I opened my eyes, expecting her to be there, but I knew better than to think she’d come back. Not after I’d been such a jerk to her. I really had been. All she’d wanted to do was get a little breathing room and that hadn’t been good enough for me. I knew it. I knew that I could have done things differently, and I would have, if…if what? If I weren’t so jealous. I’d been refusing to accept it for the past few days, refusing to accept that I had been a jealous idiot. I let an innocent fairy guy die because I was jealous. Was that very Guardian-like? Nope, nowhere near. Manny told me so. I sat up and rubbed my eyes, looking around the hideout. The floor was blanketed in dead pine needles. How they got there, I’ll never understand. We were underground. I stood up and yawned. Nobody else was up yet, which was to be expected.
I went down the hallway on the left and climbed the ladder on the wall. I climbed out the tree stump and breathed in Neverland’s clean night air. It was still night, but there was something I had to do. I walked past Terence’s grave because I wasn’t ready to apologize yet. I walked deep out into the woods and finally came to the beach. I looked out over the ocean and imagined that I could hear her laugh. I was getting desperate now. Where had she even gone? None of us knew. Had she just gone to rescue someone? I doubted that. I sighed and sat on a piece of driftwood. I looked up at the moon. It seemed to be taunting me.
“Well, Manny. Was this what you wanted? Was all that effort that you went to to make us like each other pointless?” I asked.
Jack, you know that I didn’t force Vanessa to leave. She chose this path. I had nothing to do with it.
“The least you could do is tell me why,” I replied.
“Why she left. Why I let Terence die. Why we came to Neverland. Why the hobogoblins attacked. Why you suddenly start talking to me. Why I even went to school. Tell me why.”
Why she left? I’m sure you’ve already figured that out Jack. It’s because you let Terence die. You were just jealous. I’m sure Mickey already explained to you why you came to Neverland. You need their help to defeat him. As for the hobogoblins…I can’t tell you why they attacked just yet. And I’m talking to you all of a sudden because you need me more than you ever did before. And you went to school of your own free will. The school choice however…
“What? Are you saying you made me go to that school?”
Every day since your first as Jack Frost has been influenced by me. Every big decision, every hour of need, every girlfriend.
“I’ve only ever had one girlfriend…well…that I can remember anyways. I must have had one before I was Jack Frost.”
You did. But you’re right; you’ve only ever had one girlfriend.
“Okay, that makes no sense. If I was Jack Overland five hundred years ago and I had a girlfriend then, how could I have the same girlfriend five hundred years later? Vanessa wasn’t immortal or anything was she?”
No. But it was Vanessa. The same Vanessa.
“Then how come I don’t remember her? I got my memories back from Tooth.”
Not all of them. One tooth has yet to come out, your last baby tooth.
“So all my memories of Vanessa are inside my last baby tooth? Not a single memory of her is in any other tooth? Just one?”
Correct. It’s the back molar on the right side, just in case you’d like to know. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Vanessa needs a hand. Heroines can’t suffer a headache. Until tomorrow evening, Jack Frost.
His voice vanished and I sighed. Why tell me which tooth had the memories in it? What did he expect me to do, rip it out? I wasn’t going to do that. The more I sat wondering what it was that I couldn’t remember, the more I thought about doing it. I just had to know. It was weird, how was I supposed to get it out? It seemed like a weird idea to just rip it out. I had to know though.
“You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re not seriously going to rip your own tooth out, are you?” I asked myself. I sighed. “I have to.”
Took me twelve tries, but I finally tore it out. Didn’t hurt too much, but I hoped these memories were worth it. I held the tooth in my hand and waited. Nothing happened. What was wrong? I’d done it once before. What was different? I’d given Vanessa two teeth to dhow her memories before. I didn’t understand. I needed someone to explain for me. Someone who understood the workings of tooth memories. There was only one person who would understand. Tooth. I wondered how to get her attention. The only way I could think to get her attention was to put the tooth under my pillow and wait. I trekked back to the hideout and put the tooth under the pillow. It actually took about ten seconds. She came and took a look at me.
“Jack? What are you doing here? And how did you lose that tooth?” she asked.
“Okay, I’ll explain everything in a minute, but I have to ask you a question,” I promised.
“Um, okay then. What is it?”
“Remember when I got all my memories back?”
“Is that your question?”
“No. Just answer please.”
“Okay, fine. Yes, I do remember.”
“Well, I tried that with this tooth and it didn’t work.”
“Well, of course not! The tooth has to be inside the box.”
“But I showed Vanessa two stories of my past using just two plain old teeth.”
“I know. It has to be inside the box to…sort of unlock the memories. After that, you can access the memories whenever as long as you have the tooth.”
“So, do you have my box?”
“Do you think that I could just carry around the tooth box of every kid that loses a tooth?”
“So, you don’t have it?”
“No Jack, I don’t have it. But if you are just dying to see the memories inside that tooth, I could summon it for you.”
“Yes, please do that.”
