbed from any tree to say Annabeth had climbed up one. It was like she was never there to begin with.
Okay, Seriously! Where are you?" Jack called panicked. Landing on the ground he took in his surroundings again and again as he turns in a circle. His breath quickly escalates as his fear of loosing Annabeth takes hold. "Annabeth!" Jack called his voice shaking slightly. "Annabeth. Where are you?" He called his voice rising.
You always were bad at playing hide and seek." Annabeth replied coming out of her hiding place before sneaking up behind her brother. With a running start Annabeth jumped upon Jack's back resulting in her getting a piggyback which in turn startled him. "Well giddy up!" Annabeth said after her brother caught his breath.
Jack smiled before he replied, "
Well...sure thing, Pretty Lady." He began to running about with Annabeth on him.
Annabeth cheered, "
Yay! Faster! Faster!" her hold increasing as Jack went faster, they both laughed as they sped through the trees.
Woohoo! Want to go any quicker?" Jack called as he increased his speed slightly.
Do you really have to ask?" Annabeth laughed. "YES! FASTER!" She cheered as their speed increased dramatically.
"Okay then!" Jack said as he began to run faster. It wasn't long before their fun was stopped when Jack noticed that they were flying. "
Oh, no no no no no no no!" Jack panicked as he looked at the ground whizzing by below them. He had forgotten that running so fast would cause them to take off, but he had also forgotten that it only took a simple thought about landing, to send them crashing into the ground.
"Aww that was fun." Annabeth said as she sat up dusting some snow off her head. Suddenly feeling very childish she began chanting. "
Do it again! Do it again!" She laughed as she looked at Jack, who moaned something into the snow.
Nope...not good idea. Lets just...forget about it." Jack replied sitting up, he didn't feel like voicing his fears that if they should end up flying again that he might accidentally hurt Annabeth in the descend back to the ground, after all he was still working on his landing.
"Aww." Annabeth pouts as Jack realises that this is the first time since meeting her at the lake that she was actually acting like a child. Annabeth looked at Jack with sad yet pleading eyes hoping to get him to change his mind. "
Pleeeeease!" She begged.
Jack smiled getting an idea, "Maybe…" he states grinning. "
But it doesn't look like you want it enough. I should just be with another person who actually wants my fun." He finished with a smile, though he silently hopes that Annabeth with continue to pout is was fun to see her act her age.
"No!" Annabeth begged as she latched onto Jack's legs. "
Please you always make everything fun! Pleeeeease!" Annabeth begged with one final pout. "Pretty please?" She added.
Jack laughed as he began to reply, "
I always make everything fun...I've only just met-" Jack cut himself off, remembering what Annabeth had said earlier. With a sigh he agreed. "Fine, I believe you, I'll give you another ride." Jack sighed quietly as he kneeled down to pick Annabeth up.
"YAY!" Annabeth exclaimed climbing upon her brother's back, "
You're an awesome big brother Jack." Annabeth replied loosing her childish charm as her grip tightened.
You're an amazing...sister, Annabeth." Jack replied as he starts running in the direction of home making sure to keep his speed slow enough so that they wouldn't end up in the air again. Annabeth unsure only holds on tighter as she watched the trees fly past her. It didn't take the pair long to get to the edge of the forest before Jack proceeded to carry Annabeth into the house.
Throughout the day Jack hadn't seen Albert since his conversation with him several hours ago, not that he minded. His mind was taken off his father however when Claire had joined them in playing tag in one of the fields close by.
As night began to fall up the village Jack became nervous he wasn't sure what time Albert wanted to meet him at the forest for so he decided to wait until the moon was high in the sky. By that time Annabeth had went to bed the day's activities finally taking its toll on her. Claire remained awake and was currently in the living room sewing, Jack had remained in Annabeth's room trapped in a hug as he told her a story. About half way through Claire had came in smiling at the sight, Jack looking half asleep with Annabeth curled up against him fast asleep. After helping Claire tuck Annabeth in they retreated to the living room the warm fire stronger than the one in Annabeth's room.
A peaceful silence had fallen over them as Claire continued her needle work and Jack played with around with a snowflake. He was currently working on his temperature control and was so far limited to his hands only while the rest of him still remained the temperature of the cold air outside. Lowing the temperature in his hands he watched as the delicate piece of ice began to melt, rising it again it froze once more.
With a sigh Jack glanced out the window to see the moon high in the night sky, getting to his feet he moved for the door. Claire looked up as she watched him leave an uneasy smile on her face, grabbing his staff from besides the door he smiled back before leaving. No sooner had he stepped out the door had the wind picked up with tremendous force almost knocking the winter teen off his feet.
Pushing forwards the wind died down slightly as he approached the edge of the forest, thanks to the snow covering the ground and the clear sky Jack could easily see Albert sat on one of the few rocks. He looked up with a smile as Jack approached, he was now wearing a thick winter coat lined in fur which was wet with snow.
"I almost thought that you weren't going to show." Albert said once Jack was close enough, Jack smiled but said nothing his mind contemplating on what was happening. There was no conversation between them as they walked through the forest, after a while the pair could see a frozen lake just barely peering through the trees up ahead. Realising that they were close to their destination Albert decided to put his plan into action, thankful that Jack was ahead he was able to slip away unnoticed.
No sooner had he done so Jack turned to look at him, noticing that the man was gone Jack searched the surrounding area. "Excellent." He muttered to himself now realising he was completely alone. With an agitated sigh he walked towards the lake thinking Albert had went that way, he had been very insistent that they didn't stray from this direction.
Using his staff as support as the ground dropped suddenly towards the lake bed Jack continued towards it's frozen surface. Looking around he could only see a snow covered forest with no signs of life, whatever Albert did he had made sure that Jack wouldn't find him.
Albert himself was watching the teen from nearby though quick to hide when he looked around, his patience was wearing thin. He hated how Jack was so close to setting off the trap and yet the winter teen was moving so slowly towards it, it was making the suspense unbearable.
Stepping through the tree line with one foot on the lake's surface Jack stumbled upon something, looking at his feet he saw a slack rope lying on the floor, realisation dawned on him only seconds before a tree fell towards him. Dodging the crushing blow of the tree Jack skidded out onto the ice, stopping short of the centre of the lake.
A series of creeks and groans could be heard as trees began to fall around the tree line around the lake, ultimately blocking Jack within the ring. Where trees could not block an exit thick nets did and branches did.
That wasn't the worst of Jack problems as Albert unleashed the second part of his plan, an array of arrows flew at Jack taking him off guard. Acting on instinct he used the wind to block the arrows, including the second and third round that were quick to follow, each leaving Jack with little time to recover. Albert growled furious that he was unable to hit the target, before he moved onto another weapon for his plan. Hoping this one would work he released it and watched the results play out before him.