The Art of Being Okay

Chapter 3

Letter: To Guardian and Rise, Sincerely, The Government

Guardian and Rise Cooperation's,

While we are appreciative of the work you are doing for today's children, we would like to inform you that it is entirely unnecessary. Despite my predecessor allotting you funds, as well as the ability to make offers of scholarships, I find myself disliking this policy.

We are currently in the middle of an economic crisis, and simply don't have time to squander on frivolous activities, such as your silly writing program. While you do get funding from previous pupils and writers of yours, due to the enormous amount of money this project is generating, we, the IRS, have decided to revoke your tax exempt status.

This is because you are receiving and spending money from and for nonbusiness related activities, such as: paying for scholarships and agents, earning money from Man in Moon Publications, and money being given to your personal accounts.

We have searched through your bylaws, and then through your statement to define exactly which ways you may earn money. You're focus is entirely on educating and helping publish new writers, making many of the current funding you are receiving and the directions that you are allotting these funds almost criminal.

Due to this oversight entirely on your part, we are suing you for tax evasion and freezing your accounts.

We, the IRS, apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Pitch Black

Head of Tax Department


There is a heavy, pregnant pause after North finishes reading the letter.

"Cookie?" one of North's midgets popped up holding a tray of cookies in one hand and a bottle of champagne in the other, "Or champagne?"

No one really answered, or spared a glance for the midget with the tray other than Jack. It's the seventh midget Jack has seen so far and it's got enough champagne for everyone to have three glasses. There are thirty seven cookies. Nice of North, Jack thought, before stepping away from the midget.

North was an odd fellow. A hefty Russian with a strong accent he'd kept from childhood, despite moving to Canada when he was five.

Most people tended to blame North on Canada. The large man, despite carrying large, old fashioned swords in various offices around Guardian and in most rooms of his house, was the jolliest of people, always looking out for love and seeing the beauty of the world.

North, also, was odd in that almost nobody called him Nicholas, and nobody called him Nick. It was always North, which was as good a name as any, if a little questionable at times.

Such as, when using a compass or a map or getting lost hiking. All of which North has done many times. Practically, this is why he now only camps or hikes or travels with Russians.

Finally, nearing his sixties, North was aging. He even had the full white beard!

Nonetheless, nothing stopped him from doing anything. Case and point: he'd started life as a landscaper (a glorified gardener – but stay away from the sword rooms, if you ever wanted to tell him that) before transitioning into a film director and finally, head of a nonprofit writing organization.

And he'd brought his midgets with him. Genuine, bona fide midgets. Employed everywhere with in Guardian. Midgets and Russians. That only spoke Russian. And could give North a run for his money in terrifying size.

These were also known, by a very limited group of people, as North's camping buddies.

Beyond that, the Russians made very good bodyguards and tended to scare the shit out of new writers until said writers were forced to get used to them.

Around North, you were forced to get used to a lot of things.

After about a minute of stunned silence, everyone began to speak at once.

"He's going after my bylaws?!" Tooth was outraged.

"This is utter bullshit. Y'know? Right? Am I right?" Bunnymund was hopping around, nervously.

"Why I am here?" Jack wondered, looking around. Not that he wasn't concerned or anything, he just honestly didn't see it. Taxes. How boring!

"You see? I call you here for reason!" North's boom isn't even enough to drown out the voices off the various controllers of both the Guardian and Rise programs. Technically, that didn't include Sandy, but Sandy had a legal background and was more of a free, ass-kicking, consult.

Sandy is just sitting there, looking distressed.

"Seriously, guys." Jack is waving his hands around. "I don't work here. I don't even know what's going on! I write. That is it."

"We must take arms –" North is reaching for one of his swords.

"Woah, there, mate." Bunnymund hops in front of him. "Look at Tooth."

Tooth was twitching and muttering to herself. She looked on the brink of tears, moving around, with both hands gripping her head and her fingers digging into her temples in way that couldn't not be painful.

The mini editor in Tooth killed itself after that double negative.

Thunk.

Sandy dropped North's Santa paperweight. He crossed his arms.

