Chapter 6: Family

A fierce wind had picked up and was now packing quiet a punch, loud whistles blew through the cracks in Annabeth's window, she was currently sat on her bed watching the blizzard rage outside.

The small girl's hands shook as she held onto the staff that was no longer covered in frost, she had refused to let go of it praying that her friend would come to reclaim it. Her mother had left an hour after she had woken up both unsure of what to say anymore.

A sigh escaped her as she fell back onto her bed, she was fretting about Jack see hadn't seen him since she hit her head.

Annabeth's mother was currently sat in front of the dying fire, her husband was nowhere to be found, she sighed again and waited for a sign that her husband was coming back. After all she couldn't bear to loose anyone else, but this winter everyone was loosing someone most of them being children.

Her mind wondered as she thought about the boy Annabeth had spoken about, was he behind all this? She hoped not otherwise her daughter was in terrible danger. A strong flicker from the fire as the wind rushed down the chimney, Annabeth's mother held the blanket around her more tightly. Whistles of the strong winds could be heard throughout the house, she didn't have to look out the window to know a blizzard was storming outside.

Instead the mother cast her mind to a far off memory one that brought sorrow but also a trace of happiness.

"You can't catch me!" The brown haired boy yelled running away from a young golden haired woman. He laughed as he ran the lady laughing to as she half heartedly chased him around the clearing.

Her son's laughter filled the air as she grabbed him pulling before pulling them both to the floor where she tickled him. "I give up!" He yelled between breaths. She realised him and just as quick he was on his feet his laughter warming her heart as she sat up to watch him. "You cheated." He stated his laughter slowly but still there along with his familiar smile.

The mother was about to protest when a loud male voice sounded in the clearing, "Women always cheat my boy!" The man called over. The accused woman spun around from her seat to see her husband walk through the line of trees, a smiled covered her face as she rose to her feet.

"Daddy!" The boy cried rushing over to the man who dropped his bag before picking up his son.

The fire popped loudly startling her woman out of her memories; she smiled sadly as she settled further into the chair. With a sigh she ran a hand through her hair before glancing at the door, nothing, another sigh she let her head rest against the soft fabric.

Laughter filled the air as she watched her son run around the open area his father right behind him. The chase became a pile up as the man faked giving up before falling to the ground facing the sky, the brown haired boy was quick with his attack as he leapt on top of the man, a tickle fight ensured the father being victorious as the child succumbed to a fit of giggles.

She watched the event before sighing she had made dinner and now it was getting cold, walking over she towered over the two males, "Are my little mischief makers finished." She said while trying desperately to keep as smile off her face.

Her husband sat up blocking her view of her son, he laughed before pushing himself to his feet before picking up the child. The trio entered the nearby house where they began to eat the food placed upon the table.

As the conversation between the married couple continued the boy turned his head to the window as a large smile lighting up his face as he saw something fall past the window.

"Autumn is here!" He cheered startling the adults before him; they cast their glances outside to see another leaf fall past. They smiled as the father ruffled his son's hair before continuing to talk to his wife.

Annabeth's mother smiled to herself Jack had always loved the changing of the season, at the end of every season he'd wait for something to show him that the next season was starting, he'd look for blooming flowers in the melted snow at the end of Winter, he watch as Spring flowers were replaced by Summer's the heat warming the air and days lasting longer. At the end of summer he'd look for falling leaves waiting anxiously to pile them up in order to create the highest leaf pile in history, though that dream was often ruined when the temptation to jump in said piles were so irresistible. Then finally winter he'd wait and wait just to see the first snowflake fall from the sky.

It was the middle of spring and her husband was out hunting, it was his job after all but she couldn't shift the worry that settled into her heart every time he left. She was currently knitting a scarf the warm weather was coming but she wanted to be prepared for winter after all Jack kept loosing all the scarf's that she knitted for him. Not only was she knitting extra scarf's but she was knitting some baby clothes as well, she was due soon and everyone was excited especially Jack, he couldn't wait to meet his new brother or sister and teach them everything he knew.

Her eyes wondered over to the boy who was currently asleep in the other chair he had been helping her keep the house clean before he tried knitting, obviously the child had grown tried of the task as it was now hanging from hand the needles already on the floor.

A few days later a beautiful baby girl was born, Jack had sat next to his mother when he was allowed into the room, and he watched the sleeping form of his sister in his mother's arms. His parent's softly debating the name of their new offspring. The constant names to appear were Anna and Beth both being the names of past family relatives, the decision to have both names in the girls name quickly became which was her first name? Jack thought for a moment, he liked both names equally and to him they both sounded like great middle names. His sister was lucky she would end up with Anna or Beth as her middle name where as he had Overland.

He had asked his parents about it when he learned it they replied that it was his great, great grandfathers name. A sigh escaped him his sister was going to be the luckiest child in the world after all she had his wonderful parents to protect her just like they protected him but she also had him for an older brother, and he would cherish her like she was the air itself.

"Annabeth." Jack whispered earning both parents to look at him. "Annabeth." He repeated, it was silently decided Annabeth would be the new family member's name.

Annabeth twirled the staff in her hands the wood feeling strange with the groves that the frost had etched in were felt running up and down it. She watched as the snow storm became so heavy all that could be seen was a blurry white wall, the wind whistled through the cracks again.

Hugging herself close she wished for her brother's comfort he wasn't scared of the noises the wind made coming through the cracks, he welcomed them as he often said that without the wind you wouldn't be able to see the snowflakes acrobat through the sky as they fell towards the floor.

Slowly she began to drown out the wind as she remembered something her brother had taught her.

