It was a soft, sunny day, and the snow was slowly melting of the trees. Jack took notice of this flying up above the north-eastern hemisphere of the globe and decided to pay a visit to the villages below him.
The first village he stopped at was home to farming people, so he decided just to send a slight breeze through the air and frost the bark of a couple trees on the outskirts of their land with the help of the staff clutched in his hand. The second village was much livelier than the first, and Jack was content to set his feet on the ground and take a small stroll through the markets.
"Fresh dragon meats! Fresh and for a good price, you'll never get this anywhere else!"
"Hand painted silks, lovely for a fine young woman or babes!"
"Catch me if you can!"
Jack looked back and had to spin out of the way as a small group of children trampled their ways through the crowds, chasing after a young boy clad in leather and fur. Laughing, Jack set to the air to follow, readying a snowball to chunk at them.
He was about to hurl the snowball at an unsuspecting victim when the first child suddenly gasped and froze, looking up at a boy standing in front of him. The trailing group of children ran right into him, all of them falling into the ground with breathless giggles and snow flurries around them.
The unknown boy let out a laugh and helped the children to their feet, blushing a bit when they, once fully erect, stood frozen staring at him with wide eyes.
"From the Hairy Hooligan tribe!"
"Guys I can't see let me through!"
"Why are you here?"
Jack watched from the roof of a hut nearby, peeved that the attention of the children was stolen from him. Who was this guy, anyways?
"Uh, okay, um, I have to go now I'll see you around!" The boy said, embarrassed by the sudden attention. Curious, Jack decided to follow him.
The boy walked his way through the market, trading for a few supplies as he went. Jack trailed behind him, wondering how one of his footprints could be so square in the light layer of snow. Soon, the stranger led him away from the village and up a small trail through a mountain.
It was almost nightfall, now, with the moonlight shining through the treetops, and Jack was starting to get bored. The stranger wasn't even that interesting. But then he caught sight of a small hut in the nearing distance, and decided to stay put and practice jumping from tree to tree along the way.
The stranger seemed annoyed at the sudden pick-up in wind and falling dead leaves so he hurried his pace, tucking his satchel under his fur coat and hunching his shoulders against the wind.
Giggling, Jack watched him struggle against the oncoming blizzard and decided to send a strong gust against him. The stranger fell right on his back, yelling along on the way, unable to keep his balance. Jack burst out laughing, the wind singing with him. What fun!
"Who's there?" the stranger called out.
Whirling behind a tree, Jack stood frozen on a tree branch, heart still in his chest. He watched as the boy peered up at the trees, searching for the source of the voice. Finding nothing, he lowered his shoulders, picked up his fallen satchel, and grumbled up the stone path leading up to the small hut.
Jack stood still, hands shaking over his mouth. He was stunned, ecstatic, and fearful all in one go. He heard me. He heard me? He heard me! Slowly a smile grew on his face, and, with a small hop in his step, flew down to the ground and over to the hut.
Pausing at a small opening of the straw on the roof, Jack cautiously peeked through. The boy was inside, standing next to the far corner where he was taking items out of his satchel and placing them onto the small wooden table. A fire was starting in the middle of the room, where above it was what seemed like a rack of metal and a bowl full of water. Sticking his tongue out in distaste, Jack looked back over at the boy, who suddenly seemed more like a young man.
He had taken off his fur coat and wool sweater and placed them on the floor next to the growing fire, careful not to drape it over the pit. His boots stood by the door in a long rectangular pan to collect the snow dripping from it, and his pants were hanging by a string and clothespins from the sides of the walls, over and to the side of the fire.
With a tingly feeling in his stomach, Jack watched as the stranger sat in a small wooden chair next to the table, and massaged his knee. His left leg was missing, and in its place was a metal contraption of sorts. Jack could not remember what it was called. The stranger sighed, and bent over the table to break off a piece of bread from its loaf.