There was more silence.

This time, Jack interrupted it. "Er, why isn't he, you know, talking?"

"'e's a mime." Bunnymund answered, albeit a tad sarcastically.

"What about the whole," Jack waved his hands around a bit, but everyone looked too amused to help him out. "Make-up and stuff," was what he eventually settled on.

"Bein' a mine isn't a job, 'cording ta him. It's a state ta bein'." Bunnymund snorts, and that's definitely sarcasm.

Sandy glares. Then turns around, scribbles a bit, and holds up a sign.

Is this why you've called us all here north? What is the solution?

"Yeah. This, is why. This is why Jack's here! Jack! You help us, with writing!"

"How? What? Why?"

"Yeah. How's that dingo gonna do what we can't?"

"Jack!" Tooth sequels and hugs him. "I'm so proud of you!"

"Listen, listen." Everyone quiets to a degree. Those not quiet enough were of no consequence because North has this stunning ability to talk over just about anyone. "Jack will write book for children! Book can be dedicated to cause, because Tooth has written that in bylaws. Then, we will have money to fight IRS."

"That's right!" Tooth seems shocked at the memory of doing that. "I did! We can do this! We can fight this! And we can generate the temporary cash flow we need to keep this thing running by selling donated gifts. "

"Only one problem: Jack's just released his latest novel." Bunnymund sardonically points out. The mood, and Tooth's expression, falls.

"It is not problem," North reassures them. "Jack will just write another!"

"Hey, hey. Wait a second. I need the money I get from my books. I'm not rich like you guys. I can't just give up an entire book sale to Guardian."

"None of us are rich, Jack." Tooth looks at him softly.

I am.

"Except Sandy." Bunnymund glared at the laughing little man.

But Bunnymund's earlier comment had brought Tooth back to earth. She sighed. "And even if we could, we would still have to funnel the money as a donation. We need to look like we aren't a sleazy, behind the back company, because that's why they claim they're suing us."

"Basically, we're screwed." Bunny finishes.

The feeling of distress continues, but Jack's future novel is the best idea they've got. It's the only idea they've got, and they've got to make it work. Sandy taps Jack's shoulder and holds up a card.

I will help with money, if you support us.

"I don't," Jack spits out, "Want charity. I don't need it."

"Jack," North said, softly. "It is not charity. It is your due. Look. Look outside. What is out there?"

Jack rolls his eyes. "Sun. Air. Houses. People."

"Children," North breaths.

"Children who can be helped by us," Tooth explains. "Children who need our program. Jack, please?"

Jack still looks like he's going to refuse.

"Have you met Jamie?" Had there been space, Jack would have shook his head. "Wonderful kid. Applying right now. Single mom, deadbeat dad. Bailed when Jamie's sister was born. Beautiful writer. We're going to accept him. We're doing this for people like him, who still remember the magic of movies, the magic of literature, the magic in words. You've got to help us."

Jack looks at the picture of Jamie Tooth had slid over to him during her speech for several long seconds. "Fine. One book. But you've got to give me a couple of months. Because maybe I can't help this program, but I can help you fight for next years. And I get to mentor the kid." Jack tells himself that he doesn't feel a sense of kinship with the boy, that he isn't doing this because he knows what it's like to be abandoned by a father.

"Why?" Bunnymund asks bluntly.

"Don't want you guys – especially you, Kang – screwing it up." Jack replies nonchalantly.

"Excuse me, but how are we goin' to screw him up? Jack, you don't even exist legally, dumbass. You've never show interest before. What's you angle?"

"Bunny!" North sounds appalled.

Jack folds his arms, casually leaning against the wall. "You know what? You're right. I haven't shown interest in your little pet project over here because I was too busy. With an actual job. Earning actual money. Is that even a concept you're familiar with?'

Bunnymund glared at Jack, while Jack only grinned back. "I don't give a crap about you. But I do about these kids, and you're going to give me a damned good reason why the hell you want this."

Taking a step every couple of words to punctuate them, Bunnymund ends up jabbing Jack's chest at the end of his speech.

