Quietly, a young man with brown hair and a long flowing coat walked through the forest. He happily kicked around piles of snow, snapping frozen twigs under his shoes and tearing up the grass.
Hovering above him was another young man, this one much younger in appearance, who wielded a frost covered stick in one hand and a snowball in the other. With a large grin, he threw the snowball and hit his target directly on the head.
Hey, if you were going to come into his territory, you might as well pay the price.
The man looked up at the sky, shaking snow and water from his hair. Shivering, he shook his coat, keeping his eyes trained on the sky the whole time. Jack, the hovering boy, let loose a cheerful laugh which rang through the forest. He didn’t think twice about it; there was no chance that anyone would hear him, so why worry?
But the man underneath him persisted, squinting up at Jack until his laughter faded and his smile switched into one of complete fascination.
“Oi, you up there! Watch where you’re throwing that stuff.” The man yelled finally, keeping eye contact. “Because trust me, I’m one heck of a snowball thrower!”
Jack stared down, star struck. This strange man, with his hands shoved deep in his pockets and with a silly grin creeping onto his face, could see him? Jack floated lower until he could walk on the ground and tentatively stepped forward.
“My name’s The Doctor. Pleased to make your acquaintance!” The Doctor stuck out his hand, face now nearly split in two by a huge grin. He looked kind of funny, almost like a giddy child, with his hair all disheveled and his wise eyes lit up like stars.
“You can see me?” Jack asked, awkwardly taking the hand and shaking it. Excitedly, he squeezed the man’s hand tighter and let out a laugh. “You can see me!”
“Well, of course I can.” The Doctor said, pulling his hand away and poking Jack’s arm. You’re solid, and human… I think, I mean, y’know, no offence if you’re not, it’s just… Well, you look human… A bit pale, though…” He rambled on and on, examining Jack, lifting up his arms, tugging at his poncho. Not that Jack cared, as long as someone could see him, could hear him, could interact with him.
“Is this all you have to wear?” The Doctor asked, rubbing the thin fabric of his poncho between his fingers. “Not exactly built to beat the cold, now is it?”
“I’m used to the cold.” Jack answered simply. The Doctor pondered this though for a moment, before literally jumping in the air.
“I know! I’ve got just the thing!” He turned a full three hundred and sixty degrees and knelt down so he was at eye level with Jack. “Now, don’t you go worrying, I’ll be right back. Stay here, because I’ve got a little bit of a surprise for you.” He grinned and spun of again, jogging through the forest. Jack stood there, flabbergasted, as The Doctor grew smaller and smaller in the distance.
Could this really be happening? Was someone really able to see him? Surely this was all a dream.
But, even if it was a dream, it was the greatest one he’d ever had.
So there he waited, sitting against the tree roots with his stick hugged tightly against his chest and his mind racing. The man said that his name was “The Doctor”, but what exactly did that mean? Was he another one of the people created by the Moon? Could people see him? He dreamed the entire time, staring off into space, content for once with his solidarity.
After a while, the strange man reappeared, a small blue bundle in his arms.
“I hope it fits. I’m not really that great at eyeballing this stuff.” The Doctor grinned sheepishly. Jack took the fabric from him, unraveling it to reveal a blue shirt. “It’s called a hoodie. You, of course, wouldn’t know that yet. These sorts of things haven’t been invented yet. Don’t tell anyone that I gave it to you, okay? It’ll be our little secret.”
“Th-thank you.” Jack muttered, shedding the old and tattered poncho and pulling the ‘hoodie’ over his head. Immediately, fern-like patterns of frost spread across the front, glittering like diamonds in the fading daylight.
“Boy, who are you? Jack Frost?” The Doctor laughed.
“Yeah, actually…” Jack shuffled his feet, pulling at the strange coat. The fabric was soft and thick, much nicer than the homemade cover he’d been wearing.
“No way!” The Doctor looked ecstatic, eyes scanning over Jack like he’d just met him. He examined him again, this time muttering things under his breath that Jack didn’t quite understand, but decided to just go along with. “Brilliant…”
“So, where are you from?” Jack asked, breaking the awkward silence. (Okay, it wasn’t exactly awkward, but Jack was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable with the way The Doctor was examining him.)
