Well guys, this is it! The last chapter of Black Ink. *sobs*
But fear not! I have many companion pieces planned *sobs again at the amount of projects I already have*. So stay tuned, because, if I can think of an idea, I might even do a mini sequel to this. :3
Oh god, I just remembered that I planned to write about Mother Nature's backstory, too. .
You'll just have to wait, though.
But for now, enjoy the last chapter of Black Ink!
That night we all gathered in the field behind the stables, with Manny glowing brightly above head. We were just waiting for Pitch and Tooth to join us, and then we would see whether or not Pitch still had his powers. Small talk was being exchanged, and I leaned on my staff as Natty ranted about the humans going all weird over Yellowstone National Park.
"Oh, they want a supervolcano, they got a supervolcano!" she exclaimed heatedly. She sighed heavily through her nose, and then calmed down to start a new topic. Katherine, however, suddenly appeared by us and started the conversation.
"So, Jack. What made you think that Pitch was fighting himself?" she asked. "I'm sure he never had a bout of coherency, looked you directly in the eyes and stated that he needed help." She gave a small giggle. "Although, from what I've seen int he past twenty-four hours, I wouldn't bet on anything not happening!" Natty leaned in, interested as well as to how I had deduced everything. I launched into my story once more, and when I got to the part about how Pitch had only been getting letters from his daughter, but no pictures, Natty stiffened. I paused in my story to look at her.
"I couldn't send any pictures because it was dangerous to include an image with the letter. You saw what the Fearlings did with a ten year old picture," she explained. She then narrowed her eyes at me. "How did you know that?" she asked. I shrugged.
"My mother told me it's passed down from mother to daughter. Has been since before my great-great-grandmother was born. I at first didn't remember any of this after I had fallen through the ice, but after I got my memories back-"
"You fell through the ice?" she interrupted. I nodded slowly, trying to figure out where she was going with this. Katherine stood off to the side, a small serene smile on her face as she listened to us go back and forth.
"Yea. I was teaching my sister how to ice skate when we got onto thin ice. I saved her, but I drowned instead." At her widened eyes, I darted forward, catching her elbow before she could fall. She had started mumbling something, but I couldn't hear her. When she looked up at me, her eyes were shining, but no tears fell. Finding her footing, she surprised me by giving me a hug. I could hear North in the background grow silent as he, Bunny, and Sandy watched our interaction. When Natty pulled back, she took a steadying breath.
"Jack, I have a story to tell you." I nodded at her to continue. "After my father lost to the Fearlings, I had been kidnapped by the Dream Pirates now under his command," she started. "I had become a slave for them, and I met a girl only a few years younger than me. We became close, almost like sisters. After a while, I helped her manage to escape, and she had gone to Earth, to live out the rest of her life in peace. The ship I was still stuck on crashed to the Earth years later, and I ended up dying. Manny, who I knew back then as Prince Lunar from the days that we had played together when my father was still General of the armies of the Constellations, gave me some of his power and ended up saving me. He brought me back as a spirit of nature. Upon my revival, I set out to find Emilia. It took me a while, for humans were starting to become plentiful, but when I did, she had started a family of her own.
"When I had saved her, I had asked her to believe in me, that I would get out and find her one day. She still believed. She was the only one who saw me, and so I kept our meetings scarce. But the stories that I had told her when we were both captive were still being told. She told it to her children, who told it to their children, who told it to their children. And as the stories were passed on, I would watch over each new generation, even after my Emilia had long passed away." Natty paused to gather her bearings, her eyes slipping shut as she decided where she wanted to go with her story. I slipped my hand into hers to give her whatever support I could. When she opened her eyes, she was ready to continue.
"I have been watching her family line for centuries. When a new Guardian would appear, and they needed believers, I would whisper the story into the mother's ear, and she would share the story with her children. Jack," she paused again, looking at me, "I was watching over you and Emma when you took her out ice skating," she said, and my heart stopped at the implications of her words. "I wasn't able to save you from the water, because you didn't believe in me." It looked like it pained her to admit those words. "My story wasn't handed down along with everyone else's. Mine was lost after Emilia died. But everyone else's survived. I couldn't touch you, and I couldn't save you. Emma had heard of me in passing, and she knew that if the others were real, I was too. I was able to keep her away from the thin ice, and convinced her to go back to town to get some help.
"They weren't able to find your body. Emma grew into a wonderful woman, however, and I've been watching her family ever since." She suddenly smiled. "There are two children left in Emilia's line, through Emma. A brilliant little boy, whom I'm sure you've met, and the adorable little girl with an imagination that create new worlds."
"That ankle biter?" Bunny interrupted. "She's a relative of Jack's?"
"And Jamie too?" North added. Natty nodded.
"They are the last of Emma's descendents," she confirmed. I froze.
Not literally, of course, but the fact that Jamie is actually family of mine.
Holy wow, I just can't think right now.
It must have shown on my face, because Natty suddenly grabbed my arm and looked at me in concern. I realized that I was swaying, and I suddenly refocused back into the real world.
"I'm fine, I'm fine," I repeated as she made me sit down. The grass froze underneath me, but that didn't stop Natty from taking my hands and kneeling in front of me.