Jack, suddenly uncomfortable of peeking at the stranger, floated up and towards the neighboring trees, looking at the bright, half-full moon for peace.
The next morning, Jack found the stranger shoveling snow from around his hut. Pouting, Jack considered throwing a snowball at the stranger to get him to have some fun instead, but stopped when he took notice of the boy's panting breaths. Suddenly worried, Jack sent a small breeze of cold wind through the air to get the boy inside his hut for rest. For all Jack knew the boy could have been out since sunrise.
The boy shivered and tucked his fur coat around him tighter, but kept shoveling the snow. Jack hung upside down from a tree branch now, contemplating the situation. He really wanted to talk to the boy, but he's afraid it's been so long since he had spoken to a person that he has forgotten how. Thankfully, the problem was handled for him.
"Hey, you up there! What are you doing?"
Startled, Jack lost his grip on the tree and fell to the ground. Thankfully, he fell right on top of a small snow bank the boy had created from shoveling.
Rubbing his head, annoyed at his sudden forgetfulness of flight, Jack grimaced at the small pain forming on his rear.
"Are you alright?"
Jack looked up to find the stranger right in front of him, not two feet away, shovel held up in his two hands. Afraid, Jack jumped up and grasped his staff, holding it out in front of him as his weapon.
The stranger, taking in his defensive stance and cautiousness, dropped his shovel and held his hands up in the air, palms facing Jack. "Hey, hey, it's alright, didn't mean to startle you. It's not everyday you catch someone hanging around these parts."
Jack slowly lowered his staff and straightened out his posture. He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing but a croak came out. Embarrassed, Jack cleared his throat and tried again. "You... you can see me?"
The stranger seemed puzzled at the question, but responded anyways. "Um, yes?"
Jack, giddy with excitement, pulled his staff against his chest and smiled at the boy. "Want to start a snowball fight?"
Their relationship grew and bloomed, a friendship formed from common grounds of isolation and desire for companionship. Jack learned that in his distance with the humans, he had no idea what they were really capable of, because while Jack might have been lonely because no one could see him, Hiccup was lonely because no one wanted to. So his name was Hiccup, and he was exiled from his home tribe. His home of Berk was four islands away, and he lived in the woods as a lone blacksmith, making enough items to trade for food and clothing with the nearest village. He did not remember much of his mother, and from what he did remember of his father he did not like to talk about it. Jack knew this because his shoulders would tense over and his hand would start to shake, he prosthetic leg tapping against the wood floor of his hut, so he didn't ask anymore.
Jack also learned that Hiccup was a lot of fun, and had a small air of magic around him. Jack could smell it sometimes, when Hiccup was close to him. Jack couldn't really understand most of why he stayed around with Hiccup, but he did know he didn't want to be anywhere else. The Spirits of the Earth were older than him anyways, they could be in charge of the Winter Wind for a little while.
On nights when it was just too cold outside, Jack would wander away from the hut, staying only close enough to keep the stronger winds away and snow from caving in the roof of the hut.
On nights when it was a Bad Day, Jack would feed the fire and sit across from Hiccup, who would be grimacing and sweaty from his pain, and tell him stories of his travels around the world. These nights, while bad for Hiccup, were Jack's favorite. Because sitting close to Hiccup sent a warm feeling through his stomach, and as the Winter Spirit Jack didn't really feel much else besides the cold. It was nice.
On afternoons when it was a Good Day, Hiccup would chase after Jack, a snowball or four in hand. Laughing, Jack decided to take things for a spin and flew up into a tree, the brown of his leather overcoat hiding him from view.
"Aw, that's not fair, Frost! Come down here and face me like the true spirit you are!"
Silently giggling, Jack grinned as Hiccup walked right under and passed his tree. Crouching low, Jack almost lost it when Hiccup threw one of his snowballs at a tree across the small clearing, completely opposite from Jack.
