A/N: Alright! Here's the last chapter, finally! It's a little more choppy than the other ones, but I liked how it turned out so I'm not going to change anything about it.
I wanted to send a special shout out to all my reviewers! You guys made it possible for me to continue writing this, even when I got frustrated with it. I would just read your comments and go, this is so worth it, keep writing, and BAM! a new chapter was done, so thank you!
And thank you to all of you who have favorited, followed, and read this story! It's been a fun adventure and turned out much longer than I planned but has been worth it none the less.
I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed it! So, without further ado, on to the story!
Disclaimer: I don't own Rise of the Guardians...
Jack had been a Guardian now for little over a year. Little over a year and Jack now viewed North, Sandy, Bunny, and Tooth as family. That's why he felt positively terrible about the situation they all now found themselves in.
It had started out as a fairly normal night; Jack had been flying beside Sandy, delivering a healthy dose of frost and snow to a small English town as Sandy spun dreams for the children of the world. They would occasionally pass a tooth fairy coming or going and would wave before carrying on their way.
But that all changed when they ran into Tommy Rawhead, or Bloody Bones as he was known to the children.
Tommy generally kept to the staircases in which he hid, although none of the Guardians knew what he did down there. Tonight, however, he seemed bent on wrecking havoc and getting revenge and he was obviously very well prepared.
Jack and Sandy put up quite a fight, but it was hard when you were battling against the bloody bones of children long since dead, and they soon found themselves overwhelmed.
"Why are you doing this, Tommy?" Jack shouted as he was forced into something that was little more than a cage, similar to the ones Pitch had trapped the tooth fairies in.
"I told you never to call me that! I'm Bloody Bones, not Tommy."
"That doesn't answer my question," Jack pointed out. He spun around, attempting to slip back out of the cage before Tommy could close it, but he felt weak and light headed suddenly.
The cage door closed behind him and Jack watched helplessly as Sandy was thrown into another cage, larger than his, and locked in. Sandy was still unconscious from a nasty whack to the head he had received during their fight.
"Like them?" Tommy asked, tapping the side of one of the cages. "I invented them myself. Took a long time of collecting fear, anger, loneliness, pain, and some other things, but here they are."
"What did you do to me?" Jack asked, sinking down as his head spun. He felt dry, parched, and suddenly swelteringly hot.
"It's the cages," Tommy said, voice pleasant. "They block the powers of immortals. No ice from you, not that you could use it without this," Tommy held up Jack's staff. Jack held his tongue at Tommy's mistake.
Why does everyone think that my powers come from that stick? Jack wondered to himself. Honestly. How much power could a stick really hold?
"No sand from Sandman," Tommy continued, not being privy to Jack's thoughts. "And no powers from the others either, when they get here."
"The others?" Jack asked.
Tommy's mouth broke into a wide grin. "Wouldn't want you to get lonely now, would we?"
And with that, he left.
It didn't take much longer for the others to arrive, although not in the way that Jack was hoping. No, they arrived in generally the same condition as Jack and Sandy, meaning they had been captured. North and Bunny were both knocked out cold, but Tooth was awake and fighting still.
Tommy opened the cage that Sandy was in and directed the skeletons holding the others to toss them inside. The effects were just as immediate on Tooth as they had been on Jack, and she landed on her knees, wings fluttering uselessly.
Tommy studied them, and then made an announcement. "I will return when everyone has woken."
With that, he once again took his leave.
Tooth looked around and spotted Jack in the cage beside theirs. "Jack, oh Jack, are you okay? What's going on? What does he want? Why are you over there? Ugh, I feel awful, what has he done?"
"It's these cages," Jack said. He knew how Tooth felt, but there was nothing he could do for her, or anyone else. "He's somehow found a way to block us from using our powers."
"That's awful!" Tooth said. Her shrill exclamation woke Sandy, who started and looked around. He sat up, a questioning look on his face, but no sand appeared above his head.
"Sandy?" Jack asked, wishing he was with the others. "Are you alright?"
Sandy concentrated for a second, but nothing happened. His shoulders drooped and he shook his head sadly.
"Wha is going on?" North asked, startling awake and looking around. "Wha happened?"
"Ugh, my head feels like a cracked egg shell," Bunny moaned sitting up. "Where is that bloody bleeder? I'm gonna kill him."
Jack filled them in on what he knew, which wasn't much.
"Why would he want revenge on us?" Tooth asked.
"Cause he's a blooming psycho," Bunny muttered.
"Uh," Jack said. He had thought that the others had run into Tommy before, and so he would be after them all equally, but he suddenly realized that wasn't the case. Apparently he was the only one to have had the pleasure of meeting the cupboard under the stairs boogeyman.
"What is it Jack?" North asked.
"Well," Jack began.
"As touching as this is," Tommy interrupted, sweeping into the room that held them. "I feel as if I should explain this story."
Jack turned to glare at Tommy.
