It was another successful night for Santa Clause, all the kids of the world would awaken to find toys under their trees and treats in their stockings, all thanks to one jolly old elf. Awaiting him at home, was the lot of other Guardians; all ready to celebrate another successful night before North would head off to bed. He entered into the house to be greeted by the smell of freshly baked goods, and warm apple cider, the sound of clapping as soon as everyone in the hall turned to see him walk in. He set his signature bag down and smiled, nodding and chuckling to show his gratefulness to everyone putting together such a nice spread. "Who cooked all this?" North asked, examining the table display of sweets, looking around to find only one guardian a miss from the room. "Jack," he and Mund stated in unison, the teenaged boy high above them, cleaning up the mess he'd made in the kitchen. "Jack, get down here!" North called, the boy flinching at the loud booming voice before a smile wiped across his face and he bounded over to the banister to look down upon everyone. "You should come eat some of what you cooked too!" North invited, "... it all looks very delicious!"
Jack chuckled and nodded; "Be right there". He went back into the kitchen to grab his staff so that he could get to the bottom floor faster. Once he was there, North patted him on the back and thanked him for the hard work with a hug. "Ugh okay, can't breathe," Jack coughed, North laughing and putting the boy back down. "Jack decided that for every holiday there should be a party of some sort to celebrate, for Sandy and I it will be on our birthdays," Tooth explained, happy that everyone was brought together. At the mention of his name, Sandy turned around to show his cake-covered face, shrugging and smiling at North as he took another bite. There was a hushed laughter that filled the room for a small while before everyone started indulging on the treats, everyone, except for Jack. Jack stood off in the shadows, leaning against a pillar and watching everyone enjoy what he'd created. "Ey there, why aren't you eating refreshing treats you make eh?" North questioned, stepping beside the pillar; holding a plate of chocolate cake. "What? Oh, I'm not.. that hungry" Jack responded, resting his hands in his pockets, continuing his watch. "You did a great thing Jack, and I thank you many times for all of it," North thanked, Jack nodding, "It was no big deal."
"It was big deal, and we shall return favor when we celebrate for you yes?" North smiled, picking up the entire piece of cake with his fork to try and eat it in one bite. "Oh that, I uhm.. I decided I didn't want a party," Jack replied, walking along the shadow's edge. "What? Why no?" North investigated, setting the cake back down on the plate for now. Jack paused and sighed, "Because there isn't anything to celebrate, the day I became a guardian was the same day I fell in the ice and..." he stopped himself, he didn't think the guardians knew about his past. "Oh, I see, well we could always celebrate when winter first starts in your home town no?" North offered, feeling a bit bad for the boy that stood before him. "Nah, I'm not much for parties anyway, as you can see," Jack explained, turning once again to watch the others; Mund smashing cake into Sandy's face as Tooth gasped. He smiled to them, he enjoyed the guardian's company, they were like a family, though they weren't exactly family, because family would know all about you and care for the flaws in your living status, and there was something he was certain none of them knew. "I think I'll get going home now," Jack sighed, rubbing his neck and looking over at North.
"Aww leaving so soon party planner, you didn't even try your own cake," Mund huffed, jumping over to join into the conversation. "I don't exactly feel like cake, and where I live, its late, I should be asleep by now so uhm.. I'll be seeing you," with this, Jack flew off through a window above. "Something was bothering him, did he say anything odd to you North?" Tooth inquired, worried about their recently acquired friend. "Weird? No no, he just said he didn't want party of his own because day he became guardian was day he fell in ice," North retorted. Tooth's expression turned soft, she sighed and looked to all of them. "I have something to show you," she stated in a saddened tone. They all gathered around a table where Tooth had placed Jack's box of teeth from when he was younger. The guardians looked amongst one another, then to Tooth, waiting for her to explain. "These, are Jack's memories, I know it was wrong of me to snoop but... I had to know," Tooth informed, sliding a finger across the top of the well-made little trinket, the diamond shapes sliding away and pulling them into Jack's past.
There were remorseful tears in every guardian's eyelids after they'd finished watching. "He deals with that and still only took fun from it?" Mund scoffed, turning away so that none of the others could see him wiping his own tears out of his eyes. "Yes, sad to say that this is what Jack remembers," Tooth replied, knowing it must've been hard on a teenager at some point to realize that he'd died. "Baby tooth said he was so happy to find out he had a family," she continued, chuckling only lightly as she gently picked up the small box of memories. Sandy formed Tissues above his head and pulled one out to use it. "You've got to be joking aye? A boy like that and he doesn't have a single regret 'bout leaving his sister behind?" Mund grumbled, turning back to everyone "He must've thought about it and felt bad about it at some point." "Wait wait wait, I have question, where does Jack live?" North asked, his question causing everyone to go silent and stare at each other with only shrugs as a reply.