Sighing, Hiccup dropped his arms and was about to give up when he was tackled from above to the snow covered ground. Jack laughed as Hiccup struggled to stand up, but ended rolling them over and down a small hill.
"Ah-ha! Got you," Jack breathed out, his breath sending frosty air our Hiccup's cheeks. Hiccup stared up at him, giggling. Soon there laughter died out, and was replaced with something Jack didn't know how to explain. It was heavy and warm, but not in a bad way, and it led to Hiccup picking his head up off from the ground and tilting up to his face.
Jack, overcome with the humming silence, bent down his own head and, with a moments pause and breaths mingling, they kissed.
It was all warm and sent shivers up and down Jack's arms and body, and when they pulled apart Jack felt as if a part of himself had gone missing.
Hiccup's bright green eyes peered up at him questioningly. "Okay?" he asked.
Jack, meeting those green eyes with the blues of his own, responded, "Okay," smiling softly.
A month later, Jack came home to the hut to find Hiccup nursing a wound on his head.
It had been a few days since he had last saw him, and Jack missed the young viking terribly. The blizzard he had followed was just too strong to ignore, and, looking at the blood seeping through Hiccup's fingers, Jack wished he had just ignored the whispering Wind in favor of staying with his friend.
"Hiccup?" It seemed Hiccup had not noticed when he entered the hut, which was a bad sign on its own, and was startled at the sound of his name. He jumped up, hand still on his temple, moaning and asking not to hurt him anymore, tears running down his face.
Fearful, Jack dropped his staff and ran the few steps over to the young man. "Hiccup, Hiccup, it's me, Jack, it's me, it's okay, don't cry. Please don't cry, I've got you now." Cradling his body in his arms, Jack rubbed his hands up and down Hiccup's arms, trying to calm him down from his uncontrollable sobs. But a moment later Hiccup just started to shiver from his cold touch, and Jake became suddenly angered with his form, so he gently laid Hiccup on the straw mat and stepped away, stroking the fire to life.
He placed the bowl on top of the metal rack, filling it with snow, and waited for it to melt and boil. Once it was warm enough, Jack tore a piece of cloth from his overcoat and dunked it in the water, watching as the snowflakes drifted from the cloth and into the water, creating a dim blue glow. Quickly, as to not make it cold again, Jack took the cloth and placed it on Hiccup's neck.
He could only watch as Hiccup cried into the night, asking for the forgiveness of his father.
When Jack returned the next morning with logs of wood in his arms, Hiccup was outside waiting for him. He was dressed in his warmest pair of pants, a long black shirt, and his fur coat. There was a bandage wrapped around his head, brown hair sticking through the hems, and he had a limp to his step from where his prosthetic had been kicked in.
Jack dropped the wood and flew over to him, stopping just a foot away. Hiccup laughed and threw his arms around him, Jack only a few inches shorter, twirling him in the air. "I missed you," he breathed. "How was the blizzard?"
Jack guessed that Hiccup had forgotten about the night before for when he asked about his head and leg, Hiccup just said that he tripped over a log and hit his head on a rock. Jack decided to let it go. He did not want to make Hiccup remember the pain of the night before, the pain that was much worse than just an ache in his knee.
So Jack laughed and teased Hiccup for his clumsiness, asking for a kiss instead. Because Jack didn't want to think of how good a liar Hiccup could be. At least, not right now.
A few weeks later, while lazing around a small stream in the forest, Hiccup confessed his love for Jack. He told him of his plans to follow the Spirit of Winter around the world, and that he had heard rumors of a flower that could grant a man eternal life, which they would look for in their journeys.
Abruptly, Jack was reminded that while he himself could not die, Hiccup could. Jack watched as Hiccup grew more and more excited about their future, and a sense of emptiness took over him. How long did he have with Hiccup? Wouldn't it be better for the young man to find a nice, young human to share his life with?
Jack felt his eyes freezing with tears, and he silently cursed the Moon for his newfound curse.
