Chapter 3

Sandy shot his whips out, grabbing the boy as he dove, no doubt unknowingly, off the cliff overlooking the lake.

"Woah! Oof."

Jamie looked up from where he was sitting to find the Sandman standing over him. He tried to grin but the upset look on the other's face as he showed a snowflake over his head with an 'X' over it, a '?' followed by an arrow over toward where Jamie guessed he came from and finally a cliff at the water's edge.

"Ummm. I don't get what all that meant but Jack wouldn't let me get hurt." Jamie saw him roll his eyes and winced a little, remembering the sofa and loosing his tooth. "OK, he wouldn't let me get hurt badly."

Sandy shook his head at that, grabbed the boy's hand and tugged him towards the tree Tooth was by. The fog and mist were thickening by the second and although he was his own light, he could make out a bluish one piercing the murkiness and it was true, if he had not known Jack was in danger from Pitch or know it was slightly different than Jack's glow, he would think it was him playing a trick. He let Jamie go next to Tooth and started forming his sand under them again.

Jamie, for his part, was confused but tried to shake the Toothfairy awake so someone could explain what was going on. He felt tickling around his legs where he was kneeling and saw golden sand moving and forming under him.

"Woah, so cool."

Sandy smiled slightly but quickly turned his gaze upward when the colors of the Aurora shone through the mist. North wouldn't call them back unless it was important but he couldn't leave Jamie here when he didn't understand the danger, especially with someone that was obviously fine with the child being hurt or dying. He made his choice and finished forming the plane, modifying the tail for the two passengers, and took off, flashing symbols to Jamie beforehand even though he didn't think the boy understood them.

Tooth woke up from a marvelous dream about teeth, all as white and sparkly as Jack's. She blinked, saw the boy from Easter kneeling next to her and sat up quickly.

"Hey, it's you. You've been flossing right?"

Jamie tried to answer but fingers were prying at his mouth. The Toothfairy squealed and looked closer.

"Great, such good care of them. Almost perfect, you ate something and didn't brush, didn't you?"

She cocked her head with a knowing look as the boy finally got his mouth back. When he shivered, she looked around.

"Sandy, what are you doing... oh."

The lights further up almost made her take off on her own. They had to have found Jack. Nothing else would have made North stop the search. Sandy took them in and descended, circling the Globe as they went down. Jamie's awestruck expression made Tooth smile. It looked so much like Jack's as he turned, trying to see everything at once.

"Is this Santa's workshop? What are we doing here? This is amazing. Why did you have me come? Not that I don't love this. Won't Jack be wondering why I left with you? Why aren't elves making the toys? What's going on?"

Tooth saw Sandy shake his head and send up a bunch of symbols, Tooth watching this time.

"No sweety, Sandy says it wasn't Jack and that there was danger so he couldn't leave you there."

She hadn't got the rest of it but she wasn't telling the boy that. As soon as they landed, a yeti came over to them and started going on, gesturing toward the stairs and not stopping until they followed.

Jack wasn't sure where he was but he knew he was alone. Everything was dark and the loneliness he had felt for so longer was back and heavier than ever, because he had known what it was like to not be alone. He tried calling out and running, just to see if someone was there. North, Sandy, Tooth, Bunny, none of them answered. Sometimes he heard voices in the distance, talking and laughing, but never close enough to understand. He ran faster, begging now for someone, anyone, to help him. Suddenly Jamie came running toward him, leading his group of friends, Jack's first believers. He smiled, almost out of breath, crouched in relief and held his arms out.

"I thought you guys were all-"

Jack froze, gasping at the pain that tore through him, briefly but lingering, as Jamie Bennet ran right trough him.

"Come on guys, maybe we can see Santa and Sandman and-"

"And the Toothfairy." Pippa interrupted, smiling and excited as she went trough Jack's left arm.

"And the Easter Bunny." The twins said at the same time, going through Jack side by side.

"Yeah, Woa-hoo! They're the best!" Monty cheered, punching the air as he and Cupcake passed through Jack as well.

