Kidnapped (North's POV)

NORTH

I HAVE YOUR SON. IF YOU EVER WANT TO SEE HIM ALIVE AGAIN YOU WILL MEET ME AT THE OLD STABLE. ON CHRISTMAS EVE. COME ALONE.

The words made North see red. The Yule Goat had gone too far! He'd gone so far beyond too far that it was inexcusable! To try to get back at him for some grudge or slight was one thing. To drag Jack into this and kidnap him was something else completely!

North ignored the fact that Jack was not actually his son. That wasn't relative at the moment, since Yule Goat thought Jack was his son . . . and since North had started seeing Jack as his own son.

Honestly, he didn't know how Jack would react to finding out people thought this. Probably with anger. Possibly with violence. In fact, violence was probable too, if he could manage to inflict it on the Yule Goat, but that might just be for kidnapping him, and not specifically for mistaking him for North's son. But North could understand it if Jack was angry about that too. North had never even given him so much as a Christmas gift in his immortal life. They'd never even spoken before Manny picked Jack as the newest Guardian. North could see why it might make Jack angry if people thought he was Jack's father, given their situation.

But that aside, kidnapping Jack was still unacceptable. North could barely think straight he was so angry at the Yule Goat.

"I'm going to skin him like a rat!" shouted North, storming toward his sleigh's garage.

"North, wait!"

"Like a rat!" the Cossack shouted again.

"I'm coming too! No one messes with Frostbite but me!" declared Bunny, hopping right alongside North. Sandy followed too, punching one closed fist into his other hand, a dangerous look on his face.

"But North, the note says to meet him at the stable on Christmas Eve. Which means he's taking Jack there on Christmas Eve. They won't be there now. Or do you know where he is now?" Tooth asked hopefully.

"Hah! They are at stable now," North said with certainty.

"How do you know, mate?" asked Bunny.

"Because Yule Goat is a cursed fool! And soon he will be a cursed fool with no head!"

"You said it!" Bunny agreed.

"Well then, what are we waiting for?" asked Tooth.


They took the sleigh to the old stable where the Yule Goat lived. It didn't take long. By the time they got there, they still hadn't even decided on a plan of action.

"I say we crash in through the roof!" said Tooth. Sandy nodded and cracked his knuckles, backing her up.

"No, mate, we gotta be stealthy. Taking one of my tunnels up is the best way to go!"

"Ba! We bust down door, plain and simple!" North shouted.

"Like he's not going to be expecting you to do just that!"

"He won't! Yule Goat has sock for brains! He expects us to come on Christmas Eve like he says! It will never occur to that fool that we would come immediately!"

"Are you sure? Maybe that's exactly what he's expecting you to think!" said Bunny.

"Maybe if he has spontaneously developed something like intelligence. Which he hasn't. Yule Goat is simpleton! If he makes plan, he expects everything to happen according to plan! No backup plan!" said North as he pulled the sleigh up in front of the barn.

"So, if we use my tunnels," Bunny started to say as he hopped out of the but stopped talking abruptly as a chilling sound filled the air.

Jack's voice was unmistakable, as was the pain in his cry. All arguments about how to get in went out the window, and all four of the older Guardians charged the doors at once.

Before they reached the doors, another cry resounded. An unfamiliar, inhumane cry that North could not even begin to guess what made it. "MREOUWWWW!"

North crashed into the doors with enough force to knock them from their hinges. He charged right in overtop of them as they pounded into the ground, his swords at the ready.

Then he just stopped and stared.

The Yule Goat was there, yes, but he was already being mauled by a strange cat-like creature with a very long forked tail. North spotted Jack making a mad dash toward his staff where it stood in the corner. Jack snatched it up and spun around to face them, but then a smile spread across his face as he realized that it was them.

Then he looked back at the Yule Goat, and the creature that was tearing into it.

"Move, Crazy Cat!" he shouted. Instantly, the frenzied feline leapt out of the way, and Jack sent a stream of frostlight at the Yule Goat, encasing it completely in ice.

Then he laughed and leaned on his staff, looking tired, but elated, like this was the funniest thing he'd seen in a very long time. The cat-thing slunk up beside him, rubbing its head against his knees and purring, and Jack bent down to scratch its head before turning to his friends.

"Oh hi. You missed the party."

North found that his voice had left him between the shock of seeing that crazy cat attacking the Yule Goat and the relief he felt knowing Jack was okay.