Hiccup mistook his sudden frozen cheeks for happiness, and asked him if he would love him forever. Jack nodded and reach behind Hiccup's neck to pull him down to meet his lips. "Forever and ever," he whispered.
They made love for the first time that night.
Jack wasn't sure how humans normally did it, or how he and Hiccup really could do it, but it was the most beautiful thing he had ever experienced. It was better than the first frost of the season, and a thousand times better than children's laughter filling the air from a snowball fight he instigated.
He wondered how his skin must have felt to Hiccup, and hoped it wasn't too cold, but realised that the magic he smelled in the air might have had something to do with their oddly compatible body temperatures. He wished he could stay like this forever, all arms and hands and bated breaths hovering by the firelight. He found scars running across Hiccup's back, and kissed each one of them. He did not think of where they could have come from, did not think of the pain he must have gone through to have scars so deep; he only thought of the perfect skin of this perfect moment with this perfect person.
After, as they lie tangled together by the small fire, Hiccup shivering under his cold touch but refusing to leave, Jack asked the Man in the Moon if he could stay like this forever. He did not reply.
While Hiccup slept snoring softly sprawled on the straw mat, Jack placed a frozen rose by his head and kissed his forehead.
"Goodbye," he whispered.
He would live the rest of his existence alone, like he was always meant to, like the Man in the Moon created him to.
And so Jack Frost went, travelling the world at his own pace, leaving his grievances behind him. It took him awhile, but soon Jack couldn't not remember the reason he stayed away from the parts of Iceland-only that it made him and the winds around him sad.
Almost three hundred years later, Jack Frost became chosen to become a Guardian. When they propositioned him with the position, Jack was reluctant. Why would he join these people who have ignored him, his every attempt to gain their attention? These people that think him a joke, a prankster, not worth their time?
Joining Pitch seemed like the better option of the two, but he was unconvinced. He liked bringing fun to the kids and making them happy. He didn't think he was able to bring fear to them. He could empathize with the Nightmare King, oh yes he could. For as long as he could remember he wanted a home, a family, someone he could belong to.
He thinks he might have belonged to someone, somewhere a time ago, but Jack couldn't really remember. He just knows to stay away from the roses.
Pitch was angry when he refused his alliance, and Jack found himself captive in the Boogeyman's layer not soon after their talk on the snowy mountain.
His cell was dark, and the frost that seeped from his fingertips and his breath did not bring him the comfort it usually did. He sat shivering in a corner, trying his best to keep away from the Nightmares that were pounding their hooves against the bars of his cage.
A dark, echoing laugh rang through his ears. Pitch seeped through the shadows, hands behind his back, and walked up to Jack. Jack pulled himself tighter together, afraid to let this man do anything else to him.
"Ah, poor, sweet, Jack. Are you not having any fun yet?"
Jack swallowed the bile that rose in his throat. He wished he could just stop shaking, stop showing this weakness to the Boogeyman.
"I came across something interesting today, and I thought you might like to know of it." Pitch grinned, pulling his hand out from behind his back. In his palm he held a golden cylinder, and held it out for Jack to reach.
Slowly with apprehension, Jack reached out to take it from his hand. But just as he was a fingertip away, his fingers became frozen and seemed to seize out of his control. The sensation oozed up his arms and all over his body. Jack cried out in pain and fell to the floor, unable to uncurl himself from his muscle's constrictions. He coughed, and vaguely he noticed a black goop splatter onto the stone floor.
"Ah, ah, ah, Jack. Didn't expect it to be so easy, now, did you?" Forcing his eyes to look up at the looming figure, Jack saw as Pitch took both sides of the cylinder and broke it apart, gold sparks filling the air. Dropping it to the floor, Pitch laughed and sunk back into the shadows.
