(Note: Spoilers for the Graveyard Book to follow)
The man Jack had gotten used to walking on ice. Really he found it both a little curious and a little too coincidental that after he had taken on his name as a member of the 'Jack of All Trades' society the strange ice patches would appear seemingly out of nowhere, ready to trip him up on occasion (as they had done) if he was not careful.
At first he dismissed the occurrences, as they tended to happen during the winter and the cooler months of spring and fall. Said occurrences never took place in summer or when the weather turned particularly warm, so he paid little heed to them.
Then he noticed how other people who had tread the same ground ahead of him, those with far less grace and steadiness than he commanded, would have no problem. Right about then was when the thought occurred to him. It was almost as if the icy patches appeared just for him.
After he had noticed the fourth or fifth time, he decided to take a closer look at the phenomenon and began to study the happenings out in his mind, for now that he thought about it, he could remember several times when he'd been tripped up by an icy spot that he hadn't realized was there.
It had taken several long nights over the course of a few months for him to track the occurrences back to one particular night a short while after he'd taken his new name and new job. It had begun, he realized, after he had done the job (and masterfully, if he did say so himself) that had been assigned to him that night. After finishing and cleaning his black-handled knife, he'd left the area and met up with another Jack, a senior member of the organization. That Jack (The Ripper, who had taken that name before the man Jack's time which happened to be why the younger man had taken on his current name instead) had mentioned the younger Jack's full name aloud and approved of a job well done.
It had been a fairly normal exchange between members of his society, but he was positive that the run-ins with the random patches of ice had begun that night after that conversation had taken place. No one had listened upon their exchange as far as the man Jack knew (and this new Jack the Ripper was even better than he at spotting hidden people), and no one else had known of the conversation. They had not had to report said conversation back to their superiors as nothing secret (with the exception of the man Jack's name) had been spoken. So why did it seem as if the frozen waters of the world had waged its own personal war against him?
And once he thought about it, the wind seemed to have a bit of a hatred for him, blowing his coat just a touch harder than those around him (when he had to walk amongst the common crowds), and he also tended to attract more snow than his neighbors.
It was a puzzle and a rather large coincidence. The man Jack didn't believe in coincidences, especially the large ones. Why was it that these things had begun to happen only after he'd taken his name? And after it had been mentioned aloud. He also did not have a concrete answer to his minor, if puzzling, problem, although he suspected it to be a running joke amongst the society and perhaps a series of infantile pranks played by the other Jacks. The problem was, he had no proof, and he could not see how these pranks were being pulled, so he could not solve or stop the problem.
So instead, the man Jack learned to walk on ice. He learned to duck to where the wind could not reach him so well and he grew to where he became accustomed to the cold. This, of course, only seemed to drive the elements into an even deeper anger, and they would then step up their game, moving the icy patches to outdoor stair-cases and just under curbs. As such, the game became more dangerous, and so the man Jack had to step up his own defenses.
Even after his failed attempt to kill the entire family he'd been sent to kill (that one, measly brat that had somehow—impossibly—escaped him!) when he'd been all but shunned by the other Jacks for a period, the game continued. The patterns of change did not accelerate or decelerate or disappear altogether, and the man Jack took what comfort he could in that, for as long as these pranks continued, the man Jack figured he was not to be exiled from the society. He found this to be an immense relief as those exiled from the 'Jacks of All Trades' tended to end up breathing water or dirt, which is to say not breathing at all.
As the man Jack was not in any way, shape or form superstitious, he never once saw the winter spirit following behind him as the child had done many times in the past. As with every time, moment the boy caught sight of the man Jack, he scowled unhappily and touched the tip of the staff he carried to the pavement as he tried to get the man Jack to slip up, or have the wind blow just a little harder at the man.
"Change your name to my name and then kill people?" the boy whispered under his breath as he froze the stair just below the man Jack's foot. "I don't think so." As far as the winter spirit was concerned, if the man Jack wanted to take on the name 'Jack Frost', he would have to deal with the consequences that came with it.