"You see, it happened about, oh, let's say, 200 years ago, does that sound right, Jack?" Jack nodded, eyes narrowing. "So, 200 years ago, I was minding my own business, when Jack here decided to attack me. Can you believe it? I was only doing what I was made to do, and here comes Frost, destroying my beautiful work."
"You were killing children," Jack hissed.
"Well, anyway," Tommy went on, waving a hand dismissively and ignoring what Jack said. "He attacked me, out of nowhere, and sent me back to my cupboard, too weak to do anything. Anything but plan. And I've been planning this for a long time. Of course, it's even better now that he's a Guardian and has the four of you. It will make my revenge all the sweeter."
"Revenge?" Bunny asked. "By what I hear, he did the right thing."
"From you're perspective," Tommy said. "But no matter. I will defeat the Guardians and surpass that uppity Pitch Black. I will be the most feared Boogeyman in the world!"
"And what do you plan on doing?" North asked.
Tommy grinned. "Why, destroy Jack Frost, of course."
"He's an immortal, mate, you can't destroy him," Bunny pointed out.
"Sure, he won't die," Tommy said. "But he can suffer." He held up Jack's staff. "As can you. But, I really have no quarrels with you, so I will make you a deal."
Jack sat frozen in his cage, separated from the others, and watched as Tommy approached his family. Slowly, Tommy slipped the staff into the cage with North and the others before backing away once more.
"What's the deal?" Bunny asked, picking up the staff.
Tommy smiled. "If you break that, I will let you go. As simple as that," he said.
Outrage shone on the four faces in the cage. "And if we be refusing?" North asked.
"Then you remain here," Tommy stated. "Indefinitely. Or, until you break the staff. I'm not picky."
Jack looked up and met his friends' faces. He offered a small nod to them, telling them to break it.
"And what happens to Jack?" North asked.
"Oh, he stays here," Tommy said. "With me. And the knowledge that you betrayed him. But what would that matter to you? You'll be free."
The others glanced at Jack once more and he nodded, urging them to break the staff. Once they were free they could come for him, and once he was free he could fix his staff.
"No," North said, folding his arms over his chest. "We refuse."
Tommy's face morphed into outrage before he schooled it back into a mask of calm. "Very well," he said. "But I will leave it with you, in case you change your mind."
Tommy swept from the room, the door slamming behind him.
"Just break it, guys," Jack said, turning to face them once more.
"Not gonna happen, mate," Bunny said, setting the staff aside carefully.
"But I can fix it, you know that," Jack said.
Sandy shook his head, arms crossed over his chest. They all looked exhausted, drained, and Jack knew he didn't look much better. He knew it was the cages sapping their strength, he just wondered how much longer they could last in them.
"Oh, for! Just break the thing so you all can get out of here, get me out of here, and let me fix it!" Jack shouted, although it came out rather raspy and he had no strength to even make a hand gesture while ranting.
"No," Tooth said. "We will just have to figure out another way."
"Then hand it over here and I'll break it," Jack said. The thought stressed him more than he was willing to admit. He didn't want his staff broken again, especially since it hadn't been very long since the last time he had broken it, and the second to last time was really only a little over a year ago.
Besides the fact that it hurt when his staff broke, although Jack would never admit that. But yes, it hurt. It felt like someone was reaching in and pulling his heart from his chest and each time it happened it got worse. And the idea of his friends, his family doing it, well, Jack wasn't sure he could handle it.
And each time he fixed it, it seemed to take more energy from him, more focus. The last time had knocked Jack out for another three days, which had put winter behind schedule, not that Jack really cared, he always did what he wanted, but still. Three days of recuperating after fixing his broken staff. It was the longest he had ever had to spend recuperating, and that included the time spent recovering after Pitch's attack and the adrenaline wore off.
So, truth be told, Jack didn't want his staff broken. But, if it meant getting his friends, his family, out of these awful cages, he would do it. He had to do it.
"No," North said firmly.
"Why not?" Jack asked.
"Because mate," Bunny said. "It's obvious breaking your staff isn't very fun for you, nor is fixing it as easy as you would like us to think. We'll figure something else out, but your staff stays in once piece."
The other three Guardians nodded at their youngest, who sat back, stunned. Sure, he viewed the others as his family, realized that he would do anything for them, but he hadn't thought they cared for him just as much.
Now he realized how wrong he was.
"But, what are we going to do then?" Jack asked.
"I'm thinking," North said, and he settled down on the floor of the cage beside the others.
Jack wasn't sure how long they sat, tossing ideas around about how to escape, but he knew it was quite a while, and the magic of the cages was draining each of them.
"That won't work either," Bunny said, shooting down yet another idea listlessly.
"I have nothing else, then," North said, looking defeated.
"Me either," Bunny sighed. Sandy shook his head and Tooth looked close to tears. Jack was wracking his brain, but he knew there was nothing else he could do. Without their powers, they couldn't do anything.
He bit his lip, before forcing down his apprehension. He could do this, for them, for his family.
