A/N: I am having issues with the next chapter in the Cat of Hogwarts: Harry's First Year. This is because I have no idea how much I am going to change from the book (from just a slight shift to nothing at all, essentially), but I also need to make sure that I have the timeline right for those first few weeks.
I apologize for everyone who is waiting for various fics to be updated. I will be trying to finish up those that I have started, but it will be a long and slow process.
One-Shot Summary: So in tune as he was with his streams of golden dream sand that he knew the instant they were disturbed. He had feared the worst. But his fear had nothing on what he actually found.
Sandy, as the Sandman was known to his, relatively, new found friends, smiled as he sent his streams of golden sand down upon the colonies.
The children needed happy dreams with the darkness that was encroaching on the horizon, and Pitch, despite being defeated, as curling up with his gleaming teeth bared in a vicious grin, though he kept far from Sandy, as if knowing that, of all the Guardians, Sandy was the one who could hurt him the most.
Sandy wondered, distantly, if Pitch would ever consider that Sandy would have accepted his help. Would have wanted to befriend the creature of Darkness and Fear and Nightmares, because they were not bad, so long as they were not in excess, but Pitch never did anything half way.
Sandy let out a sigh at that and quickly turned his thoughts to brighter thoughts and the golden dream sand, so tightly bound to Sandy himself, began to glow brighter then before as they flowed to the earth in shining streams, more precious then even the most glorious treasure. Sandy continued to spin the dreams, sometimes only planting a seed and letting the child twirl it up and away into something more glorious then anything Sandy could create, much like a young boy (nearly three months dead now, much to Sandy's regret) whose name Sandy had never known, just that the boy was practically fun personified.
He made everything a game, got chores done better, faster, then when they were left to their own devices, easily watched the youngest of children and had them all working together, all playing together, even when food ran scarce and he had to give up his meals to his younger sister.
And Sandy knew all of this because they errupted from the children's heads after his death, remembering the good times, bright and brilliant, with that hint of darkness that spoke of sadness and fear over the loss.
Sandy did not know the boy's name, but he felt the loss as keenly as the children of that village, even if he did not know him as well.
He sighed, shaking himself violently.
If his mind kept wandering, the children would not have as pleasent dreams and he thought of Tooth and the way she cooed over the teeth. He thought about North and the wonder he saw in even the smallest of things.
He thought of Bunnymund, or Bunny, who always held onto hope even the face of the darkest of nights. With each happy thought, of warm thoughts and hearths and hot chocolate and laughter, the streams grew brighter and brighter until it was as if sunlight was streaming down from the cloud.
Sandy smiled, the golden dream sand wrapping around him firmly, as much a part of him as his hair.
It had been a growing thing, really, as, over time, the golden dream sand that was once just a tool became more and more absorbed into his being, becoming something like an addition to his consciousness.
So in-tune he was with his golden streams now that he noticed the moment one was disturbed.
Sandy jumped in surprise and immediately floated down, fearing the worst.
Had Pitch just tried to corrupt one of his dreams?
What if Pitch had stolen some of the dream sand?
Sandy shuddered a little at the thought.
The Nightmare King did not need any more power and if he got a hold of some of the golden dream sand and corrupted it, it would not bode well for any of the Guardians, or other spirits for that matter.
However, as Sandy glided down, hesitant to get too close (this small town hadn't finished settling down, some adults still awake, even some children who had reached the age beyond belief, sadly), he found something far worse than his imagination could have come up with.
There was a spirit, pale as the snow, in a hide cape, cloak...thing over his shoulders, barefoot, clinging tightly to a shepherd's crook, stretching up to touch the golden stream, and that same disturbance skittered across Sandy's being as some horses rushed out. This time, the boy gave them a touch of frost and the horses became silvery, rearing and galloping around, bright and shining as they raced around the spirit before galloping away.
But, while it was a beautiful scene, it was obvious that the spirit was in pain.
HIs face, while filled with joy and awe, was also broken.
Sandy winced when he saw someone, a child that was racing around and staring at the streams (Sandy sighed over the child still awake fondly, smiling at the way the boy ran around, trying to touch the golden streams), run right through the spirit, a winter spirit most likely due to the coloring and the fact he had iced over the golden sand horses before they raced off.
Sandy knew they would return, eventually.
Wayward dreams were never a bad thing.
Sandy saw the way the boy, because this was a child (and how could the Man in the Moon create a spirit from a child?), crumpled, pained and defeated and Sandy remembered.
He remembered what the other Guardians never had to go through.