"Back off, cotton tail. Why do we let him around kids again? I mean, is it really me we're concerned about here?"

There's an awkward silence, until North breaks it, as North in wont to do. "Jack …" He replies carefully.

Sighing, Jack concedes, stepping away from Bunnymund and his own gleeful grin. "I like kids, okay? I raised my sister. And I need money to keep raising her. You guys pay your mentors, right? Obviously, not much, but you pay them, right? So. There's my trade. I'll help you – I'll sacrifice a great deal of money for you guys – but you've got to put out too."

"We're not having sex with you."

"Your loss." Jack smirked at Bunnymund. "Come on, guys! Think, symbiotic, yeah?"

"Okay, Jack. You mentor Jamie. I think this is good for both of you! Now, we celebrate!"

Tooth throws herself at Jack, laughing with joy. It's clear, from the strength at which she hits him, that she had been refraining from doing so for quite a bit.

The hug surprises Jack at first, but Tooth is easy to hug and warm, and then everybody is cheering and breaking out into smiles and Sandy is stealing the midget's Champagne.

It's a lucky break, and it's going to be a hard fight, and they still don't really have a solution, but tonight, they have hope. Hope for next year and hope for themselves and that's enough.

"Tomorrow night," Tooth adds, practically glowing, "you guys can help me go through the bylaws!"

It has to be a feet of magic, how fast everyone loses their cheer at those words.

...


...

Jamie is hanging out with his friends, down by the pool when –

"Cupcake." Kat giggles nervously. "Cupcake's there." Cupcake was large and muscular and kind of scared everyone else. She was mean, too.

"Cupcake's glaring at you."

"Shit, man."

Kat turns around to face her brother. "Claude, watch your language!"

Claude ducks his head, and rolls his eyes. "Sisters, man." The thing about Claude was that even with his gelled up hair and sports shirts, he would never be half as cool as he thought he was. The second thing about Claude was everyone's shock at finding out him and Kat were related. They looked nothing alike.

And like, Jamie didn't even mean that in a racist way, even though Claude was black and Kat totally wasn't.

No one really asked about it anymore, though. Note the anymore, because dumb kids used t' ask 'bout it all the time until Kat and Claude had set them straight.

Kat could punch real well for a girl. Claude punched real bad for girl and frighteningly awful for a guy.

Cupcake turned towards the children holding a book. She was laughing. There was a pause.

Eric, Claude, and Caleb were too busy looking confused to notice the title of the book, but Kat wasn't.

"Oh, my, God!" Kat whispers intensely in Jamie's ear, accidently cutting off the circulation in wrist as she bounced up and down next to him. "Guys! It's Moon Publications new book!" Kat says, louder.

"Huh? Whose it by?" The blond kid with glasses inquires. Jamie thinks that he's exactly the kind of douche that wouldn't just ask stuff, but would have toinquire it instead.

"Jack. Frost!" At first, Kat throws out his name, accompanied by the necessary, single-armed, dramatic gestures. Seconds later, a flash of doubt crosses her face, and she adds an "… I think," no hand gestures.

"W-who?" Jamie's proud of his ability to squeeze that out around the pain of Kat's death grip.

"I'm not sure, actually!" Kat bubbles excitedly. "I think it's some sort of pseudonym. He might not even be a real person!"

Why, Jamie wonders, does that excite her so much? Come to think of it, why does that excite him so much? He's pretty sure normal people aren't excited at the thought of your idols being literally nonexistent.

Kat gets up and walks up to Her. To Cupcake.

"This is a really bad –"

"Aah! Christ! Jesus Christ on a cracker! Jamie! You scared me."

"It's too easy. And that's a weird expression."

"You're weird."

"At least the name Jack Frost doesn't make me hyperventilate."

Kat glares at him. "One of these days, Jamie Bennett …"

"You mean, if you're still alive after asking Cupcake for something? 'Cause that's an adventure! There's danger! Excitement! High chance of death or grievous injury! Let's do it and how dare you try to leave me behind?"

Kat punches his arm. "Because I wanted to read it first."

