Jack Frost shivered. He never felt cold, well, never shivered from cold. He loved cold. He didn't love the looks he was getting from the very disgruntled spirits surrounding him.
"Come on; it's not like I wanted to-"
"Exactly! You never wanted it and you don't deserve it so just give it up. One of us should have been the new Guardian, not a trouble making nobody like you."
"Hey! Just because I didn't doesn't mean I don't now. I am a Guardian and I'm not going to stop."
Jack was going from concerned to angry fast. He glared at the furry menace holding his staff and found he hated the Groundhog more than the Easter Kangaroo. Five months of hanging out at the Pole, popping in on Bunny, smiling at the fairies (only Baby Tooth didn't swoon or faint when he did that), jumping on Sandy's cloud for a bit, and spreading snow at the poles or mountains, he forgot one thing: how much the other spirits hated him. He had dipped into Canada to spread a bit of an early storm to one small part and, the next thing he knew, he was facedown in the woods with several of the 'better known' spirits.
"Too bad we disagree. They put up with you because you got lucky against Pitch Black. If you disappear like you should, they won't care because you aren't needed anymore."
Jack felt, actually felt, his blood go cold-er. No, this wasn't true. It wasn't going to happen. Pitch was not the only reason. He was wrong, they all were. The Guardians did care about him, he was sure of it. They'd put up with him for months now and, if they didn't care, why was North teaching him ice sculpting, and Bunny, painting eggs, even if he complained that Jack used all the blues and white paint. He'd even gone gathering teeth with Tooth the other night.
"You-You're lying. Stop it!"
Jack lunged for his staff, only for a fireball to hit him, catching him off guard.
"I don't think so. This time, you don't get to hit them back."
Will O'Wisp smirked, his eyes burning like the flame in his hand. He threw it, burning the sleeve of the hoodie when Jack raised his arm to shield himself, and stepped closer.
"What's wrong? No snarky comments? No taunts, insults or even a pathetic threat? You're nothing! You're weak and can never be a real Guardian!" He tossed a fireball with each comment, laughing with a few of the others at the teen's attempts to block them. Wisp grinned when he managed to knock the kid to the ground. He gathered a huge fireball, pausing as the others cheered and urged him to teach the kid a lesson. As he cocked his arm to throw it, his foot slid out from under him and the fireball went flying, hitting some trees and spreading. The fresh snow and lower temperature wasn't enough to counter the fact that it was still summer and the woods weren't exactly damp. The first few trees went up fast, melting the snow and burning the wood. Wisp looked at Jack Frost; the brat's hands were flat on the ground and ice, a narrow stream of it, went right under him. His eyes widened as he looked the other way, at the flames, and huffed.
"See? Spirit of Winter and he causes destruction even with fire." Wisp narrowed his gaze at Frost. "It was your ice that started the chain reaction, so it's your fault." Wisp looked at the Groundhog, still sneering. "He's destructive enough without that so he doesn't need it. Destroy it."
The Groundhog wasn't sure about breaking the kid's staff at first but then he heard the cries of the woodland animals. They weren't supposed to be in danger and it was Frost's fault the fire went wild and put them in this condition.
"Wood for wood. Consider your toy gone." He snapped it and took off, leaving the pieces behind so he could get the animals to safety. He heard a cry behind him that could be mistaken for pain but he brushed it off as the kid caring more for his stick than anything else.
Will O-Wisp kept his face neutral as everyone took off, either for their own safety or to get the animals away. He left them to do that and focused on the winter pest as he looked horrified, still clutching his chest with one hand while the other was sending ice along the ground toward the flames. He noticed that it melted before it even reached the fire itself and looked back at Frost with a chuckle when he let out a desperate 'no'.
"What's wrong? You thought you could do something right? You always mess things up. Now, with you gone, you can never interfere with me again. By the way, this is for humiliating me all those times."
Will grabbed Frost by the back of his blue shirt, holding a flame in his right hand and grinning at Frost's feeble struggling. He punched the teen's chest and then leaned close to the frozen teen's ear as the sweatshirt started burning.
"I told you I would have my revenge. Too bad I don't have a lake or swamp to dump you in but, being me, even without water, my fire will lead to your end. You never had a chance against me."
He dropped the gasping lump face down on the ground, dusting his hands off over the boy's head and hearing him whimper.
"This is what you're worth, nothing. Oh, I think I'll keep this, a nice souvenir and a warning to the next one that bothers me what will happen to them, as well as remind me of your destruction."
Will O'Wisp picked up the two halves and stuck them in his belt alongside his seldom used weapon of choice. He heard a grunt and looked back. The frozen brat was pushing himself up with his good arm, his burned one under him but still trying to support him.
"Don't you know when to give up?"
He used his flames like a whip to grab a large branch, snapping it off and letting it fall on the Winter Menace.
"I would tell you to never cross me again but, well, I'm pretty sure you never will. Good bye Jack Frost."
Deep in a dark lair, working to calm and re-tame his Nightmares, a man in a dark cloak suddenly felt an influx of power. It was strong and delicious and, best of all, familiar.
"Oh, Jack Frost. How I wish I was the one causing this fear. I must say, it tastes good after these long months. Soooo... refreshing."
He grinned, showing his teeth. With the boost of the fears of the immortal child, he could send a message or two. He was sure the Big Four would loooove to hear from him.
