Chapter 3: Introductions
He watched as she fell suddenly but he was unable to help her, it was all too fast, one second she was running towards her parents the next she was falling to the floor. The second after she hit the floor Jack rushed to her side inspecting her for any injury; only a tiny cut was visible on her forehead as he held her in his arms. She was so frail, so small he was afraid that just holding her would some how break her.
The sound of fast approaching feet stated that her parents had heard her cries for in seconds they were at her sides, it was then that he felt empty, they never acknowledged him kneeling there, the never saw his hand wrap protectively around hers as she was moved to her father's lap. They never heard him when he tried to speak to them, it really was like being invisible and it hurt, he felt like it hurt more than it should after all this family were strangers to him, right? So why, would his heart be banging against his chest screaming for the couple to notice him?
Every question went unanswered as he watched the family head home unaware that Jack Frost was following, once of twice when he stepped on a branch the mother would spin around her eyes searching for something unseen, she never saw him standing there.
The father would say that it was the wind or that it was winter every time he stood close by trying to catch their attention. He tried everything, he would block their paths, wave his arms and call out asking if they could hear him, but still they never acknowledged his presence.
They arrived back at the town after a brisk walk home, many men and women were waiting around the small house, when the couple came through the trees a collective sigh of relief filled the air, this family sure was popular.
The families were dismissed by the father who thanked them for their help and hoped that they would have a safe journey home and that they could visit in the morning. The fact that it was almost night fall made Jack wonder just where did the time go? They couldn't have been on that lake all day could they? If so wasn't Annabeth freezing it was a surprise that she hadn't shown signs of it earlier, maybe that had something to do with how little response she gave?
One thing was for sure Jack was going to stay with until she got better or until she told him to get lost which ever came first really. Jack watched from Annabeth's window as her parents put the child to bed several quilts and a large warm fire in the fire place. He was beginning to feel the heat from outside but then again the windows did let a lot of cold air in during the winter.
Jack was thankful the house was all on one floor is saved him the effort of climbing the walls. He watched as Annabeth slept that night every o often she would mumble and each time Jack would strain to hear it, he had a powerful urge to go in a sit by her bed to stay awake though the night to comfort her in her sleep.
His promise to watch her never ended as one day became two and two days became a week, soon two weeks went by before Annabeth began to show signs of recovery, Jack was delirious, he had been sat outside her window for days praying for a miracle and finally he got one.
Annabeth had finally opened her eyes to see her mother sitting besides her she smiled weakly before drifting back off into a dreamless sleep, the second time she awoke it had been for a while longer, she had managed to eat something. A couple of days later she showed signs of a full recovery she was still confined to her bed by her father though, who stated that if she needed anything for her to call.
Annabeth had nodded in agreement before her eyes trailed over to the window where something had moved. Once her parents left her room she climbed out of bed and opened the window only to be greeted by the white haired teen.
"Hi." She greeted, smiling as she moved away from the window allowing him access into her room. Her mind scolded her for doing so stating that he was a stranger, but her heart shushed her mind and welcomed Jack in.
Jack laughed nervously before climbing into her room the same thoughts going though his mind. "How are you feeling?" He finally dared ask.
Annabeth laughed slightly "Okay I guess." Before anything else could be said the mother walked into the room.
"Annabeth why is the window open?" She asked walking over to close it oblivious to Jack who moved closer to the bed to allow the woman past.
For a moment Annabeth couldn't understand why her mother couldn't see Jack, "Mom," she spoke gaining the woman's attention. "Have you met Jack?" She asked gesturing to the white haired by the head of her bed. The mother stared at the space for a moment.
"Anna sweetheart, there's no one there." Her mother said gently. Annabeth was shocked she looked to Jack for an explanation but he looked as just as confused as her and slightly sad.
"But mom, he's standing right there. How can you not see him?" Annabeth asked gesturing wildly to the open space. Jack sighed shaking his head in defeat.
"Annabeth, she can't see me." He stated as a matter of fact.
"B-But I can see you?" Annabeth questioned herself was it real or was it all in her head? She didn't notice her mother's fearful looks as she watched her daughter talk to an empty space.
"Annabeth, there's no one there." Her mother stated her voice becoming firm, Annabeth was about to speak when a light knocking began at the door. "Come in." The mother said her voice loosing its edge.
"Is everything okay in here?" The father asked walking in. Instead of answering both women just nodded as he man sighed slightly, "Good, cause I have a surprise of Annabeth." He smiled as he watched Annabeth's face light up, he moved away from the door before a four kids around Annabeth's age flooded into the small room.
They went straight to the bed, pleased with the sight both parents left the room. "So when are you able to come back outside?" The only male twelve year old asked, his green eye brightening with hope. The three girls nodded in agreement.
Annabeth laughed, "Maybe tomorrow?" She asked unsure, she was feeling a lot better, and she wanted to play in the snow before it melted for Spring.
Jack watched from near the window, his previous spot by the bed taken by the little boy with black hair, a girl with blonde hair and brown eyes, two identical girl stood on the other side of the bed, their brown hair platted behind them, their sapphire eyes a light with the joy of seeing their friend.