"Not if I beat you!" Then Jamie is laughing and looking back at Kat and it's really no surprise at all when he runs into Cupcake.

Kat sees the two on the ground, tries to stop and then turn and then falls backwards onto her butt. Onto the ground, too, but also, onto her butt.

Which is, actually, one of the better ways to fall. Or, one of the least painful ways to fall. Good padding and all that, you know. 'Specially if you had a good butt. Saddly Kat? Did not have a good butt.

It was still one of the moat painful slips Kat has ever experienced.

Kat, previously unaware of the hole butt thing, is now enlightened, thanks to experience. She sits there and looks around. Jamie is busy babbling to Cupcake.

"Can I borrow that?" Kat asks from the ground.

"An' – ow – an' I'm real super – OW – sorry an' – ow – an' WHAT?!" Jamie yelps.

Kat winces internally when Cupcake turns and glares at her. Until Cupcake starts to giggle and then laugh at her, bending over and handing Kat the book.

"Thanks." A smile alights on Kat's face. "I'll give it back to you –" but then, she's snorting and tinkering and laughing as well, and Jamie's still on the ground experiencing large quantities of pain, confused, and that somehow makes it all the more hilarious.

"I'll give it back to you by next week," Kat promises, once she's got herself under control.

Cupcake grins. "Don't worry about it." And then walks off.

"Woah." Jamie says from the ground. "What was that?"

"I don't know. There's just … something about Frost's books that I love. Oh, I hope he's a real person!"

"He probably is, y'know. Kind of a weird name to make up for a dude. Like, Jack Frost? What, does he think he's some sort of invisible winter spirit?"

"That what they want us to think, Jamie! Because if it wasn't a real person, they wouldn't want us to know that! So they use an unrealistic name! Basic reverse psychology." Jamie doesn't think Kat has any idea what reverse psychology even is.

"Er," he interrupts, "Why wouldn't they want us to know?"

Kat stares at him, like she can't believe how he's completely missing the obvious. "They're part of the government," she stresses. "They don't want us to know anything."

...


...

Letter: Acceptance to Guardians

Congratulations Jamie! You have been accepted into the Guardian's program for young and up and coming writers! We were impressed by the works we have seen so far, and are excited to see what you'll do in our program.

The Guardians program in a month and a half long summer program that allows young novelist, screen writers, and playwrights to develop their talent and create a draft of their chosen project. Once you have picked your project, you will be assigned a mentor to guide you through the entire program. You will set goals for yourself and attempt to complete your chosen project.

Scholarship and publishing opportunities will be available should you, after the month and a half program, wish to continue with Guardian.

Please respond by July 1, 2013, the start of the program. Good luck!

Nicholas North

Program Leader

Jamie spent the next several minutes gaping at the letter clutched between his fingers. "Mom!" He called. "Mom, I got in!"

Ms. Bennett could be heard clearly in the kitchen, cleaning up, as she hollered back up to Jamie. "That's great, sweetie. I knew you would."

"Wooooooooooo!" Jamie whooped, racing down the stairs, past his mom, and out the door in his delight.

"Zoom, zoom!" Sophie, his younger sister, giggled behind him. Giggling behind him until she fell, at least. Jamie skidded to a stop outside to let his mom know, before continuing his mad dash of joy. DOJ, for short.

"Mom! Sophie fell again!" At least she wasn't crying this time. Sophie cried a lot. Jamie was grateful it was a Sunday and his mom was actually home, because that meant – he didn't have to deal with Sophie's crying! Or falling! Which was, y'know, awesome, obviously.

Once outside, Jamie bumps into Claude and Kat, Claude quite literally. Kat is too busy devouring Jack Frost's new novel to notice him at first, but Jamie doesn't mind.

Jamie clambers off of Claude – ignoring Claude's complaining modes – and lets Kat and Frost slip his mind, running off with Claude. Jamie's hoping they meet up with all his friends and he can tell them about getting into Guardian.

Kat looked up just in time to notice them leaving and decide she didn't care.

...


...