North tapped his boot in time to the pounding music, working on a special gift for the newest member of the team. Jack had proven himself greatly against Pitch and was still on the nice list. This gift was long overdue anyway. He was giving it a finishing touch when the door slammed open, causing him to hit it too hard and cracking it.
"I tell you to knock, every time. This is simple thing to do-"
North was cut off as the yeti started on a rant about the globe and black sand.
"No, not again. Show me."
He followed the yeti and, although there are no lights flashing, there is a swirl of black sand at the top, just like the yeti said.
"Pitch! What are you doing here?"
"I just came to thank you. After all, I never could have sent this without the fear of a child losing everything. Well, an immortal child. Frost is really a-"
"What? Jack! Where is he? You had better not have hurt him you-" North started exclaiming in Russian only for the sand to start 'tutting'.
"Now, now. Temper. If you're yelling and insulting me, how can I answer, even if I were inclined to?"
North could hear the grin in the silky, calm voice. It turned his stomach but he paused in his ranting, activating the Northern Lights at the same time
"Now, North, that was mean." The sand, now away from the Globe and circling, sounded put out. "You didn't even warn me to move."
"Where is Jack?" North demanded, holding his swords ready.
"Tut, tut. At least say 'please'."
"Hey, mate, what's wi' the li- Pitch!"
"North?" Tooth gasped as she and Sandy arrived, the latter forming his whips and glaring at the black sand.
"I seem to be unwelcome now so I bid you, good day." Pitch grinned as he watched, through a small amount of sand in a shadow, the Easter Bunny hop over to North and cross his arms.
"Bloody good thing he's gone. World has no use for him, that's fer sure."
Sandy nodded but Tooth looked confused.
"I just wonder why he stayed here so long. He knows he should stay where he is. I should have knocked all his teeth out since those are the only good thing he's got."
Pitch withdrew his sand as North started telling the rest what had happened, Now, for Jack Frost. He still didn't have the strength or control over the Nightmares to leave but the sand, with the images it had gathered from the Pole, could do his work for him and further destroy the hope Frost had.
Jack coughed repeatedly, struggling to get out from under the piece of wood that was pinning him down. His ice was melting as fast as he formed it and he couldn't get enough under the ends of the limb to slide it off or lift it up. He looked around again for something, anything, when a black shape came toward him from the flickering shadows of the trees and Jack tried calling for help, tried to get their attention, only to see the blob mold into a swirling image that reminded him of Jamie's TV.
Jack watched what was in front of him, images of the Pole that he thought meant he could get help. His eyes began to sting and his throat threatened to close off but now, it wasn't the heat or smoke, it was the words of his fr- of his so-called friends. The others, and even Pitch, were right. The Guardians hadn't really cared. With that thought, Jack felt something break inside... his heart.
"I'm... I'm never getting out of here... Pitch was right. No one really cares about me."
Jack buried his face in the elbow of his unburned sleeve. It was hopeless to struggle further so why bother fight.
Aster was pacing with one of his boomerangs clenched in his fist. He had been growling about getting out there and finding Frost when he felt it- the sharp, stabbing pain of Hope fizzling out- dying. This was like at Easter. He'd been hurt so much by the loss of faith in him and lack of belief he thought it had been from that. This was a specific person but something was different. He felt the ebb and flow all the time as children grew up but this was unnatural, sudden, fast, as though it was too early, the child too young... it reminded him of that kid walking through him.
"Bunny, what's wrong?" Tooth flitted over and touched his shoulder but he shook her off.
"North, something's up. Check the Globe. Pitch is up ta somethin'."
North stomped over, checking believers now to those before Pitch showed up. It took him awhile with Tooth fluttering over his shoulder and Bunny rubbing his chest, both distracting and telling since he rarely showed discomfort unless it was bad.
"Is no different. No new lights out."
"Look mate, I know what I felt. Ye can' say there ain' at least one less light."
Sandy hoovered over the Globe waving and pointing down at a fading light near the top in a remote part of Canada. He tried several times before flying down and grabbing for an elf that was drinking the eggnog that a yeti had brought for him. The guy tried to run in panic only to get wrapped in sand and shaken.
"Sandy? What is it? Am trying to tell Bunny is heartburn."
Sandy rolled his eyes and flew to the Globe, pointing down. Tooth flew over and joined him, seeing the light flicker and dim even more.
"Oh, there's one here, it's faint though, really faint."
North checked again and shook his head.
"Must have been weak already, I never had anyone in that area so I did not notice i-"
"Crikey mate, Pitch is doin' who knows what ta tha' kid and ya don' notice?"
"Well, like I say, was weak before. You only just felt it so how could be same reason?"
Tooth huffed and grew more concerned as she watched the light weakening to almost nothing and the two 'men' trying to get the last word in.
"Does it matter? We need to go check. It's the only one that's showing signs of going out."
"We also need to find Jack. He has not come and was who Pitch mentioned. Tooth, have any of your fairies seen him? Ask again. Bunny and I will head out with sleigh to find child while Sandy and Tooth search for Jack."
"No way mate. Not again. No bloody waaaaaaaay."
North grabbed Bunny and laughed.
"We make better time and everyone loves the sleigh."
A/N: Hi, I hope this is OK, I had this started on paper in August and it bloomed but I had that RP... but, the RP is done so now, this and my other stories are getting worked on. I do have my birthday next week so... reviews would be a great present and sorry right away that these stories will be done in turns. I will be better than I have been. Night and, any readers that are mothers, Happy Mother's Day!