Chapter 7: Hope
Jack had felt the burning impact the arrow had on his back just blow his heart he was lucky an inch higher and it would have killed him. His body had fallen limp after that moving caused too much pain there was also the fear of accidentally piercing his heart with the arrow currently lodged in him.
The ice under him was thin but being a winter spirit it didn't crack it was like he was a snowflake his weight not even felt, he was thankful there was something about the dark icy water below him that scared him, falling in was a big no.
Just as he pushed thought of the ice ever cracking it did so behind him, his pursuer was trying to get closer to him he guessed, he gulped he had forgotten him the moment his head began spinning before he collided with the ice, how could he have been so stupid it was why he was hurt in the first place.
Judging by the fact that the ice was no longer groaning and the water had once again stilled that he was safe out on the ice. Before that thought could sink in he remembered the arrows.
Annabeth's father reached back to grab an arrow only to learn that there was none, he cursed loudly, fortunately Jack was facing the opposite way otherwise he would have seen the teen smile slightly.
He then thought that due to the freak snow storm he wouldn't have been able to get a clear shot at the spirit anyways, the thought of the spirit's dying life and the snow storm being connected came to mind. It was possible after all the child was a winter spirit.
There had to be a way to destroy the winter demon, there just had to be. Annabeth's father began pacing at the lake edge, before ultimately he sat down on a near by rock and watched the spirit with a hate filled gaze.
He ignored the warmth that was quickly draining from his body if anyone was going to die it was the teen. He got to watch though the white blurry snow screen as the teen's wounds slowly seeped with blood, dark patches already forming. Time was the factor left of the two fighters, who would live and who would die?
Annabeth was starting to drift off when the staff pulsed blue weakly, she sighed, it wanted Jack but she had no idea how to find him, there was a blizzard outside and she knew she couldn't last long in it.
Finally something snapped she had to do something there was no other option, no other possibility, something had to be done. Pulling on her winter clothes Annabeth silently made her way out of her room, staff in hand.
Upon entering the living room she froze, her mother red eyed was asleep in the chair, was this, what she looked like when she and Jack vanished weeks ago? Silently the child promised to be back.
The small question of her father's where about sprung to mind but she pushed it aside for now. Opening the front door she walked out into the blizzard, the door closing with a soft click behind her.
Annabeth's mother never stirred, but the house became eerily quiet, something wasn't right about this situation and there was a slight pity for the woman who could possibly end up being completely alone. She had no idea that her entire family was out in the blizzard and that two of them were facing a death sentence.
Annabeth struggled though the storm praying for a miracle to lead her to Jack, she got one as she staff slowly began to pulse as she continued to walk, the bark becoming colder with each step towards Jack and unknowingly her father.
He sat there freezing watching the winter spirit's life slowly leave with his blood that was beginning to form under him its reddish purple colour turning black as it froze on the ice.
Both of them were dying there was no hiding that, but Annabeth's father had a chance if only the storm were to stop. He doubted it, the storm was probably his punishment for trying to kill the boy in the first place.
Jack gripped to his life with all the strength he could muster something screamed at him not to let go just yet. Thoughts of Annabeth flooded his mind as he fought against the blackness that was trying to burry him.
The normal voice that told Jack not to give up was interrupted by a new yet faintly familiar one, "Help is coming." Was all it said before it left Jack alone with his thoughts of Annabeth, he hoped he made it though this he wanted nothing more than to see the child smile.
Annabeth had been walking for what felt like forever, her legs ached and everything was numb, ice was starting to form on her clothes and exposed skin, it's stinging pain long gone.
Unable to see though the white blurred world she stumbled often on roots that had yet to be covered by snow, a few times she had fallen but she continued to get back up. If she got to Jack then he would be able to stop the storm and she wouldn't have to worry about freezing to death in the middle of nowhere.
An unseen hill and the sudden bright light of the staff caused her to fall to the ground where she skidded out onto the lake. Looking up she spotted Jack lying in what she guessed was blood. She was about to run to him when someone called out her name, she turned around to see her father standing at the lake edge just a few feet from her.