Time passed exceedingly quickly, racing unflinchingly towards the due date as Jamie willed the first few weeks of summer away happily, playing in the pool and running. He'd even read one of Jack Frost's books at Kat's insistence and it was … like, dude, mind totally blown!

Jamie felt, however, in those quiet moments when he wasn't out with his friends or when his mom was working late again, like a constipated old man, getting steadily more constipated.

All the tensions and pressures and worries and – it was work, over summer, alright? – kept building up.

No matter, to extend the constipated simile, how much he wanted to go to the bathroom to take a shit, he couldn't. All those emotions were stuck. Bottled up inside him.

Which meant, now dropping the constipation simile because it's getting a little disgusting here, on July 1st, 2013, Jamie was exploding. He was an utter mess. His emotions were all over the place, jumping up and down one second, begging not to go the next, and moaning about summer while proclaiming his excitement at working with real authors.

This was even more evident when his mom's car pulled up in front of Guardian and Jamie couldn't stop shaking.

The two of them entered the building rather unconfidently. The Guardian's building was a rather intimidating thing. It took a really special (read: cocky, read: Jack) person to enter Guardian confidently.

The building structure twisty and high, covered with lights and colors and banners and music and noise, every single bit of it screaming, "look at me". It had brick patterns going up the side, inlaid ornate windows and huge murals of mythical people and creatures. Rising high above the other buildings in the street, the building, with large, iron-wrought letter's pronouncing it as Guardian's headquarters in the center of the front of the building shadowed over the bad parts of New York.

Contrastingly, the entire building itself seemed light and fantastical, almost a like some kind of floating dreamscape.

The interior of Guardian was a deep, dark red. Inside, there were several pine trees, flowers and bushes around the enormous entry room, and black couches around a fire in the center of the front room. A wintery, practically celebratory feel was given off despite the fact that most of the front entry room looked like a hotel lobby, with the year old magazines and bad free food.

Except, in Guardian, there weren't any magazines, but novels from previous participants in the program and an inordinate amount of cookies carried by happy looking midgets as opposed to bad food.

The effect was one of mixed fearsomeness, openness, and professionalism for the truly odd.

There's a plaque on the floor proclaiming it to be the work of Mr. Sandy Manne, renowned animator.

They'd been there, waiting for about ten minutes and Jamie didn't think he'd shut his mouth yet. But he was too busy being awestruck with wonder to really bother with his mouth, so he couldn't be too sure on that count.

"Excuse me, miss?" Oh, right. They were at Guardian for more than awed silence. Jamie's mom approaches a wild looking woman in the corner.

The woman whom Jamie's mom addresses is short, with long, pleated hair intertwined with feathers and dyed strands of hair. Her skin is bronzed and covered heavily in bright, tropical make-up. Everything about the women seemed to move and glow – from her hair, to her loose and flowing clothes and her pearly whites.

"Nice teeth!" Jamie blurted out, unable to think of anything else to say.

The woman preened. "Gorgeous, aren't they? Now, if you brush and floss, yours can be too." She smiles kindly at him. "What's your name?"

"Jamie Bennett."

"We're here for the program." Jamie's mom announces, loud and exasperated.

The woman laughs. "Of course you are! My name is Toothiana, but you can just call me Tooth. Or Ana. Or Toothiana. Not really that particular. Call me whatever feels the most comfortable to you. It is all about you, really! Now, if you'll follow me, Jamie Bennett, North – Mr. North – is greeting the other participants down the hall. I'm sorry Ms. Bennett, but you won't be able to come with us." It was hard to disagree with Ms. Toothina's sparkling smile.

Jamie's mom turns to him. "I love you. I know you're going to do great." She hugs him. "I'll see you at four-thirty when you get out, alright?"

"Love you too mom. Tell Soph I love her!" Jamie had gotten Kat to watch Sophie while his mom was at work and he was here, so at least he didn't have to worry about her.

Jamie's mom kissed him one last time – to a dismayed "mom!" from Jamie himself – and then left.

Tooth grabbed his hand and led him down the hallway. It seemed, to keep getting longer and longer, but then Jamie blinked and they were there.