Moments later, they were all flying off towards Pennsylvania, in search of Jack's current residence. "Where do you think he might be?" Mund asked, looking over the sleigh's edge, not thinking that he'd actually spot the boy. "I don't know, he never said anything about it," Tooth offered, fluttering about, doing the same as Mund as they made rounds around the city. Sandy formed a depiction of Jamie above his head, pointing to it and looking amongst everyone. "With Jamie? No for some reason I don't think-" North was cut short as Mund pointed bellow and stated; "What's that?". North slowly brought his sled down towards the lake, landing a few feet away with the others. They headed up to the lake stealthily, hiding behind trees and pausing once they got close enough. Jack walked on the ice, sliding his staff against it and yawning. They watched him as he sat down on the ice, then laid down, clutching his staff tightly and closing his eyes to rest. "This is where he's been sleeping whole time..." North mumbled, the others feeling a bit bad for never having asked about Jack's living conditions before.
"Why did no one ask him about this earlier?" Mund whispered harshly, glaring at everyone. "Hey don't blame us, you never asked either," North intervened, the two going face to face and growling at one another. Sandy rolled his eyes and looked to Tooth, only to find she'd moved. He peered across the ice to see her floating above Jack, slowly landing beside him. "Oh Jack," she muttered, running a hand through the boy's soft white hair, causing him to stir a small bit, though not enough to awaken. "We can't leave him here," she whispered as the others came closer. "Well what do you suppose we do with 'im then ey?" Mund investigated, turning to see North nodding beside him. "I know what we do," North laughed, nudging Sandy whom got the idea and spread dust over Jack to keep him asleep for the night. When Jack awoke the next morning, he found that his surroundings had changed. "What?" he asked, looking over everything around him, it was a semi-spherical room, the floor being the base, and within it was a dresser with a built-in mirror, holding a candle, and the bed that Jack was on; the mattress made from what felt like a very soft cotton. Jack pulled the blanket off of his legs and got to his feet, stretching and rolling his shoulders backwards, he couldn't remember the last time he felt this good after a night's sleep.
Jack looked behind himself, out through the round glass window, he could tell easily by the fixtures where he was; he was at North's. He grabbed his staff off the hook on the wall and headed out through the doorway, greeted immediately by some yetis who took his arms and ushered him down the stairs, covering his eyes. "What, what are you doing, come on guys," Jack complained, having no choice but to follow the yeti's leads. They stopped him abruptly when whispers were heard and North's rough tone sounded for everyone to be quiet. The yetis moved their hands away from his eyes and backed away, Jack greeted by the sight of everyone standing in a semi-circle around a table decorated with treats. The hall was also decorated with small clever decor, icicles and paper snowflakes. "What is this?" Jack asked, shrugging and still heavily confused. "Its a welcome party you nilly," Mund huffed, folding his arms. "A welcome.. party?" Jack questioned confusedly. "Yes, to your new home," North smiled, walking over to pat Jack on the back; nearly causing the boy to fall. "Wait just- hold on a second, new home?" Jack investigated, thoroughly lost in why everyone was doing this, not knowing that they'd found him sleeping out on the lake. "We saw you sleeping on the lake Jack, we're sorry we never asked you about it before," Tooth explained, landing next to Jack and hugging him. "Yes but now, you don't have to sleep there anymore, you can sleep here in room yetis made you," North further explained. Jack backed away from everyone, unsure if it was what he wanted; to live in a warm home again.
"B-but, I slept at the lake because it was the last place I ever had family, because it was my last familiar place... I-I don't know if I want to give that up," Jack offered, shaking his head and turning away from everyone. "Do we have to spell it out for you mate, we're your family too you know? You can't just shove us off and think we don't worry 'bout you," Mund sighed, his words causing Jack to realize things he hadn't. They weren't like a family, they were family, they were people who did care, who did worry, and who loved him as much as any normal family would. He turned back to face them all, looking amongst each of their faces to see welcome and care. He nodded and smiled at back at them, he still had a family, a slightly different one, but one as magnificent all the same. "So what do you say Jack? Care to stay?" North asked, stepping forward out of the group of four. Jack thought for one more moment and nodded, stepping out to hug North, a way of thanking him for the warmth he'd been missing. North looked surprised for a moment before kneeling down to hug the boy back. Sandy sniffled and grabbed Tooth to pull her into the hug, making it a group one. Mund however, stood off to the sighed and shook his head, huffing at the very idea before North pulled him into it. Within that hug Jack knew, that he'd never feel alone again, because he always had a family to return to.