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Winter’s Departure

21 Dec

Jack winced as a cold shock passed through his body. He closed his eyes and tried to shut out the din of the kingdom he was passing through. It wasn’t anything new, nothing major. Just another child who didn’t believe.
Sighing softly, Jack drew up a frigid wing current to carry him away. Far away, into the woods. Where he could make another snow man and talk to himself like a lunatic for a while. Jack flew over the entire snow-covered kingdom and in not too long was out in the middle of a forest. There, he stopped abruptly.
There wasn’t anything around here. Except… that tower? Why a tower? With nothing better to do, Jack flew into the small clearing where the tower stood. It didn’t seem abandoned, but how could anyone be living out here by themselves? Especially this winter… Jack shrugged off a sudden feeling of guilt about that blizzard the other day.
May as well go in. It’s not like anyone would see him. Jack created a small, icy tornado to hoist him to the window, leaving a mini snow storm behind him. Once up he abandoned the tornado and stepped onto the ledge, leaving a row of icicles on it.
There was a fire going in the fireplace, and the whole room felt snug and cozy. Jack tentatively stepped onto the stone flooring and slowly spun all around, staring at the walls. Painted. All of it. Even the ceiling was painted, and whoever did it was a really good painter. She—Jack assumed it was a she, given the style and colors—seemed to really like purple backgrounds and yellow suns.
“Who are you, and how did you find me?” rang a shill voice from the shadows. Jack spun the source of the sound to see a girl in a purple dress with long yellow hair. He couldn’t see anything else through the shadows. That must be the girl who painted all this! But, who was she talking to? Not him. That was certain. The girl repeated herself. “Who are you? And how did you find me?”
This time Jack glanced back to the window he’d come through. Nobody there. So, was this girl delusional or something? Even though she couldn’t see or hear him, Jack decided to explain on behalf of the mystery invader. “I’m sorry, miss, I didn’t realize this was your home. I was just inspecting these lovely paintings, see, and I never meant to-” Jack stopped.
She was looking at him. Not behind him, or next to him, or anything like that. Right at him. Hope sparked inside of Jack for the first time in, well, longer than he’d care to remember. Could she actually see him? “Um, miss, can you… Can you see me?”
“What do you mean ‘can I see you?’ Of course I can see you! Who are you? Why are you here? If you came for my hair, rest assured, you will not be leaving with what you came for.”
The girl said it angrily, distrustfully, scornfully. But she said it. To him. That alone was enough to break Jack Frost. He leaned on his staff and tried his best to remain calm, but that was no use. After all this time! A girl actually could see him! Another person! Involuntarily Jack’s lower lip began to quiver. “I-I, I… You can see me? Really, you can see me? You’re sure?”
The girl came ever so slightly out of the shadows and Jack could see more of her. Impossibly long hair that, now that he was looking, was coiled all over the house. It had to be 70 feet at least! But Jack didn’t take the time to notice much else. All that mattered now was that she could see him. The girl relaxed her position. “Yes, I really can see you. Doesn’t everybody?”
“N-no, actually. You’re the first one,” Jack explained absentmindedly. Those eyes. Those huge, green eyes. Eyes that saw, eyes that believed. Those were really some very nice eyes…
The girl stepped closer so that only a few steps separated them. “Well, I can see you. My name’s Rapunzel, by the way. What’s yours? And you didn’t actually come here to steal my hair, did you?”
“Your hair? No, no, I didn’t even know you were here.” The ground started spinning and Jack tried to continue standing. First impressions! She can see you; make a good one! “I- it’s been so long since-” There Jack stopped. He wanted to go on, but a snowball had seemingly stuck itself halfway down his throat and refused to budge. Instead water welled up in his eyes. No, you can’t cry! You only just met her, and now she’s going to think you’re a baby. Great going, Frost.
But it was too late, and the little liquid snowflakes were already raining down his cheeks. Through the tears, Jack could just make out a blurry Rapunzel closing the gap between them and wrapping her arms around him. Warm human skin enveloped him and held him for the first time Jack could remember. Before he realized it he’d returned the hug.
“Hey now, it’ll be ok,” whispered Rapunzel. “I can see you, and as long as you’re not after my hair, I’m not going to hurt you. You’re safe here.” Jack hugged Rapunzel tighter and smiled blissfully. Soon, however, he realized what touching a warm human did when Rapunzel began to shiver. Her teeth started to chatter too.
Jack pulled away, put his left hand in his pocket, and stared at the stone flooring. “S-sorry. I can only make you cold.”
Rapunzel stepped forward and closed the gap between them again. This time she laid her right hand on his shoulder. “It’s ok. I don’t mind.” With that, she reattached herself to him, and Jack hesitantly returned it. “I don’t get many visitors up here either. We both need this. You never did tell me your name.”
“Oh, oh yeah, right. I’m Jack. Jack Frost. Have you… Have you heard of me?”
“Heard of Jack Frost? Of course I’ve heard of Jack Frost! He’s—you’re—in that book Mother brought me.”
“Oh. Well, most people think that book’s fake, and I’m not real. And if they don’t believe, they can’t see. Nobody’s ever seen me… until now.” As Rapunzel shivered more, Jack gently loosened his grip again.
“Really? Well, I can see you. Most people don’t know I exist, so I guess we’re kind of alike that way,” Rapunzel continued. Suddenly a third voice called something Jack couldn’t make out from below. Rapunzel’s face immediately went white. “It’s Mother! Jack, you have to go. I can’t let her see you!”
But, Jack thought, the only person who’s ever seen me is Rapunzel here. Not her mother. So… “I could just stay. Most people can’t see me, remember.”
Rapunzel’s eyes widened and she shook her head vigorously. “No, Mother would know. I know she would know. You have to go. I’m sorry!” she said as she practically pushed him out the window. “Just, come back to see me again, ok?”
With a little smirk, Jack nodded. One human on earth who could see him? Yeah, he’d be coming back. With that, Jack created a small blizzard to shoot him away.
Until next time, Punzie, thought Jack. Until next time.

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