Title: Found One Snowy Evening
Rating: K+/T (basically, PG)
Characters (besides Jack): North
Genre: Family/Slight Angst/General
Summary: North could not believe the compassion and guilt Jack felt for such small creatures.
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Early December was made a beautiful, pure white with the snow he brought. Dancing off buildings and twirling on telephone poles, Jack hit every corner and crack of all the neighboring towns and filled in the cracks with ice and painted the windows with frost.
Children running about in the late evening chased his snow, growing heavier with his happiness with their laughter of "snow day!" and "don't even bother with homework tonight!"
Very few children outside Burgess knew of Jack's being and, although it made him upset, it allowed him to leap through the towns and embrace his snowflakes without hurry.
After his snow kept falling and falling and falling, Jack took rest on the corner of a building, breathing in the ice and the cold and the scent of winter. Everything was beautiful, flawless with the white covering up the imperfections of each city and Jack relaxed his the true residence of where he belongs in the middle of all his snow.
The guardian of fun listened to the carrying voices of excited children and of dismayed parents and even picking up on the thunderous sound of every snowflake finding its home somewhere (though that was something only the spirit of winter could hear).
But, above all the cheers and groans and welcomes of new inhabitants of the ground, Jack could hear something new.
A lot of whimpers.
The sound of desperate, scared wail among all the usual noises of winter.
Jack followed the short distance of the whines to the alley directly below him. His feet made no audible sound as he landed and followed the high pitched yelps to a box just feet away from the sidewalk. He reached the the cardboard container and peered inside.
Four balls of fur and wide eyes shivered in their huddled group, crying out from the bottom of their box which, Jack felt awful about, was now covered in snow. The creatures, with little snowflakes on their snouts looked up at him with such hope that Jack flinched with how undeserving he was of the look of a savior.
It didn't matter if he stopped his oncoming storm as the air would remain too cold for them to survive. Jack tugged at his hair as a feeling of sick guilt engulfed his stomach; he could only make the weather colder, he could never make it warmer.
The winter spirit could not rip his hoodie off fast enough and bare his torso to the world and shake it to throw off the snow the built up on it. He picked up each bundle of fur and warmth and placed them onto his hoodie, thankfully much too big for him, but just big enough to fit all four animals.
Jack cradled the delicate package close to his chest and chewed his lip in worry and thought.
Where to now?
No animal shelters were open.
He couldn't trust the children's parents to allow an animal into their home - no matter how adorable they were.
The Warren would be warmest, but he had no way to contact Bunnymund without one of his stupid tunnels.
The Tooth Palace would be good, but the creatures needed immediate warmth, not just a place of adequate temperature.
So the only place left...
It would dangerous and no doubt stupid to take the shivering animals through the blizzards in the north pole, but he could manage it.
"Just hang tight little guys," he whispered. "I'll get you warm."
Early December was a busy time for Nicholas St. North and his yetis, they had a few measly weeks before the night they were destined for.
So when a pounding knock on his door echoed throughout the workshop, North grumbled all the way to the entrance that whoever decided to bother him better have a very good reason.
Staggering up to his full height with an annoyed expression, he threw open his door and stopped his speech before it he could begin when a shirtless winter spirit tumbled through the door.
"Hi, North!" The teen shouted breathlessly as he flew down the hall, narrowly avoiding yetis and elves alike, ignoring each shout of bewilderment, zooming past each corner with no care for his safety.
North attempted to run after the winter spirit to make sure nothing was wrong with Jack (but then again, when wasn't something always wrong with Jack?), but after his first ten steps, he chose to simply walk.
Winded, he found Jack - by pursuing the fallen elves and grumpy yetis - in the main lounge room, still shirtless, sitting closer to the fire than the winter spirit should, and coddling and stroking his hoodie.
"Jack?" The winter spirit looked up from his shirt and over to the man in red with surprised eyes, as if he forgot it was North's home he intruded into. "What is problem? Why fly through halls so fast and scare elves like you did?"
The winter spirit's face flushed violet and he stood up, leaving his bundled up sweatshirt on the floor, and walked over to North with a hand awkwardly scratching the back of his neck. North could see the unhealthy glean of sweat on the boy's face "I...uh...I needed some place warm for them," he gestured to the sweatshirt.
"Them? Who is 'them'?" North stepped past Jack and over to the hoodie on the ground by the fire. As he got closer, he could see each small movements, little jerks, in the bundle.
He reached out and folded the top of the hoodie back to see four, light brown puppies with pointed ears and wet noses shivering in the makeshift bed Jack made for them.
"Jack," North's eyes studied the pups, "why do you have dogs?"
"I...I..." the younger spirit couldn't answer and the elder of the two looked up. Jack's face was no longer flustered or violet with embarrassment; instead, he kept his eyes down with an expression that just looked deeply ashamed.
"Jack, what is wrong?"
"I...created a storm," he whispered in guilt. "I heard them crying, they...they were so cold. I can't believe I never even thought about looking for strays. I would never hurt an animal on purpose, North!" He tried to convince Father Christmas who already believed him. "I would never let anything happen to them if I could help it." His voice broke and Jack put a hand to his face to hide his shame. "I...I'm sorry."
"Jack, there is nothing to be sorry for!" North reached out and placed a hand on the boy's shoulder and lifted his chin with the other. "You saw problem and you sought solution. You could have left them out in the cold, but you did good thing and brought them somewhere warm."
"I just can't believe I almost hurt them. I did hurt them. I can't believe I almost let them d-," Jack shook his head, willing the words away and brought his bottom lip between his teeth.
"Jack Frost," North said sternly and the boy looked up with sad eyes that tugged at the guardian of wonder's heart. "You are good boy - good guardian. You protected them and they will be safe now because of you. Cold weather happens without you. It is good thing you found them before it was too late. They would have not lasted winter if you had not found them."
The sad eyes melted away into disbelief, then understanding, then gratitude and North inwardly sighed happily that Jack no longer looked...broken.
"I will have yetis bring food for them, they can stay as long as you need them to."
"Can I stay here with them?" Eyes wide with pleading. "Please? I have to make sure they're okay."
"Of course, silly boy! You must stay further away from fire though."
The wide eyes filled with such warmth from gratitude made the fire behind the boy seem cold in comparison.
Early December was a relaxing time for North as he sat down later that evening and watched the four snoozing puppies, now each covered with blankets, kick each other in their sleep with Jack nearby curling protectively around them in his own slumber.
RotG Fact: The only words Sandy has ever said were to a fearling: "You are not real. You are not true. You are nothing."
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