Or the other spirits for that matter.
They never had to deal with being walked through, with being unseen, unheard (Sandy shook his head a little in a slightly self-deprecating way at that; he was always unheard), for centuries, until the newest one had come.
Sandy had made sure they never felt alone.
And how could he not do the same for this lost child?
He carefully sent out a new stream of golden sand and had it whirl around the boy.
The boy lifted off with the wind in surprise and joy and Sandy carefully directed the sand up to swirl around, enticing the boy to move away from the village.
It would only hurt more.
The winter spirit followed excitedly and Sandy began to coax him away, letting his dream sand streams do as they needed, easily finding the children, and the children at heart, towards the woods. The spirit followed gleefully, laughing and jumping about.
The Winds seemed to have taken a liking to the child ('Good, that means he won't be alone,' Sandy thought to himself) and pushed him up.
They weren't used to liking someone, but they would get used to it, follow the example Sandy would give and the boy spirit chased after the friendly stream until he pulled up short as they reached the frozen lake where Sandy was floating, the boy bringing up his staff defensively.
"Who are you?" The boy of winter asked, fearful and Sandy blinked in surprise.
He made a question mark above his head and image of himself, before putting an 'x' over himself. "No, I don't know who you are. Wait…you can see me? You can hear me?" the boy asked and the joy, oh, the joy on the boy's face nearly made Sandy's heart break.
He wondered if he looked that way when he had first met North.
Sandy, distantly, hoped not.
However, the boy has already floated over, scared and hesitant, but so hopeful and Sandy doesn't wait for him to get up his courage.
Sandy reaches out and carefully hugged the boy.
The boy tenses for a moment and then he laughs brokenly, clinging tightly to Sandy. "You can hear me. You can see me," he sobbed out and Sandy nodded as the boy clung to him all the tighter.
Sandy let him and wondered how long the boy had been alone. He ran a careful hand through the boy's snow white hair and then carefully pulled back, even as the boy tried to hold him tighter before releasing enough so Sandy could lean back.
Sandy extended the sand cloud and patted it gently. The boy hopped up and Sandy rose into the air to continue his work, even as he gave a pile of sand and made a figure of a man. "Sandman?" the boy questioned and Sandy nodded brightly, ruffling the child's hair.
"I'm Jack Frost, or at least that's what the moon told me. I was born from the lake," Jack answered, voice excited and Sandy nearly stilled.
Sandy sighed and looked up at the Moon with a slight glare.
Whatever the boy had done in life, it must have impressed Manny greatly for him to have expended so much energy to do what he had done.
Sandy, however, smiled and shook Jack's hand. He spent the rest of the night having the Winds swirling around them, enticing Jack to play and even freeze over his golden streams a bit. As the day began to break, and Sandy got a brief rest before he had to fly around the world to spread more golden dreams, Jack was put back together again. He was tired, but a good tired, and Sandy wished he could take him, but where he was going was hot.
Sandy carefully knelt down and gently tapped Jack's forehead. "Wha?" he questioned and looked up at Sandy.
Sandy showed him a sun and made waves rising from the ground. "Oh, you're going someplace hot?" Jack questioned and Sandy nodded.
Jack was better at deciphering then the rest of the Guardians combined.
Sandy found it rather amusing, but then, Jack seemed to love games. He had enjoyed playing with the streams, though he never pushed them off course, and the Winds settled patiently around them.
One evening following Jack and Sandy and they understood better than before what Jack needed. Sandy began to make shapes, explaining that, while they would be apart, Jack could always come to Sandy if he needed.
"So long as you are in a cold place, right?" Jack asked, and Sandy nodded sadly.
Jack smiled a bit, and then reached out, touching the golden stream. This time dolphins jumped out and Jack carefully caught one. He seemed to be talking to it and Sandy's eyes widened as Jack began to replicate it, the dolphin circling in a crescent until a dolphin of unmelting, opaque, ice matching the sand version sat in Jack's palm. Sandy stared at in awe and Jack held it out to him.
"Thank you," Jack stated and, before Sandy could even try to give anything back, Jack jumped off with a laugh.
Sandy rushed to the edge of the cloud, but saw the Wind already whisking Jack away, and the boy was laughing.
Sandy stared down at the dolphin and smiled before he reached up and carefully hid it in his hair.
It was a beautiful gift.
Maybe, next time he saw Jack, he would work on playing with the boy more.
With a smile, Sandy created a small, ish, dragon and began to fly across the globe to the next destination.
He had dreams to weave.