"You alright there, Frostbite?" Bunny asked.

"Yeah. I'm good."

"Well, I'm glad to hear that. Just tell me one thing. What the bloody heck is that?" demanded Bunny, pointing his boomerang at the cat-thing.

The cat noticed his tone and bristled, arching its back and jumping in front of Jack to hiss at Bunny.

"Whoa, easy, Crazy Cat." Jack knelt down and picked the cat up, cradling it in his arms.

The cat nuzzled against his chin then gave the Guardians the smuggest look.

"This is Crazy Cat. He's a nekomata, and my friend," Jack said, resting his chin on top of Crazy Cat's head as the nekomata continued to give the Guardians a smug cat grin.

"Jack . . . nekomata . . . they're demons. They don't make good pets," said Tooth, looking at him oddly.

"He's not a pet. Not really. He's my friend," said Jack.

"Jack . . . maybe you should put it down," North suggested. He wasn't thrilled by the idea of Jack holding a cat demon.

"Maybe you shouldn't judge my friends. I mean, I just met your old friend, and he's a few sugar plums short of a fruitcake." Jack looked meaningfully at the Yule Goat, who was still encased in ice.

North sighed. "I'm sorry, Jack. He was my friend once. I did not know he harbored a grudge against me. And I never dreamed anyone would try to take revenge on me through you."

"Eh, it's not a big deal. I mean, it was annoying, but nothing I couldn't handle, especially with Crazy Cat's help. Best cat ever," said Jack. In his arms Crazy Cat purred loudly.

North swallowed his pride and addressed the nekomata. "Thank you, Crazy Cat, for coming to help Jack."

"Yes, thank you," agreed Tooth.

Sandy bowed deeply to the cat.

"You don't seriously expect me to thank that fleaball, do you?" Bunny asked looking disgruntled.

At the word "fleaball" Crazy Cat yowled and leapt out of Jack's arms. He charged Bunny, claws flailing, and Bunny reacted like most rabbits would in the position. He jumped. Then he ran.

"Get this bugger off me!"

"Crazy Cat, stop! Darn it, Bunny, you shouldn't have called him a fleaball! He hates that!" Jack shouted.

"Get it away! Get it away!"

"Crazy Cat, stop! Crazy Cat, come back here! Please, come back here?"

North couldn't help laughing as Bunny ran, followed by Crazy Cat, who in turn was followed by Jack, who had started flying after it.

"So, um, not to be a downer or anything, but the situation here seems pretty well taken care of, and you do have your job to get back to, North," Tooth reminded him.

"Right. Bunny, stop playing with cat!"

"Get this Tasmanian tiger away from me!"

"Crazy Cat! Crazy Cat, come on, stop!"

"Sandy? Can you do something?" asked North.

Sandy nodded and tossed a ball of dreamsand. It exploded over Bunny, sending both Bunny and Crazy Cat to sleep. Jack only narrowly avoided being sent to sleep too, by dodging sharply.

"Well, that's one way to take care of the problem," said the immortal teen, laughing as he watched Crazy Cat's dream of chasing fluffy bunnies.

North put a hand on Jack's shoulder, making him jump. "Jack . . . I am sorry for this happening. Please believe me –"

"I believe you, North. I'm not mad, it's not your fault. That goat thing is clearly a lunatic," Jack said. He grinned at North, then his expression suddenly changed, growing stunned, as if he'd just realized something.

"What is wrong?" North asked.

"I . . . it's right before Christmas. You stopped what you were doing . . . right before Christmas . . . and came to try and help me?" Jack asked, staring up at North wide eyed.

"Of course. You are part of family now."

Jack just stared at him and North wondered if he'd said the wrong thing. But then Jack reached up with his own hand and touched North's hand, which still rested on his shoulder.

"Umm . . . so I've kind of got something to do now . . . and for the next few days . . . but if the offer's still open . . . I could, you know, meet up with you on Christmas Eve and help you give the kids a white Christmas. Then . . . go back to the pole for a few hours and chill with you guys. But only if you want me to. If you changed your mind –"

"Nothing would make me happier," North said quickly.

A smile lit Jack's face and he looked so happy that it actually made North's heart ache for a moment. He wondered if this was how real fathers felt, seeing their sons so happy and knowing they had put that smile on their face.


I doubt I'll be able to update again before tomorrow's up, so I'll say it now: Merry Christmas everyone! Or Happy Holidays if you celebrate something other than Christmas!