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Howdy~ I know I should be updating Saving the Guardians, but you see… when an idea like this takes hold, it's a Pitbull; it latches on and doesn't let go till I've given it what it wants… Funny how I say that 'cause I've never owned a Pitbull… Anywho, I would just like to state a few things *besides that fact that I don't own these amazing characters*.
1) I just finished watching "Lawless", and that southern hick accent is all up in my head, so if it leaks into my writing, bear with me, okay?
2) I have two versions of this. The first one is what you are about to read; it's the "regular" ROTG style one. However, the next one is a more AUV (version) with the ROTG characters as humans. You can read both or you can read just one. It's up to you.
3) This story (adding this after I finished it) seems to be a completion of a lot of my STRESS built up inside, and put in raw, not a lot of detail, baboom form. So, yes, this is a raw "prototype" that I most likely won't go back to and fix because let's face it... I need the practice.
Everybody experiences pain more than one time in their lives.
Soft pain like stubbing your toe or hitting your hip on a table.
Sharp pain, be it a physical fight or too hard physical contact.
And then there's the Harsh pain.
See, you can't take words back. It doesn't work like that. Once they've left your mouth, it's too late. Hell, by the time your vocal cords and brain have decided to form the letters, it's too late.
So tell me… have you ever experienced a pain like that? A harsh, deep abiding pain that rips at you the way a lion will tear into a gazelle, or a wolf tears into a rabbit? A rabbit… Funny how that comes to mind now; with all that's been said and done. You'd think I wouldn't give a damn about rabbits at this point, seeing as to how this is my entire fault. But… He did set things into motion. Now, I'm not saying they would never have gotten started in the first place, but I wouldn't have minded the reality of it all just staying at bay a little longer…
I'm dying. And if you care to know how I got here, you can go on listening to me; otherwise you might as well just back out now and leave me talking to myself like a loony. Maybe you'll be touched deep in the heart and your love will save me…
"But none of them believe in you, do they mate? You're invisible to them…" You could've heard a pin drop. The silence lasted less than ten seconds, but by the time Tooth intervened, my cold, frozen heart had stopped beating, and I was covering up the tears in my eyes with a smirk, which Bunnymund responded to just as easily.
Oh, you feel real mighty now, don't you, you damn kangaroo. But what if you knew? Would you give a damn?
"Bunny, that's enough-" Tooth leaped forward, breaking the tense silence we had been wrapped in. Yet he still smirked, he didn't even apologize.
Who am I kidding, of course you wouldn't.
I brushed it off, just as easily as the sentence had flown from his bucktoothed mouth. Just brushed if off with smirks and sarcasm; the way I've always dealt with this fact… the fact that I am invisible to the children who I care for so much, who I love and fly with and start snowball fights with. Kids who, always being warned by their parents that I'll nip at their noses, grow up themselves only to tell their children to dress warmly, least I come and freeze them to death.
Kids who have never seen me or believed in me for one second, telling their children to watch out for a- a- an apparition. That's all I was. Someone to bring joy, but never be loved back.
Bunnymund's words hurt; worse than if someone had put burning coals in my stomach. It's the only reason I can come up with for why the tears burned in my eyes.
But I moved on. As I always did when I came to the truth so blatantly spoken by him. Damn that Easter Kangaroo. Damn him.
Anyways, if you believe the stories Jamie has surely told, I became a Guardian, the one and only Guardian of Fun; creating blizzards for the kids to play in on snow days, and beautiful frost pictures on your windowsill to enjoy as a work of art. The way he tells it makes me come off as a legend; not that I'm complaining of course.
And we all moved on with our lives. North back to his Yetis and psycho elves to prepare for Christmas, Tooth and Sandy to their never-ending jobs of collecting "memory-teeth" and gifting children with dreams. Pitch back to whatever hell-hole he climbed up from, chased and consumed by his own Nightmares… and Bunnymund back to his egg babies, preparing for another Easter. An Easter where I come into no contact with any of his eggs, or have anything to do with the holiday itself.