"Hand me my staff," Jack said, reaching through the bars for it.
"No Jack," North said. "We won't break it."
"We don't want to hurt ya, mate," Bunny said.
"But there's no other way out," Jack said. "And, and, you won't be the ones hurting me, I'll be the one doing it."
"Jack," Tooth said. "That's just as bad."
"If not worse," Bunny muttered.
"Please," Jack said, looking at them, begging them. "Please. Let me do this for you. I'll be okay, I promise. Just, please let me do this. It's my fault we're here in the first place."
"Not true," North said. "You were just doing Guardian job, even before you were Guardian. Is all our fault."
"Still," Jack said. "We don't have another choice."
The others looked at each other. They knew they were out of options, they knew breaking Jack's staff was the only chance they had of getting out of there, but they couldn't do it. They couldn't betray Jack like that.
"Please," Jack whispered. "I can't be here anymore."
And that broken plea did it. It was obvious to the others that Jack was not handling being caged here well at all. Not only were the cages sapping their powers, but the heat was stifling to them, which meant it had to be unbearable to the winter spirit.
"Alright mate," Bunny said, picking up the staff. "Just, promise you'll be okay, right?"
"I promise," Jack said, although with how weak he felt, how drained, he wasn't sure if that was true. But if it got his family out of there, he would do it, even if it killed him.
Jack reached for his staff once more.
"Oh Jack," Tooth said. "We're not going to make you do it."
Jack was surprised at how well they seemed to understand his connection with the staff and the wind. Jack was prepared to break it, but he knew it would cost him dearly, because that staff represented a friendship that had lasted through his whole life. Jack was prepared to break it, but he knew that it would be like ripping out his own heart.
"We'll get you out mate, we promise," Bunny said, twirling the fragile wood in his paws. Sandy nodded in agreement.
"Alright," North said. "Let's get this done quickly, so we can all go home."
North took one end, Bunny held the other, and Tooth and Sandy stood to the side, eyes never leaving Jack's, who was watching in apprehension.
"One," North said.
"Two," Bunny counted.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," a new voice interrupted and everyone looked up to see the last people they expected to see enter the room.
"Turkey?" Jack asked, amazement filling his eyes.
"Hey," Walter Turkey said, waving a hand. Jack looked beyond the turkey man to see Groundhog, May Flowers, Summer Heat, and even April Showers all standing there, looking worn out, slightly scratched up, but there.
"What are you doing here?" Jack asked as smiles spread onto the faces of the other Guardians.
"Coming to help our fellow legends, of course," April said. She didn't meet Jack's eyes as she walked forward, a set of keys in hand, and unlocked Jack's cage.
"Thanks," Jack said, scrambling from the cage. The sudden rush of power back made him stumble, but a large, furry paw caught him.
"Careful there," Groundhog said, making sure Jack was steady on his feet before letting go.
The others helped the rest of the Guardians from their cage and Bunny walked over to Jack, handing him his staff back, still in one piece.
"Thanks," Jack said.
"Thank all of you!" North shouted, laughing. "We could not have done without you."
"But why did you help us?" Jack asked. "Not that I'm not grateful, it's just, last time we met wasn't on the best of terms."
"About that," Groundhog said. "We're sorry. Really sorry. We didn't realize how wrong we were."
"But," April said, still unable to look at Jack. "We realized how wrong we were, especially once we heard about Bloody Bones and what you did for the children all those years ago."
"And all the things you've done for the children over the years," Summer added.
"You were a Guardian long before they made it official," May said. "We just couldn't see it."
Jack didn't know what to say. He was stunned that these people were even here, let alone that they were apologizing to him and commending him for the few times he had saved children's lives.
"We're sorry, Jack," April said. "And if you can't forgive us, we understand. We just wanted to let you know."
Jack laughed. "Forgive you? I forgave you a long time ago," Jack said. He laughed some more at the stunned look on April's face, but soon everyone began laughing.
"Hahaha," North's laughter boomed, shaking the room they were in. "Is good to have friends, no? Let us go celebrate with big feast! Everyone invited."
"Yeah," Groundhog said. "And we should get out of here. Bloody Bones shouldn't be bothering anyone anytime soon, but it's probably better if we don't stick around his lair."
"Then what are we waiting for?" Bunny asked. He tapped his foot to the ground, and before anyone could say anything they were all falling into a large tunnel, Bunny hopping in behind them.
Jack laughed as he landed lightly on his feet at Santoff Claussen, the other legends spilling on the floor around him. He looked at them all as he held his staff in his hand, leaning on it, and realized one thing.
With friends like these, he may never have to fix his staff again.
And there you have it. I couldn't leave the other legends being such meanies, so they made another appearance as the good guys! YAY!
So, I may be doing a companion piece to the fifth chapter, I still haven't decided quite yet, although I have already written half of it I'm not sure I like it, so we shall see.
Hope you all enjoyed this story, it was fun!