She looked back and forth to the two males, her father wasn't going to last longer in the storm and she doubted she could either, looking at Jack her heart broke just like it had for her brother the sudden urge to run to him latched onto her mind. "Jack." She whispered subconsciously stepping towards the teen.
Annabeth's father noticed her slowly inching towards the teen, "Annabeth!" He called over the wind, she looked at him her face pale and blue from the cold, her eyes the only warmth but it was faded and pleaded. But that's not what caused his mind to freeze it was her look, the same look she had when he found her at the lake where his son died.
He guessed that all of this was bringing back unwanted memories, especially when a teen posing as her brother's almost identical twin laid half dead in the middle of the lake.
The middle of the lake, just like Jack, Annabeth thought as she glanced over to the immortal teen, a wave of determination and love forced her to move towards him despite her father telling her to come back onto solid ground.
Since she couldn't save her brother Jack from drowning, she would make sure she could save her friend Jack from dying in a similar way. Slowly she inched towards the teen her eyes watching the snow covered ice, it sounded thin as it groaned as she crept across it but she had no way to know for sure, at least not without putting herself in danger.
Jack listened as someone approached, who ever it was they were in danger, the ice was too thin near him to support any weight, it would crack and they would both be sent under. Not wanting that he struggled to turn to see who approached, ignoring the screams of his wounds.
Annabeth watched as Jack moved to see her, he was now lying on his stomach most likely as to not disturb the arrow, and she had finally noticed it and she recognised it immediately as her father's. Turning she glared at him, how dare he do this to her friend. He was glaring at her but he was also worried, mostly likely because he didn't want her to meet the same fate as she brother.
Jack watched as Annabeth approached staff in hand, she started to hold it out towards him despite her father telling her not to. Slowly he reached for it.
Just as his hand was about to brush against the iceless wood a heart stopping crack filled the air, then everything happened so quickly he was thankful that adrenaline slowed it down in order to react.
"Jack!" Annabeth screamed as she was plunged into the icy water, her father cried out from shore and Jack wasted no time in reaching in after her, she hadn't fallen far. His top half was under water as he grabbed hold of his staff the blue shinning brightly before vanishing.
Thankfully Annabeth had a death grip hold on his staff as he pulled it and her up to the surface. Once she was in arms reach he took hold and pulled her up with more force, his back in agony.
Annabeth had screamed for help though she hadn't realised which Jack she had called to for help until she was under the surface, she had called to her brother, not her friend next to her. She wondered if they would be able to tell the difference. She hoped so otherwise it would be an awkward story to tell her friend.
Jack had Annabeth on the surface the thin ice beginning to crack again from her weight, using the staff he froze the ice over, careful not to freeze Annabeth. He looked at Annabeth though the snow filled air, he wished that it would stop it was doing more harm than good for his friend.
As if on cue the snow stopped allowing Jack a clear view at the girl in his arms, Annabeth's father watched anxiously from the lake edge, the spirit had saved his daughter, or at least he hoped he saved her.
Annabeth began to cough up water her brown eyes flickering with life as she looked at Jack; she smiled before hugging him silently thanking him for saving her. She felt him wince as she hands brushed against the arrow, a devilish smile curled onto her lips.
Carefully Annabeth lightly gripped the arrow, having not disturbed it from it's place in Jack's back she pulled and pulled hard. The wooden object came out with purplish red blood staining by several inches.
Jack had screamed of course it was only natural, his ice eyes looking to Annabeth who in reply showed him the arrow. He sighed guessing he should be thankful as it saved him the task, but now he was faced with another, he had lost a lot of blood and with the arrow gone he would loose it faster.
Annabeth stood slowly her grip on Jack tightening as he shakily rose to his feet, the pair then began to creep across the ice to the man waiting at the edge.
He watched as his daughter and the teen approached his mind was torn in two, one half told him to destroy the spirit while the other told him to help Annabeth. The twelve year old stood before him her brown eyes pleading for her father's help.
It seemed that everyone was in pain for when the father moved closer to Jack his limbs cried out in protest, Jack took a step back as the man approached, he didn't want the man responsible for his spinning head anywhere near him. Annabeth sighed this was going to take a lot of convincing, her arms ached as she supported her friend, the numbness making it harder to hold on, she feared that he could slip from her grasp at any moment.
