Jack had barely said a word all meal. He was content just to be there, surrounded by the happy voices of people who could actually see him. He tried to suppress the grin that was threatening to spread across his face: he still had some dignity, and didn't want the others realising how much this meant to him.
They were at a round table, piled high with now empty dishes. North had eaten more than half the food himself, and the others had also had liberal servings, but Jack had barely touched his. He hadn't eaten in 300 years, and the sensation felt strange. He had managed just a few mouthfuls of turkey before pushing the dish away.
Little by little the candles melted down, and the conversation began to die away, until they were sitting in comfortable silence. The other guardians were calm, content with their meal and the outcome of the battle. Through one of the doorways they could see the globe, brilliantly lit up with millions of gold dots that shone in the dim light. Jack decided to ask the question that had been bugging him almost since they arrived.
"So... what happens now?" He asked cautiously. The others turned to him, puzzled.
"What do you mean 'What happens now?'" asked Tooth with a nervous giggle. Jack shifted uncomfortably, not used to having so many people pay him attention.
"Well... what do guardians do when Pitch isn't around? Do I need to go make myself an ice palace or something? Will I have specific jobs, specific responsibilities? What do I do?" His voice had slowly gotten quieter as he spoke, and they realised now that he wasn't as confident as he appeared.
"No ice palace," said North slowly. "Not yet. You will stay with me for now. I'll give you room, on top floor, nice and cold."
"Don't you have any responsibilities?" Bunny looked incredulous, shocked at the thought. Jack shrugged and shook his head.
"If I do, then no one ever told me about them. I mean, I can bring snow storms or blizzards and all that-"
"We know," growled the rabbit darkly, but Jack pretended to ignore him,
"-but those things happen naturally by themselves. I've just sort of been hanging around..." There was a note of sadness in his voice that the other guardians did not fail to pick up on.
"We will find you job," decided North in his booming voice. "But not now. Now we sleep, and we recover, and we thank moon for our newest guardian." They smiled at Jack, who ducked his head in embarrassment. "Phil!" One of the yetis shuffled forward, eyeing Jack wearily. A flash of a grin stole across Jack's face, and he wiggled his fingers mischievously at the yeti, whose fur bristled in return. "Take Jack to Winter room," North continued obliviously. The yeti growled, but beckoned Jack to follow him. Jack pushed himself to his feet, still chuckling gently to himself, and followed the yeti out the room.