"Jack, look at me." I did. "You entire family was sad, this is true," she said. "And she never got rid of the guilt from your death. But she built upon that, and she taught her children how to tell the thin ice from thick. It kept her family safe, and she never stopped telling them stories of her older brother, that she loved so much." She paused, debating whether or not to add something. "The next time you see Jamie, ask him about the stories of his many-times-Great Uncle Jack. What you hear might surprise you," she finished softly. I nodded my head.
"Thank you," I replied.
"So, what did we miss?" Tooth suddenly exclaimed as she and Pitch rounded the stables. She was on his arm, and I had a sudden realization that they were a good pair. She was a queen, and he was a king. Weird realization, I know, but it came out of nowhere.
Sandy tried, once again, to explain using his pictures, but he got excited quickly and they started to blend together. Katherine explained.
"We just found out that Jack is related to Jamie, and that Mother Nature was the one who gave the stories to Jack's family line," she said succinctly. I made a contemplative face, and then nodded. That about sums it up.
"Oh, Jack, isn't that wonderful?" Tooth asked as they neared us. I put on a smile and nodded. Natty got up and pulled me up with her. Katherine then turned to Pitch.
"So, General, are you ready?" she asked. He nodded, and he and Tooth separated. All of us Guardians went to one side, while Katherine and Mother Nature went to the other. It was in that instant when I realized that Father Time wasn't there. I asked about him, and it was Bunny who responded.
"'E left last night after Pitch went to bed. Said something about preparing for the New Year." I nodded, understanding the reference. He will have a new Baby New Year to look after soon. I turned my attention back to Pitch, who now had Sandy standing in front of him. With his golden dream sand, he created a giant picture above his head. It was of Pitch with his Nightmares.
Nodding, Pitch seemed to concentrate, and from the shadows appeared his hoards of Nightmares created from his black sand. Smiling a bit, he allowed one to approach him and he ran his hand through its inky mane. After confirming that he still had control over the Nightmares by having them run laps around the clearing, he sent them away. Pitch looked at Sandy for his next cue.
A picture of Pitch disappearing into a shadow and then reappearing somewhere else popped up.
Taking a steadying breath, we watched as Pitch headed for the shadow cast by Manny's light hitting the stables. He disappeared into it, and the next second was right behind me. I tried my hardest not to flinch, but I must have reacted in some way that made Pitch give a small chuckle. He patted my shoulder before striding past me to resume his place in front of Sandy.
Another image didn't come. Instead, Sandy got out his golden sand whips and snapped them toward Pitch. In an instant, Pitch crouched low, an enormous scythe appearing in his hands. It swung forward to deflect the whips, and an image of clapping hands appeared above Sandy's head. His whips disappeared, and seconds later, so did Pitch's scythe. Sandy then held up a finger. It seemed he was trying to think of what else.
I suddenly had an idea.
"What about his ability to turn a dream into a nightmare with just a touch?" I asked. Sandy looked excited at the prospect, and he formed a Dream Sphere out of his sand. I gave a laugh. "So, who wants to be put to sleep?" I asked.
Everyone looked at me. I noticed Natty's smirk just moments before the Dream Sphere was thrown at my face.
"Oh no," I managed to mutter before I lost consciousness.
What I remembered from my dream was my meeting with the Guardians. We all seemed to be having a good time, laughing, and talking with each other. The dream suddenly turned, and all four of their expressions twisted into those of hatred. I heard no words, but I felt my heart sinking in dread. They turned their backs on me and started to walk away. I tried to chase after them, but the harder I ran, the further away they got. It took a few moments of me being alone before Natty suddenly appeared. I winced, expecting her to harm me, or something, but she merely laughed and patted me on the head. Taking my hand, she led me somewhere. We were running. On the way, Katherine appeared and took my other hand, and they were both tugging me insistently. We suddenly found the Guardians, and the four welcomed me with open arms.
I suddenly found myself being shaken awake, and I opened my eyes to Natty hovering over me. Mirth was in her eyes, and I just knew everyone had seen my dream.
"So I'm guessing it worked?" I asked as Natty helped me up. Bunny nodded, grinning slightly.
"It did," he confirmed, and his grin slipped. "Kid, do you really think we're gonna leave ya? Especially after all the stuff we went through just to get ya?" he asked. I grew embarrassed, and looked away.
"When you're alone for so long, it does make trusting someone harder," Natty replied for me. I sent her a small smile in thanks. She nodded. I then turned to the sandman.
"Oh, and thanks for the second dream, Sandy," I told him, and he only looked confused.
"Uh, Jack," North started.
"Either you changed the dream yourself, or Pitch's nightmare giving powers changed," Tooth finished. I raised my eyebrow.
"Well, I definitely don't remember changing the dream myself, so it was probably Pitch's powers that changed. No Fearlings anymore, so no more everlasting nightmares?" I guessed. Pitch nodded.
"Sounds about right," he agreed.
We all looked to Sandy as he jingled his little bells. A check mark appeared above his head, followed by a thumbs up. A smile appeared on Pitch's face.
"Thank you, everyone," he stated sincerely. "If it wasn't for you, I would still be fighting."