Jack laid there for what felt like years convulsing with this phantom pain and blackness oozing out from his mouth and nose. Dimly he felt a cool, wet sensation at the tips of his toes. It was water, spilling out from the broken pieces of the golden cylinder, glowing with magic. The water climbed up his body, relaxing his muscles along the way.
When the water reached his eyes, he remembered his sister.
Gasping with new found hope, Jack sat up from his curled positioned on the floor, making fists of his hands. He tried to stand, but he was too weak. Grimacing in pain, Jack wished he had his staff with him.
The cell jolted and Jack was thrown to his side. Heart now racing from adrenalin, Jack looked around his darkness to find the cause of the commotion. There it was again! A pounding... like giant footsteps against metal floors. Was it a new Nightmare, come to torment him of a life forgotten?
Jack hastily turned away when a bright flash of light and fire broke through the dark, a loud roar piercing through the air.
It was the Guardians, come to save him! Shielding his eyes from the pouring light, Jack saw the figure of a man on a horse. But where are the others?
"Jack Frost--I've come to save you."
Jack grabbed the stranger's hand without a second thought.
They were out of the Nightmare King's lair a moment later, the stranger's horse breaking the wooden bed that shielded the entrance. Jack gasped and clutched his arms tighter around the man's torso, afraid of finding out if his flying abilities worked without his staff or not.
When he woke up, he was in a spare bedroom at North's workshop.
The room was painted in soft colors-beige, blue, and white. The window next to his bed was open, letting in the cool Arctic air in. Jack noticed that he was tucked in a soft, thin Christmas themed blanket, with bags of ice cubes surrounding his body. Smiling at the old man's attention to detail, Jack wondered where everyone was.
Slowly, as he didn't want to take any risks making any movements that might hurt his body, Jack stepped out of his bed and through the door, down the hallways until he arrived at the man's office.
Pausing outside the door, Jack listened to the quiet murmur of voices inside. Unable to make out any coherent words, he took a deep breath, straightened out his hooded blue jacket, and pushed the doors open.
"Starting the party without me?"
Bunnymund, Sandy, and Tooth all turned at the sound of his voice, smiling and running over to him. North was sitting behind his desk, smiling softly at Jack.
Uncomfortable with the attention, Jack swiftly spun out of Tooth's hug and walked up to North. He didn't notice the stranger was in the room until he was standing right next to him.
Looking up at the man, Jack took in his appearance. He was only a few inches taller, with short brown messy hair and a white turtleneck woven shirt, a fur vest on top. His brown pants were semi-loose around his legs, and he wore black fur boots on his feet. There was a brown leather strap around his wrist with white snowflake stitching along the edges, and on the right side of his neck, he had a black and deep-red tattoo of a rose.
His eyes were a bright golden green.
Heart-beating sporadically in his chest, Jack looked to North for answers. But North was already staring at him, eyebrows raised and an expectant look in his eyes. "Jack? Do you know this man?"
Confused, Jack looked back to the man once more. "Um, am I supposed to?"
The stranger seemed to deflate at his response, mouth twisting into a frown. The freckles on his nose and cheeks seemed to move along with it. "Just as I thought. You're welcome, by the way, for saving your ass down there." The stranger pulled himself together and with a wave to North jumped out of the office window and flew away on his dragon.
"He was my best friend you know, Toothless. I just wish I had some place better to scatter his ashes than this crummy old mountain."
Jack shook his head, straining his ears to stop ringing. Tooth was talking about how they had found him, how the Man in the Moon had sent for the Protector to find him and save him from Pitch's grasp. Sandy was next to her, pictures formed of gold sand floating above his head, rapidly changing images.
"It was so awesome!"
"Crikey, he wasn't all that great..."
Soon, the others left to their own devices, and Jack was left alone with North. "So, the dragon guy?" Jack asked. "What's he all about?"
North looked at Jack thoughtfully, stroking his white beard. "He has been around almost as long as you. But here, take this. Maybe it will help better understand for you." North stood, turned to the bookshelf behind his desk, and came back to Jack with a thin leather-bound volume with worn out pages.