“Me, oh, well, I’m from all over the place. Most recently, I’m from Cardiff. Just visited a friend there… Or, actually, more like I just left a friend there…” He paused, his face losing its excitement. “Okay, I don’t actually know if she’s even still my friend, but… Umm…” He cleared his throat, smile returning. “No matter!”
“Are you friends with the man in the moon?” Jack asked, tugging at one of the strings in the jacket.
“Oh, The Big Man? Yeah, he and I go way back.” The Doctor smiled and laid down on the ground, eyes wide as he searched for the moon. “He’s a bit too serious for my taste, though.”
“Oh.” Jack couldn’t answer with anything else. He felt a strange connection towards the
Man in the moon, but at the same time he envied everyone else who actually knew the guy. Why couldn’t he be the one to have conversations with The Moon? Why did he have to wait in silence his entire life?
“Winter’s close, so I guess you’ve probably have to go wreak some havoc.” The Doctor chuckled. “I best be off to leave you to your devices.
“No, wait!” Jack reached out and grabbed The Doctor’s sleeve, stopping him in his tracks. Snow had begun falling at some point during the silence, and it clung to the man’s coat and hair, dotting the brown locks white and silver. “I’m so lonely, all by myself. Please just stay, if only for another hour…” Jack wanted to follow the man, wanted to get down on his knees and beg him to never leave. He didn’t like the cold. Ironically, it was his least favorite thing out there, besides the dark. Why? Because of how lonely both of those were.
“You don’t get many visitors out here, do you?” The Doctor looked down at Jack with a knowing look and gave him a half smile. “You don’ even have a holiday, do you?”
“Nope.” Jack drew circles in the snow with his fingers. “Nobody believes in little old Jack Frost.”
“Well then, I guess I’m an exception.” He looked up at the waning moon and squinted in a quizzical sort of way. “What’s today's date?”
“I don’t know.” Jack shrugged, rolling up a ball of snow. The Doctor dug around in his pockets, finally pulling out a small piece of paper.
“January 20th.” The Doctor read, before shoving the piece of paper back in his pocket. “I think it’s the perfect day for a Jack Frost day.”
Jack looked up in surprise. The Doctor laughed, and at the top of his lungs, yelled out “Happy Jack Frost day!”
“What do you say we go celebrate this magnificent day?” The Doctor looked down at the sitting boy and held out his hand.
“Sure!” Jack leaped up to his feet, taking The Doctor’s hand in his. The two gave the other each an idiotic grin and took off, shouting and hollering, with a snowstorm following them closely behind, covering everything in a blanket of snow.
“Happy Jack Frost day!” They yelled out in unison.
Jack found himself anticipating every January 20th. Every year, on the same day, the strange man would reappear, exactly the same, and always carrying some sort of pastry. One year, he came with something he called a “cupcake”, which was covered in these strange silver balls he called “ball bearings”. Those were Jack’s favorite, and after that he came with the cupcakes every year. It was an inside joke between the two.
But one year, The Doctor didn’t come with any cupcakes, or with any sort of present at all. He’d only come bearing bad news: he was dying, and he might not be able to celebrate with Jack anymore. He’d try, he really would, but he didn’t know if it was possible. Jack could see on The Doctor’s face that he was in immense pain, but Jack couldn’t help feeling betrayed that his one friend wouldn’t be able to celebrate with him anymore.
And, as expected, The Doctor never returned. The strange blue box he traveled in never appeared, and the strange blue glow from The Doctor’s “sonic screwdriver” never fell across him during the night. He was gone.
Jack sometimes wondered to himself if it was all a dream. If Sandman had been sadistic enough to use Jack’s wildest dream against him. But the jacket was proof enough. That and the remaining taste of the edible ball bearings. He’d swiped a few from a party a few years after The Doctor’s death. They didn’t taste as good as the ones he’d shared with his friend.
Jack Frost day was forgotten. The trees didn’t echo it back when he yelled it, and the stars didn’t dance with him when he did.
But then Jamie appeared. Jamie, with his stubborn attitude and his big, searching eyes. The same boy who, on the 20th of January, after over hearing Jack mutter it under his breath during a snowball fight, spread the word of Jack Frost day.
And that was how edible ball bearings came back in style.