Yikes.

...


...

"You are all children from bad neighbors, yes? Because this is what we do. That is what Guardian does. It protects you guys. It provides opportunity! Guardian was originally founded in 1900s, sometime, for film writers," a large Russian man is speaking when Jamie walks in the door.

"Oh, my, God. That's North!" Jamie whispers with reverence. Toothiana nods softly at him. Jamie thinks that Toothiana has the quietest softest nod of anyone he knows. Everyone who knows Tooth doesn't think that anymore, because they know it's true.

North continues, oblivious. "And now, we form bigger organization than ever before! We help all literally aspects. And smaller organization, Rise, helps with the artists! We now split you into groups, okay children?"

He gets a couple of glares for the children remark, both most let it go and agree.

"Okay. Screenwriters, go to next room with David Linsey-Abiare. Playwriters, you stay. Tooth will take care of you. Tooth! You take care of them, right, now? Novelist, you follow me. I keep talking, so listen up!"

Only about ten children left with North, with the largest crowd following behind the David, the smallest staying with Tooth.

"So. Nine. Eh, it is more than the usual! I tell you how this works. This is your group. These are your people for when we do group activities. Yet, you also be assigned mentor." He dips his voice for that part. "The mentor helps only you," he booms, "and," he continues cheerily at a much lower volume, "you spend most your time with them. So," North claps his hand. "I give you name of mentor, and floor."

One by one, all of the children received their instruction and mentors floor.

Jamie received a piece of paper saying "Jack Frost." And "Outside." And "Good luck. :D"

The emocon makes him think Tooth must have written these. That makes him smile. And then the rest of the note hits him. Jack. Frost. He's going to be mentored be Jack Fricking Frost and Kat is so going to flip.

Wait … outside? Where outside? Slowly, Jamie wandered up to Mr. North, waiting until everyone else had their papers.

"Mr. North?"

"Call me North. I insist!"

"North, my paper says my room is outside?"

"Ah, you have Jack! No worries. I call, let him know you are coming."

"Yeah, but where?"

"Where? Outside, of course!"

Jamie let out what might be classified as a huff. "Okay, I know that. But where outside?"

"Where outside?" North moved his face so that his bamboozled expression was inches away from Jamie's. Suddenly, it cleared. Jamie brightened. North got it! Halleluiah! Answers! "Ah. You are lost! It is not problem. I show you door."

North grabs Jamie by the scruff of his shirt. "This is so cool!" Jamie mutters to himself. He's being manhandled by Nicholas North!

They're about half way to the entrance when the two are interrupted by a loud laugh. A skinny kid with white hair and light blue hoody appears to jump out of the wall. Jamie hadn't noticed him there at all.

The first thing Jamie notices, before Jamie notices the dude himself, is the intensity with which the guy is cracking up. The second is that he hadn't got any shoes on, and third is that he's got to be the thinnest kid Jamie's ever seen.

The fourth is that he's carrying a plate of cookies in one hand and there's a disgruntled midget yelling at Tooth in the corner.

The question as to why the midget was yelling at Tooth instead Jack was answered in the form of a burly security standing well-within Jack's personal space bubble and glaring fearsomely at said midget. The name tag reads Phil. Phil backs off when he notices North.

Once he manages to control himself, he speaks. "Hey, kid. Cookie?"

"Jack Frost!" North beams.

Jamie goes star struck. "You're … you're really real?"

Jack frowns for a second, then grins again. "Who do you think wrote all the Jack Frost books?"

"I don't know. Kat said it was probably a pseudo … pseud …"

"Pseudonym?" North prompts.

"Yeah!"

"Nope," Jack says, shaking his head back and forth. There is a silence that lasts for the shortest of milliseconds as the three people glance awkwardly at each other.

"Ta da!" Jack, of course, breaks it, waves his hand around a bit in a facsimile of jazz hands, still kind of smirking, and steps quickly towards Jamie.

"I leave you now. Good luck Jamie Bennett. Good luck Jack Frost." And North drops Jamie and pats him a good inch or two shorter before lumbering off.