Taking it into his grasp, Jask read the title. Spirits of the Moon VI: the Dragon-Rider.
Back in his temporary bedroom, Jack flipped through the book until he reached a picture. It was an ink sketch of the man from earlier, but his chest was bare and he rode a dragon, not the horse Jack had thought he rode originally.
Jack paused, looking at this picture. The man seemed fierce and his eyes cold, capable of doing harm to anything that crossed his path. He felt as if this wasn't how the man normally was, however. Somehow Jack knew that he wasn't all that rough around the edges.
Turning the pages back to the beginning, Jack read of his origins in the island of Berk during the Viking Era, where he lived a short life until the Man in Moon chose him to become the Protector of the Spirits for his courage and bravery.
"No one really listened to me, heck, no one listens to me now... it wasn't until I told my father of the Nest that he finally gave me a second glance."
Jack stared at the ceiling, wondering why this voice was speaking in his head. His eyes falling half-closed, Jack let the Sandman's magic work on his body as it drifted through his open window.
They were sitting close together, next to the fire pit in the middle of the floor. His staff leaned against the wall behind him, and his brown leather overcoat covered his body.
Hi- was staring intently into the fire, bright green eyes reflecting the small growing flames of the fire. "I wish I could have stopped them sooner, but he had Toothless and his instincts lead them straight into the Nest. Even with the help of the other kids in training, I was too late. They were all dead or dying when we got there, the dragons flying away."
Jack scooted closer to Hi-, his toes brushing against his thigh. Hi- smiled at Jack, thankful for his comfort. "Toothless was alive, thankfully, but he wouldn't make it. I'm just glad I got to see him one last time before he went, you know?"
The hut was silent. The small fire stood cracking in the pit, their breaths soft and even. Jack took a deep breath, thinking of the right words to say. "Sometimes...sometimes these things are greater than just us, Hi-. Sometimes, the Man in the Moon needs you or them for something else. It wasn't your fault. The Spirits just have a way of doing things, sometimes."
Hi- scoffed. "What a life to live, if all I'm doing is playing someone else's game." Jack didn't know what to say to that. So, after a moment's hesitation, he got to his knees and placed his palms on his shoulders. "I've got a game to play," he smirked, and leaned in for a kiss, pushing Hi- down to the floor.
They kissed under the watchful eye of the crescent moon night.
Jack gasped awake, palms shaking and breaths uneven. He had to find him.
Jumping out the window and into the night, Jack flew for all but two seconds until he started dropping to the ground. Yelling in fright, Jack closed his eyes as to shield himself from the impact with the snow.
"Oof," he grunted, a sudden weight on his torso. Feeling scales under his palms, Jack looked up to see a magnificent dragon holding him up in his claws.
The dragon was black with green eyes and seemed to smile at him, letting out a woozing sound that Jack supposed was a laugh. The dragon, who Jack knew was named Toothless, gave a big flap of his wings and flew him up into the night sky.
Laughing, Jack spread out his arms in the air, forgetting about his time in the Nightmare Realm in favor of the harsh cold wind against his cheeks.
In the distance, Jack could make out a line of trees against a mountain. Bracing himself against the onslaught of branches, they flew right through the treetops for at least a mile. Toothless suddenly released him, Jack tumbling into the snow below him.
Popping his head out of the snow, Jack turned to see Toothless sitting behind him with an innocent expression on his face, tongue sticking out of his mouth.
Sticking his own tongue out to the dragon, Jack got up from the snow and shook off what he could from his blue hooded sweatshirt and beige pants. Looking up, Jack noticed a small pillar of smoke not far up ahead.
Taking a deep breath, he whispered to himself, "Forever and always," and trudged up the hill.
He found him in a small clearing, sitting in front of a small fire, back facing Jack. Anxious and more nervous than he could ever remember, Jack clenched his fists and let out a gasp. "Hiccup," he breathed.