"Look Annabeth!" Jack pointed to a snowflake the white tiny ice flake falling in graceful dizzying movements, Jack reaches up and catches the tiny snowflake in his glove. They stare at it for a while before a strong gust of wind carries it away.

Annabeth's lips frown as she looses the snowflake to a cluster of others, "Don't worry sis." Jack says placing his small hand on the six year olds shoulder. "There are thousands of snowflakes." He says as he reaches up into the sky as the wind blows the snowy air around him. Annabeth giggles as several become trapped in her brother's hair. Moments later they're called inside for bed both unwillingly comply before heading to their rooms.

That night a strong blizzard kept the little girl awake, her parents had long been asleep unaffected by the winter weather. Tears fell from her eyes as she buried her head under her pillow in hopes of blocking out the awful wind. It was hopeless nothing she tried was working and her mind was begging for sleep it was the reason she laid there crying her inability fall asleep stressing her out, she feared that come morning she'd be too tired to play with Jack in the snow and she didn't want that.

Another exhausted cry filled the room as the wind blew stronger past her window. The noise of both the wind and her tears made it impossible to hear the door creak open as another small figure stood there.

Slowly he headed over to his sisters bed before climbing on startling the child. She spun around to face him her sleepy eyes expressing everything she wanted to say aloud. Jack held Annabeth close as she cried into his chest she was beyond tired, it was only by a depressed feeling that Jack had been pulled invisibly to his sisters room, he was thankful for the silent informant that said that his sister needed his help.

He sat there rubbing her back until she calmed enough to look at him; she smiled sadly at her brother before looking at the bed sheets. Jack sighed he hated seeing his sister depressed, smiling he thought of an idea to fix it. "How about we play a game?" He spoke softly. Annabeth nodded still upset and to tired to really respond.

"Okay here are the rules. One it has to be a yes or no question." Annabeth looked at him curiously. "Two, no cheating." He said as he tickled Annabeth causing her to giggle a smile replacing her frown. "And three no repeating any already asked questions." He smiled, "First one to ten wins." He stated. Annabeth was confused she didn't know if Jack had said how they scored if he did she didn't catch him saying it.

"How do we score points?" She asked timidly, Jack smiled.

"I'm glad you brought that up sis, for you see, for every wind that whistles through past the window is an answer." Annabeth was confused and Jack laughed lightly at her expression. "Okay. So, we listen to the wind." He paused and listened, a strong gust of wind blew past. "Then we think on what the wind sounded like." He paused making sure she was following this her nodding her was all he needed to continue, "Then the other asks a question. For example, is it an owl?" He used his hands to show that he didn't know. "If I was thinking that the wind sounded like an owl you would get the point. Does that make sense?" He asked his sister nodded smiling. "Okay then. Let's begin." He smiled. "You first."

The pair listened to the wind howl; Annabeth nodded signalling that she had thought of something, Jack pondered on it for a moment before answering, "Dad?" He asked, Annabeth laughed. "I'll take that as a no." He said smiling.

Several guesses later and Annabeth's eyes were beginning to drop the wind had blown by several times and her brother was trying to use them to help figure out his sisters imitation.

Finally Annabeth laid back her brother lying next to her, she continued to shake her head at his wrong answers, she laughed at a few the one's that clearly weren't able to sound like the wind.

Slowly both children began to fall asleep the answer forgotten as peaceful dreams filled their heads.

Annabeth smiled. "It was the wind Jack." She whispered, she remembered him guessing everything other than what it was but at least he had helped her to sleep that night. Ever since then if she couldn't sleep because of the wind she would go to Jack's room and they would continue their game until they fell asleep next to each other, the scary bellows of wind forgotten as they laid in each others company.

As the memory came to an end she was no longer fearing the loud gust of wind outside her window, but instead continuing to change them into different sounds just like Jack had taught her. Another memory formed in her mind as she made out the sound of an owl.

It had been autumn and her father was about to set off, Jack was also getting ready but when she had tried to ask her mother as to why they were packing her mother replied by saying that it was something to do with father and son bonding.

She had gone up to her brother just as he finished putting on boots, "Where are you going?" She asked, Jack being Jack smiled at his sister before replying.

"Dad says that I get to join him on his trip into the forest today." He said, he noticed that Annabeth was frowning slightly, "Hey, when I get back do you want to play in the leaves?" He asked. Annabeth's head snapped up as she began nodding vigorously.

Their father came through the door seconds later, "Ready to go Jack?" The man asked. Jack nodded hoping off his bed before hugging his sister and headed out. At the forest edge he waved back at his mother and sister in the doorway before starting his journey into the dying woods.

Throughout the day Jack helped his father hunt small prey he even got to try it a couple of times. Though his first try at the bow had been horrid the arrow had flown into the tree tops and much to his amazement a dead squirrel fell from the impact area seconds later.

Jack had also learned how to move through the forest effectively without stumbling over hidden root and branches, this was harder than trying to shoot a bow and arrow but his father had promised that it would get easier over time.

Annabeth's father smiled at the memory of his bonding time with his son but he was curious as to why that memory had suddenly ambushed him. Sighing he looked back at the winter spirit a smile formed on his face.

Just as he stepped onto the ice he heard it groan from the pressure, ignoring what him mind was telling him he began to walk out onto the ice, until a large crack forced him to step back onto solid ground.

Looking back at the spirit who was in the middle of the lake he cursed slightly, another idea came to mind there was always another way to finish off an enemy. With a determined sigh he reached behind to grab an arrow to ready his bow for the final strike. This time he would end the spirits life for good.

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