The conversation about activities to do outside finally ended as the room was filled with an awkward silence. The boy coughed to clear his throat before timidly speaking, "Where's Jack?" His question was met by a swift punch from the blonde girl as she glared at him. "What?" He asked rubbing his sore arm, "Everyone's thinking it."
"Mommy said that we weren't allowed to talk about Jack." One of the twins spoke up.
"Why not?" The boy asked ignoring the blonde girl's glares. They hadn't noticed that Annabeth's eyes were filling with tears at the mention of her brother, had they really forgotten to tell her friends about what happened?
Her thoughts were interrupted by the conversation, "Mommy said that he's gone to visit our grandparents." The twin spoke, the other nodded.
"Really? My mom said he went to some place called heaven?" The blonde spoke. Annabeth shook her head her mother had also said that Jack had gone to heaven but how could he if his body was still in the lake?
Annabeth decided to change topics but she didn't know what until she saw Jack leaning against the window, "Hey I want to introduce you all to someone." The small chatter stopped as they all looked to her.
Everyone was watching her patiently, Annabeth moved her gaze from her friends to Jack, "Well he's currently standing by the window." Everyone turned to look only for the same confused expression to appear on their faces as it had her mother's not moments ago.
"No one's there." The boy spoke.
Annabeth silently panicked, "No there is maybe you just can't see him." She tried.
"Well what does he look like then?" The blonde girl asked eyeing the space wearily. Annabeth knew it was a good question so when she looked at Jack a sad thought was pushed into her mind. After all he was wearing a similar outfit to her brother; in fact all he was missing was the boots. His facial appearance held an identical match to his now that she thought about it the only difference was the skin colour Jack was as pale as snow where as her brother had the same rosy complexion that she did. Then there was his eyes and hair the stark white completely different to her brother's warm brown just like his eyes, they were so warm so loving, but Jack's they were cold the ice blue sparkled with life but they weren't the familiar ones she loved.
No this wasn't her brother despite how almost identical they were, her brother was warm and she always felt safe when he was near but Jack. Well he was the opposite he was freezing his touch was like ice it hurt almost every time their skin touched, she felt slightly safe near him but mostly she felt cautious after all she had just met him.
"Well." The blonde spoke pushing Annabeth for answers.
Annabeth sighed, "He has white hair, blue eyes and pale skin." She said smiling at Jack.
"He sounds weird." The girl replied.
"I think he sounds cool." The boy spoke up. Annabeth laughed as she watched Jack take in the comments, he was sending a soft glare to Lilly the girl with blonde hair.
"What do you two think of him?" Lilly asked the twins.
"He does sound odd, but we've been told that appearances don't matter." She paused letting her words sink into her friends. "Is he friendly?" She suddenly asked.
Jack grinned, "Of course I am." He said though he knew that only Annabeth could hear him.
"Well what's he wearing?" Lilly asked.
"Clothes." The boy stated. Lilly glared at him while everyone else laughed.
"I meant what kind of clothes genius." She said hitting the boy again.
Annabeth stopped laughing before speaking, "You know just the normal kind you find teenage boys wearing around here, pants, a shirt, a waistcoat and a shawl."
"What about shoes? Aren't his feet cold?" Lilly asked. Jack was beginning to wonder as to why she had so many questions.
"He's not wearing any." Annabeth stated simply. Lilly rolled her eyes she didn't believe any of this.
A giggle caught their attention the twin that hadn't spoken a word was suddenly laughing. "What's wrong Sue?" Her sister asked.
"He looks funny." Sue replied. Confusion danced across everyone's face as the little girl began to laugh even more. Jack and Annabeth shared a questioning look before looking back at Sue. "What's your name?" This caught Jack's attention as he pointed to himself. "Yes you." she laughed.
"Um…Jack." He said still not sure if the girl could see him.
"You have the same name as Anna's brother." Sue laughed. The entire room was quiet.
"You can see him?" Annabeth asked looking at Sue a smile on her face.
"Yeah just like you." Sue smiled. Before Sue could say anything else the door opened revealing Annabeth's father.
"Alright you four it's time to leave. I'm sure your parents will let you visit tomorrow." The man stated as a collective moan swept through the room, the visiting children began filing out the room saying their goodbyes as they left.
Lilly stopped before the man before saying "You might want to tell Jack to leave, he apparently by the window." With that said the little girl left waving back at her friend who had climbed under the covers.
The father looked to Annabeth who was smiling as she lay down, she hadn't realised just how tired she was, or how cold the room was beginning to feel. Looking to the window the father saw nothing with a sigh he walked over to his daughter's bed, just what had she been telling her friends. He silently wondered if she was making up stories about her brother being there, or maybe he was there, he just wasn't sure. He hoped that if he was there that his son would protect Annabeth just like he had weeks ago.
"Get some rest dear." He said kissing her forehead, he turned to leave the room looking once again to the window, for a second he saw a white haired figure of a teenaged boy, but with couple of blinks to make sure he wasn't seeing things the figure was gone. Thinking nothing of it he left the room.
Jack looked to the roaring fire before studying his hands and the one that still held the branch. Sighing he opened the windows before climbing out then shutting them quietly. Annabeth was sound asleep the chill that was gathering disappeared as Jack left the room leaving the fire to warm it up again.
Jack never left the window he stood there watching as the child slept a smile creeping onto her face. "Get well soon." He whispered.