Hiccup turned at the sound of his voice, surprise evident in his features. He quickly got up from his position on the ground, a smile growing on his face. "Jack, you-" he said, stopping shortly. His expression turning into something sour. Jack was suddenly reminded of the reason why he hadn't seen Hiccup in so many years.
Their silence was heavy and the tension thick. Jack clenched and unclenched his fists, hoping that Hiccup wouldn't notice the tremors running through his body. It seems that Pitch's effects lasted longer than anticipated.
"I...I'm sorry," he said, face ridden with guilt.
Hiccup scowled, shoulders rising in anger. "You're sorry? For what? For leaving me? For making me feel the way you did-all alone and having no way of finding you?" Jack wondered where his usual persona went, because all he was now was a mess of quivering muscles and teary eyes.
"I looked for you for years! It took me a couple days to figure it out, but no, Jack wouldn't do that, would he? Wouldn't leave just like that, no word or explanation. And yet, here you are, here you've been all along." Hiccup was panting now, his breathing steaming the air.
Jack didn't know what to do, what to say. "I had to, Hic! You...you were human, a whole life ahead of you-aging and alive. I couldn't keep you to myself- I'm not even real, I'm just a seventeen year-old boy for Pete's sake! I can't, I couldn't, I-" Jack couldn't continue speaking, the tremors had reached his throat and he let out a sob before falling to his knees, his legs unable to hold him up.
"Jack!" Hiccup was in front of him now, his hands on Jack's shoulders. His touch still sent a warmth all around him, his air of magic even more potent than the last time he saw him.
He doesn't really know how it happened, but the next he thing he knew Hiccup had him on his side, laying in the snow, his head on his lap and a blackness filling up from his throat and tainting the snow beneath them.
"Jack, Jack, hold on, Toothless! We've got to go back to the workshop!" Jack heard Hiccup yell out. The blackness was coming out from his nose now, all sticky and thick-like an oil that was left in the sun too long. It was starting to get hard to breathe.
"Jack, Jack... I'm scared, Jack."
Blinking slowly, eyes glazed, Jack heard the voice of his sister ring out over the heavy gusts of the wind.
"It's okay, look, we're gonna have some fun instead, alright?"
Jack pulled himself up from Toothless's back, heaving. "Hic...Hic! Turn around...to the coast."
Thankfully, when Hiccup met his eyes, he saw that his intentions were understood.
When they reached Lake Burgess, it was as still and white as he remembered it. The trees still held his frost patterns on their bark, and the ice had a thin layer of snow dusted on its surface.
Hiccup helped him slide off of Toothless's back, but the sight of his death and birth place gave him a strength on its own. He slid his bare feet onto the snow bank, and stepped onto the ice, Hiccup and Toothless behind him.
At the center of the lake, the ice lay cracked and broken, revealing the dark, icy waters below. Jack saw his reflection on the ripples and slowly sunk into the water, his hands braced against the ice. But the ice cracked and his hand slipped, sending him into the water abruptly with a sharp cry of surprise.
It was eerie, being in this water. It was colder and deeper than he remembered. The deeper he sunk, the harder it was to hold his breath. The blackness was getting stuck in his throat, and soon it was too much to keep his mouth closed.
The blackness seemed to struggle in the water--writhing and compressing until it was nothing but a mass of bubbles floating to the surface. Looking up, Jack could make out the light from the moon.
He broke the surface of the water with a gasp, teeth chattering against the after-effects of his purge. "Jack," a voice called out. Hands were suddenly helping him out of the water, and they fell over onto the ice of the Lake.
Panting, Jack looked over at Hiccup. "Okay?" he asked.
Hiccup turned his head towards his, eyes wide with hope. He slowly smiled and, with a small tint of pink to his cheeks, he whispered, "Okay."
Forever and always, Jack.