"Bye!" Jamie bounces cheerfully at him. He turns back to Jack and snatches a cookie. "I can't believe you're really … real," he breaths.

Jack just smirks. "So, kiddo, ready to get started?"

"You know," Jamie says through a bite of cookie, "I think I should find it offensive that you're calling me a kid when you're ..."

"About to turn twenty?" Jack stuck out his tongue. "Way more mature?"

"Yeah, right." Jamie interrupted. Jamie's eyes fly open dramatically. And … whoops. Probably not supposed to interrupt the instructor.

Jack doesn't seem to care, though, so Jamie relaxes and figures it's okay. Jack rolls right on through with his list. "Stunning gorgeous ... I could go on." He strikes a dramatic pose.

"Please don't," Jamie giggles. And then slaps a hand over his mouth.

Jack smiles rather genuinely at Jamie, and Jamie positively beams back. "So. First off, let's have some fun."

Jamie starts getting really excited, and then he remembers the words on the letter like 'scholarship' and 'money' and 'deserve'. His beam dims a bit and he hopes that Jack will still want to have fun even if they aren't supposed to. "Fun? Aren't I supposed to pick my project and stuff?"

"But that's ... hard work. And deadlines. And that's not me. Look, the best way to write, is to have fun writing. Which means we're going to ... you know, summer is really not my month? I was born on the winter solstice. Summers suck." Jack complains.

Jack shrugs. He reaches down and taps Jamie's hand, gesturing Jamie to follow. The two bounce and burble their way outside.

Jamie, who has been thinking about the summer situation, attempts to explain the awesomeness of summer to Jack, who is clearly crazy. "But there's no school in the summer."

Jack shrugged. "I never went." He states simply, pushing the door open.

"No. Way." Jack look apprehensive for a second as he holds the door for Jamie. Jamie thinks its kind of dumb that Jack is worried. School is terrible and boring. "That's so cool!"

Jack's smirking, which Jamie likes. "Right? So, that's the first thing. I want this to be something you are excited and happy about. So, let's ... oh, I've got an idea."

...


...

"Wooah! Yeah! Nailed it!"

A car honked angrily.

Jamie's too busy jumping up and down with joy after hitting a speeding car with a water balloon to notice Jack aiming one his way.

Splash.

Oh, Gods that water was like ice. Jamie paused a minute and then grinned, throwing the entire bucket of water onto Jack. And then Jack was laughing and Jamie was laughing and the two of them were leaning over, clutching each other with uncontrollable bursts of laughter.

Wiping imaginary tears from his eyes, and taking a couple of seconds to control himself, Jack spoke. "Alright. Let's do some brainstorming then. What do you like writing?"

"Magic. And, you know, creatures. Like Yeti's! Because they're real, and they help Santa with their toys and they're really cool, okay?"

"So you've got some idea. Awesome."

And Jack and Jamie settled in for a bit of work, if you could really call anything that Jack Frost did work, until -

"Hey, Jack?"

"Yeah, kid?"

"Not much younger than you. I'm kind of hungry. When are we stopping for lunch?"

Jack looks around. "I'd say, right about now o'clock?"

"That's not really a time, Jack."

"Sure it is, Jamie. Sure it is."

"Whatever. Let's eat!"

The two of them walked back to the Guardian building, to the room where everyone had first gathered. Where they were once nothing, there were now large buffet tables covered with -

"Peanut butter sandwiches?" Jack laughed, somewhat incredulously. "Guess we're more low budget than I thought. Wish I could have seen North and Tooth arguing over the budget."

"What?"

"Ah, nothing, kiddo. Let's get you some food." There are lots of children milling around, but most of the writers have bailed, going to get their own lunch or simply taking an hour long break. There are, also, too many reasons that explain why Jack doesn't.

Jamie looks up at Jack innocently. "What about you?"

"Nah. I don't eat much. I'm not hungry right now. I'll eat later. Don't worry about me. Go get yourself some lunch."

Jamie doesn't really pay much attention to that, only thinks that Jack is the coolest person ever, and he can't wait to get home and tell Kat about it.



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