Jack finally got over his shock enough to move, turning and staring sadly at the kids as they walked away, taking no notice of him, and into nothingness.

"No... no, not again. I can't be invisible again. Please! Someone, talk to me!"

Voices, understandable now, were coming from all around him.

"You aren't needed anymore."

"Disappear, like you should."

"They'll never accept you."

"You cause destruction wherever you go."

"You always mess things up."

"You're doing it right now."

"Never should have trusted you."

'Wait. Bunny?' Jack thought, trying to spot him in the darkness.

"Bloody good thing he's gone. The world has no use for him, that's for sure."

"I just wonder why he stayed here so long. He knows he should stay where he is."

'No. Tooth too?' Jack thought she... right, she didn't like him, just...

"I should go knock all his teeth out since it's the only good thing he's got."

Jack collapsed to his knees, covering his ears as hard as he could.

"No more. No more." Jack repeated over and over. He couldn't take it. It hurt too much, he couldn't face it. He didn't want to hear any more.

"I told you."

Pitch again. Jack wanted nothing to do with him either and just pushed his hands against his ears harder. Yelling in an effort to drown out the hated words. The hate-filled words.

Tooth flew swiftly after the yeti, followed by the other two. She caught sight of a few elves and yetis looking at them, or rather, Jamie as he was the first human in the Pole but Jack was the one she wanted to see.

"Woah, Sheila, stop right there."

Jamie's eyes widened even more when the full-size Easter Bunny stepped out of the room that the Bigfoot they'd been following had just yelled, grumbled into. He put his huge paws on her shoulders, so focused on her that he didn't notice Jamie standing there.

"Frostbite got inta a scrape but we got 'im. He's out cold still but ya can' go rushin' in there, he needs the rest."

"Was it Pitch? I should have emptied his mouth. If he hurt him... oh Sweet Tooth."

Jamie felt so bad he reached up and touched her back.

"Will Jack be OK?"

"Oi, where'd he come fro- you."

Bunny was torn between yelling and asking what they were thinking bringing the kid along, even if he was the reason Bunny was still there and the kid's sis was the sweetest little ankle-biter he'd known. He mentally gave in considering the boy wasn't running around, chasing the elves unsupervised.

Jamie crossed his arms, just like his mom did when he didn't answer here, and stared up. "I asked a question. Will Jack be OK?"

The moment that Bunny looked at the other two, Jamie dashed passed him and into the room. The calls of 'Hey, wait,' were ignored but he had to skid to a halt when he almost ran into a huge leg and it was cold in here. Colder than the rest of the building at least. Jamie's first thought was it was Jack but even when he was in his room it never felt this cold.

"Mmrofar sagar."

"Good, good. Now, more snow. He still too warm."

Jamie gazed up at Santa, awed at the fact he had bare arms and... were those tattoos? Wait 'til he told everyone. The bigfoot that had led them to the room, at least, he thought it was the same one, dumped an armload of snow on the bed against the far wall. Jamie blinked before running past Santa and staring.


Jack looked so different. The fight with Pitch wasn't this bad. Jack's hair was damp and limp with lots of black and gray in it. The blue hoodie was gone and Jamie was sure only sick people looked that skinny. The shirt that was sticking to Jack looked like the one that boy wore in the Disney movie with the talking cat and three witches. Like it was from the 1600s or something. The worst part was it was torn and one sleeve was gone completely, leaving Jack's arm just covered in snow that melted or slid off to reveal burns.

"I thought..." Jamie tried, disbelief choking his words off. "How did this happen?"

Jamie turned his head to look at Santa, wanting to know Jack would be OK, why he was hurt at all, how he could be hurt like this.

North looked back at the boy in shock. The Last Light, and Jack's first believer. How could he explain that he and the others had failed?

A/N: Sorry it's bit on the short side but it had to divide here. I hope this holds you over a little :) I started training as a cashier and the past week has been a bit on the busy side... OK a lot on the busy side. Working on multiple stories outside of work... yeah. Well, Much more on the way and thank to to my wonderful beta again.