"Don't thank us," North stated in response, "thank Jack. He was the one who thought of it." Pitch approached me. He held out a hand.
"Thank you, Jack," he stated. I hesitated for a second, but then took his hand and shook it.
"You're welcome, Pitch," I replied. He gave a smile, and then, using out linked hands, pulled me into a hug. I didn't think anything of it, until the overprotective father in him hissed in my ear.
"Since I am technically still a king, that makes my daughter a princess." I was literally quaking in the shoes I was still wearing. "If you don't treat her like one, I will make sure no one finds you," he threatened. He suddenly patted me on the back and pulled back, a smile on his face. At his stare, I nodded, and his posture relaxed. It took me a few moments before I unwound, and by then everyone was filing back into the house. We were staying one more night, and would leave in the morning. Natty approached me, and in the few seconds I had to think, I quickly debated the pros and cons of dating her.
Pro: she's pretty, she isn't affected by my cold, and she seems charmed by me.
Cons: she's the daughter of Pitch, her father will kill me if I slip up, and her father terrifies me.
A smirk was on her face. "So, are you gonna be a creep again and watch me sleep?" she asked, taking my hand and leading me to where the others were waiting.
"Well, if you insist," I replied with a laugh. My hand slipped out of hers so my arm could wrap around her waist. I think she is worth it.
Once back inside the house, everyone split up to their own little areas. I guess ever since the sleeping incident a few months ago, the rest of the Guardians tried to get a normal sleeping schedule. It seemed that, even though we don't need sleep doesn't mean our bodies don't benefit from it.
I followed Natty into the room we had last night, and, after finally taking off the shoes that Uncle Snow had made, I was about to perch myself on the chair I had last night when Natty tugged on my hand and pulled me to the bed. I was about to open my mouth in protest when she climbed in with me and pulled the covers over us. I shut my mouth when she snuggled up to me, and settled in.
"I won't tell my father if you don't," she bargained, her eyes slipping shut. I nodded.
The next morning everyone was going their separate ways. North had already disappeared via his snowglobe, and Bunny had gone via his tunnels. Sandy had drifted away in the middle of the night, most likely to catch up on his work. Pitch was already saying goodbye to Tooth, and he had knelt to kiss the back of her hand. She seemed to blush profusely before pulling him in for a real kiss. I turned to Natty, who had just finished saying goodbye to Katherine. She approached me, and smiled. Right as she opened her mouth to say something, I dropped to a knee and kissed the back of her hand, in an attempt to copy Pitch. It seemed to have worked, since Natty blushed before snapping her mouth shut. As I stood, she had gained the courage to speak again.
"You better come visit me sometimes," she demanded with a smile on her face. I nodded with a grin of my own.
"And where will you be when I want to find you?" I asked her. She smirked.
"Here and there, and everywhere," she replied. She kissed my cheek, and then turned to leave. She threw over her shoulder, "Ask your friend, Wind. He usually knows." She then looked me in the eyes. "Don't be a stranger, Frost!" She disappeared in a swirl of vines.
I looked around to find that Tooth and Pitch had already left leaving me alone with Katherine. She smiled at me as I flew up into the air.
"Come visit, sometime, Jack!" she exclaimed as I climbed higher and higher. "I have so many more stories to tell you!"
"I will!" I called out right before Wind grabbed me and threw me out into the snowstorm that seemed to still be brewing outside of the barrier. I flew like a napkin on the wind, headed for home.
And that's it! *still sobbing* I love you guys, I love this fandom, you all are amazing! Thank you everyone for your support and love for this fic *glomps you all*
Please leave me a review. Did you like how I ended it? Do you wish I did something else? Are you excited to read some of the companion fics I have planned? Lemme know! *snuggles all of you!*
And a final thanks to myrddin767, QueenOfBlackHearts, ElizaAcheron, DemonFoxGirl1000, shiro-tan, Doktor-Gonzo, guardian921, Azareel, alkjthb, Illusion Island, Emma Cahill, and The Remedy in the Sickness for following and favoriting Black Ink! All of you are wonderful!
Bandling45: Here's the last chapter! And it still looks amazing! *gwomp* IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou! Yea, in high school we had to do a 10 page research paper, and after turning it in, our teacher told us that if we thought that was hard, we were in for a rude surprise when we got to college. XD
Jokermask18: Hm. . .that is an interesting idea. I'll think about it. :3
Guest: I think I followed you! *goes to double check* Now I am! ^.^ *waves* I hope you enjoyed the little bit of NatureFrost in this chapter. I know I enjoyed writing it, haha.
Fey Beauty: I hope you got all your answers that you wanted! And please, OverprotectiveFather!Pitch? Of course I'm going to write that! hahahaha
CHiKa-RoXy: Woo! This chapter is technically two pages longer than the last! (basically because I didn't want to split it into two, haha. XD ) I hope you enjoyed!
LuNa Believer-Disney Fever: Why thank you. :3 I've been plotting a few more chapters for my Sexy Cavities, lol. And you don't have to like Frosty Nature, if you don't want to. That's the joy of an opinion. XD I hope you enjoyed this chapter!