And me? Well, I just went back to my lake after seeing North and the others get settled back into their routine. I just slipped out the door and rode the wind home, not waiting for any offers to stay with North; or rather, not waiting to hear the empty awkward silence that would follow their unsaid offers. I just slipped away like I didn't even exist… Just one more thing to add to the List.
Then, I just settled up in my lonesome tree, pulled my hood up over my eyes and sighed. What, did you think I, Jack "Guardian of Fun" Frost, was going to cry? Nuh uh, 'cause while I may have slipped out unnoticed, I wouldn't stay missing for long. More likely than not, Sandy would be tasked with the job of finding me, seeing as to how we were closer than the others, and I don't want him to see how weak I am; not after what just transpired I mean, come on! Nope, I just sighed 'bout half a million times, trying to stuff away the Feelings and List just a little longer.
About an hour later, lo' behold, Sandy shows up at my doorstep- err tree. He lights down beside me with a swishy kind of sound; like sand being tossed around in a jar. I force a smile, and he graces me with one of his own. And we just sit there in silence; no pictures, no words, just our mutual breathing and separate musings.
I think back on the past couple of days, about how desperate it seemed when Tooth lost her little helpers, about helping Baby Tooth and the competition with North, Sandy and Bunnymund to see who could collect the most teeth. About Pitch breaking my staff after I refused his offer (I was torn inside; pair up with someone who understands my anguish, someone who won't say such careless things – or stay true to the others). Being tossed into an ice crevice, finding my memories and discovering my past. Fighting back, saving the day, getting a family and believers. Oh, it was peaches and cream if you thought about it. But there was a memory that kept pushing inconsistently at me. A harsh, cold memory from that time, and I refused to let it rear its ugly head; not until Sandy was out of range. I didn't want him snooping around in my dreams and reporting back to North of his findings.
Pushing down the bitter taste in my mouth, I turn to look at Sandy, and find him staring at the Man in the Moon.
A little part of me broke inside at the scene. I'd been flaking little by little at first, but now I was sure that the falling apart part was going to happen at any moment.
The Man in the Moon. He who couldn't be bothered to tell me why I was here, what my purpose was. He who took away my life, my sister, my family, my memories… He who single handedly drove me insane with his silence, only to rip away my crumbling world and toss me into another one that was too suffocating for a person like me. He who didn't give a damn for 300 years whether I lived or died until I suddenly became a convenience to use. And here sat Sandy, gazing in reverence at the full, lily white orb, probably feeling grateful to MiM for sending me or just helping save the children in general.
Well, that's all it was about, right? Not saving Jack's soul, or showing him back to his life. It was just to protect a generation of children from another monster He'd made.
I wanted to shake Sandy and yell at him Wake up! Can't you see? He doesn't care about you. Or Me. Or any of the others. And the ONLY reason why we're here is to make sure children believe in magic, believe in HIM.
I reach out, my pale hand trembling ever so slightly, and place it on Sandy's shoulder. His head suddenly is riveted on me, he smiles broadly and I know…
I know that my words would not wake him up to the truth that I so plainly see.
I know that I am the only one who feels this way, feels so harshly forgotten and enslaved by my own mind.
I know that I am lying to myself and trying to put my blame on others who may have had a hand in my demise, but did not drive me to it.
And I know that I am going to die alone.
I smile back at him and nod my head before standing up, grabbing my staff, and letting the wind whisk me away to someplace far, far away from humans, Guardians and the Moon.
I don't know where I am. Where the wind took me. It's the same place, though, each time I want to escape. I don't even have to whisper it because it already knows. It feels the heaviness leaking out of me; it feels the pain and desperation pouring off of me.
So here I am, curled into a ball on a wooden floor, where dust and dirt spiral around me. Frost slides over the ground like a crystalline skating ballerina, creating figure eights and complicated patterns on the floor around me, forming a thin icy bed that I wind up lying on. I don't shiver. I don't sweat. I don't cry or wail or scream. I just breathe.
In. Out. In. Out.
I take in the rusty, yet wet earth smells around me. If there had been drapes, you could bet they'd be floating lazily on the breeze coming through the glassless windows. The walls creak with age, and in the distance I can hear a brook bubbling. This place is my Shack, my Sanctuary where I do as I please without interruption. Without judgment. Without help.
I hate it.