She held out her hand and the familiar gold and turquoise cylinder container appeared in her hand. On the end in front of me was the picture of old me, brown eyed with a mischievous smile. It rattled when she handed it to me because of all the teeth inside of it. She opened it. Inside it was lined with purple velvet. There were little indentations for each one of my baby teeth and only one hole was still empty. I dropped the molar into the last spot and Tooth closed it again. She got a shocked look on her face and then did a sly half grin. Her feathers ruffled in excitement and her purple eyes glowed.
“I’ll leave you alone for this one. You’re going to love it though. I sense a powerfully happy memory in that tooth.” She left in a puff of sparkles.
I touched the front of the box and I was transported to a thick forest in the middle of the night. A village wasn’t far behind me. I felt a hand in my hand and looked over, expecting my little sister Bitsy. I got the shock of my life when it was Vanessa. She was wearing a brown dress with long sleeves. I was now walking simply for the fact that I was only there to observe and not change what had happened. I barely kept track of the conversation. At one point I gave her a comb that I remembered carving with a knife. Then I got really nervous. I kept looking down at the ground, and then I finally pulled out a ring and asked Vanessa to marry me. I didn’t understand. We walked away back to the village. I told her about my plans to take Bitsy ice skating. I asked if she wanted to come, but she couldn’t.
I snapped back to reality with such force, I gasped. I understood now. Vanessa had been there. But how? It didn’t matter; I would ask her when I found her. She had to know how she was alive then and still alive now. She just had to. Besides, I had to apologize. I wasn’t treating her the way she deserved to be treated. If she wanted to have a friend to take a breather with, she should be entitled, and I would have to be okay with it. I would go find her in the morning, but right now, I was too hot.
I flew out the hatch and looked at the island from a bird’s eye view to see what part looked coldest. I saw a snowy forest and sighed in relief. I zipped toward it and landed on my feet in a snow bank. It felt nice. I could have made it cold anywhere I wanted it to be, but I just didn’t feel like putting that much effort into it when there was a perfectly good snowy forest already. I wandered around for a little while with my staff resting on my shoulder. Then I saw a girl. She had her back turned to me. She had wings and a hairdo that looked like a beehive, but with a point. Her hair was white, she was pale, and her clothes looked like they’d been made out of light blue leaves. He pants were more like capris and had feathers near the bottom. Her shirt was strapless. How could she not be cold? She touched a leaf and it frosted over. I looked at her with even more interest. Who was this fairy?
Maybe she could sense me or something, I don’t know. Whatever the cause, she turned around and stared at me. Her eyes were pale blue. She wasn’t wearing shoes either.
“Who are you?” we both asked at the same time. We laughed. “You go first.” We said it at the exact same time. We laughed again.
“How about I start?” she asked. I shrugged. “My name’s Periwinkle, but my friends call me Peri.”
“I’m Jack Frost. I couldn’t help but notice that you don’t appear to be cold.”
“I’m a frost fairy, I frost things. I can’t be cold. I can only be hot.”
“I frost things too, but I’m more known for my snow days. Kids love ‘em.”
“Oh, so you can make snow too? We have fairies that do that too, but they carve the snowflakes. They don’t actually make it snow.”
“So I guess I use the snowflakes you carve a lot.”
“That you would. Hey. Have you seen Tink around here? She was supposed to visit me a few days ago, and I just thought that she might be mad at me.”
“Why would she come and visit you?”
“We’re sisters. Is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’s fine. Do you live here?”
“All we snowflake and frost fairies do. Do you live here?”
“No, but I am staying here currently. I’m leaving tomorrow though.”
“Why? Where are you going?”
“Where I’m going, I have no idea. Why I’m going…I have to find Vanessa and apologize for being such a jerk.”
“Huh? I don’t mean to pry, but could you maybe explain what you’re talking about?”
“Do you have an hour?”
“I’ve got all night. Here.” She made some chairs out of frost.
Once we’d plunked down in the chairs, I spilled to her the whole story of how we came to Neverland and what had happened once we’d arrived. She asked so many questions that by the end of it, she knew everything, how I became Jack Frost, when I’d saved the world from Pitch, all about Jamie, and even about Manny. She knew just as much as Vanessa did.
“Wow that took a lot of explaining. So what are you going to do when you find Vanessa?” she asked.
“Apologize for letting Terence die. It’s the right thing to do.” I replied.
“Do you need a friend to come with you?”
“You mean you want to come?”
“Yeah, I do. Oh, and can Tink come? Please?”
“All right, it will be faster with three sets of eyes.”
We looked up at the rising sun. I heard a familiar voice calling my name. When Peri heard it, she looked up with an excited smile.
“Tink, we’re down here!” she cried. Then Tink flew into our line of vision.
She dived down and tackle-hugged Peri. They laughed. Then Tink looked over at me.
“Where were you?” she asked me.
“I was here with Peri. By the way, I’m leaving with her. Do you want to come?” I replied.
“I’m going to find Vanessa and Peri wanted you to come with us.”
“Oh, okay. I guess I could come then. Do we need supplies or anything?”
“No, I have to get off this island and find Vanessa. I’ve got to apologize. Oh and Tink? I’m sorry I let your brother die.”
“What? You have a brother too?” asked Peri.
“We had a brother, Terence. He died. It was Jack’s fault but I forgave him. Now, let’s just go.”
We all took to the skies. I followed my gut and hoped that I was right.
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