For a minute no one moved, they just stood staring at the each other waiting for someone to move first. Finally Annabeth did but not in the way her father hoped, her legs gave out as she and Jack fell to the floor with a loud thud. Annabeth's father was by her side in a second supporting her head, weakly the child clung to her father's shirt her gloved hands lost of all feeling.
Jack struggled to sit himself up he had to get Annabeth inside before she froze to death, the night air was dropping as it approached midnight. There had to be way to get Annabeth and her father home before they fell to the cold.
Annabeth's father watched as the white haired teen slowly got to his feet, he resisted the urge to attack him as he pulled Annabeth closer, she was colder than he was and that scared him. Her wet hair was starting to freeze over as she shook in his arms.
Jack looked at the two and after a quick hesitation he offered out his hand, the man looked at it and was about to ignore Jack completely when the teen pulled weakly at the man's coat. Annabeth's father glared as he got to his feet Annabeth still in his arms.
He sighed outwardly, the walk home would take hours and he wasn't sure if they'd make it, he hoped they would for the sake of his wife and daughter who were struggling to stay awake.
The immortal teen watched as his friend and her father walked away from him, he sighed. Looking at his staff he silently wondered if this increased his power then was it the reason he was sped through the forest days ago.
He decided to test this, praying that it worked he began to walk forward his speed increasing as the staff glowed slightly. He was next to Annabeth and her father in seconds, grabbing the man tightly by his arm Jack increased his speed unaware that he was lifting higher off the ground than before.
Annabeth's father gave out a startled yelp as trees began to blur past, he looked to the teen who was concentrating hard on his current task. Slowly he looked to the floor he was flying several inches above the snowy ground.
It had taken several minutes for Jack to arrive at the house before he landed, the landing didn't go smoothly and the trio was sent to the ground. Jack shook the snow off of him as he looked to Annabeth safe in her father's arms. He smiled before the blackness he felt back at the lake descended upon him.
Annabeth's father watched as Jack fell to the floor looking like his entire life was about to leave him. With restricted movements he walked over to the teen, before he could fully approach the front door of his house opened the warmth filling the air as he soaked it in.
Annabeth's mother had awoken not long after her daughter had left and she had been looking out of the window ever since waiting for her family to return. She had been surprised when a white haired boy had swept in dragging his half frozen family with him.
Wasting no time she dashed to the door, flinging it open she looked to her husband who had begun to approach the unconscious boy. "Leave him." She spoke walking towards her husband, "Just get Annabeth inside, you both need to warm up." She stated pointing to the door, her anger leaving her as she took in her daughter's shaking form.
Once her family was inside she directed her attention to the teen, she silently wondered if this was the boy that Annabeth had been talking about. She noted that he looked a lot like her son, and maybe it was for that reason or the fact that he saved her family but she brought him inside.
Headed straight for the only spare bed available she headed to Jack's room. Laying the teen down she inspected the damage, he was bleeding from both his back and leg, an arrow still lodged into the wound on his leg.
"First thing's first." She said to herself before removing the other arrow. After cleaning the exposed wound on his leg she bandaged it before moving to his back. Though to do so she had to turn him on his side, the loud clatter of his staff hitting the floor spooked her for a second. Shrugging it off she got back to the task, taking off the boy's cloak she saw that the waistcoat and shirt were covered in blood, they were next to leave.
She didn't have time to admire the slightly familiar body as she cleaned the wound before bandaging that to. Since Jack was a heartbreaking match of her son she pulled out some of her son's clothes for him to wear.
First was a white shirt, she ignored the coldness of his skin as she pulled the shirt over his head, the memory of dressing her own son played in her mind as she fastened on another waistcoat this one more worn looking than the last. Instead of putting on another cloak she left it folded at the end of the bed.
For her final task in that room before tending to her daughter she lit the fire place hoping to warm the teen up, seeing that there was little wood in the fire place she threw on the blood stained clothes, they weren't needed and the purplish red blood looked to challenging to try and remove.
As the room began to warm up she left to check on Annabeth and her husband she hoped that they were under several blankets with a fire going. She sighed as she walked knowing that that wouldn't be the case, after all her husband wasn't too good when dealing with sick children and himself at the same time.