But I can't contemplate it now; I never have time to anyways. Because the List and the Feelings take over not soon after the ballerina stops her dance and wilts into the ground.
It always starts the same way. First, with a sharp stab in the abdomen, like those hot coals from before have frozen up and are now trying to rip their way out. Then, a sort of cold sweat follows, drenching me before the flashbacks even begin. My head pounds and I swear, for the minutes that it does, I can see sounds. I end up twisting over to try and appease the pain, to make it go away, but it only gets worse and I become stuck, like a heavy boulder was suddenly dropped on my chest, pushing all of the air out of me.
Then, the flashbacks. These drive me insane, because they're really the List in picture form. They take all of my mistakes; from the smallest thing such as not creating a snow day and disappointing children to the biggest… which recently was ruining Easter, and sending Bunnymund down the road I walked for 300 years: he became invisible to the children. It nearly destroyed him.
He was right about you, you know. You destroy everything you touch.
But the best part? My voices.
You should have been there, protecting the tunnels. Instead you run off on a fancy and left the Eggs to rot at the hands of Pitch!
A fancy. A selfish need that almost killed Baby Tooth. Never mind yourself, you brat, you could've killed Baby Tooth; frozen her to death.
Frozen. Frost. Now that you remember what happened, don't you feel so brave? You saved your sister; only to damn her to a lifetime of guilt!
You couldn't even get her to believe in you! What a joke you are. Do you seriously think that after 300 years of being invisible, you are suddenly top stuff because you're a Guardian and a handful of children believe in you!?
That's right, Jacky. You're still a worthless, invisible twerp. You said it yourself; the Man in the Moon USED you for his own deeds, his own desires. You're a whore, Jacky. Made immortal by Him, kept in waiting for 300 years, and then used to your limit after all that time. You're a one night stand, an eternal whore!
A tool to be used at will.
"Sh-shut up." But whispers can't be heard over shouts.
Why you crying Jacky? You know it's the truth. Why shy away from it forever? It was bound to be brought up sometime, and now that Bunny's hit the sweet spot, why not keep pounding for more?
Take it in, Jack, like the whore you are! You can cry and beg for it to stop, but you know you like it, you THRIVE on this. What would you be without us, Jack? An empty shell, a forgotten face, a used up old name.
Even Pitch, forgotten for so many years, was given more thought than you! And even HE scoffed and ignored you until it was in his best interests not to.
Now the voices were vicious, attacking at old wounds, splitting wide open freshly healed ones. They drove me mad, to the brink of insanity to where I believed the Voices were in the room with me… But they were just in my head. Taunting me, leading me along to an end I knew was near. Trembling, as they laughed and shrieked at me, I managed to drag myself over to the old fireplace. Now, they were calling for blood, demanding payment for their wrath… and I grabbed the broken grate, so sharp after these years, and paid them their due.
I was lying when I said I smelled rust. There's no metal but that small sliver of grate I grasped in my hand. No, because the rust on the ground, pooling there now, is my blood. Trailing crimson tears along my snow white skin.
Marring me for all to see…
And it continued like this. For days, weeks, months. An entire year of hatred, anger and pity slung across my arms hidden by the blue hoodie's sleeves. And no one knew my dirty little secret.
The Guardians, they thought they'd become like second family to me. Closer than blood even.
If only they knew how close their words brought them to me… then maybe that last statement would chill them.
Finally, I just couldn't take it. Finally, the straw that broke the camel's back. The kangaroo who overstepped the line, and the one person I thought I could trust most betrayed me.
I guess Sandy has eyes and ears everywhere.
The day before Christmas; one of North's busiest times. A day when Bunny is in full swing too because Spring will be soon upon us. So, receiving a summons from either one would be enough to send someone into a panic… but to be called by both of them and the rest of the Guardians had me willing to ship out of the country, the world and onto Pluto.
And I did the worst thing possible; I sucked it up and went. I should have turned tail and ran right then and there. I could've hid out someplace, somewhere deep underground where Sandy couldn't find me and Bunny couldn't dig to. Or gone so high up in the mountains, Tooth and North couldn't fly for fear of hitting a mountain in the clouds.
Instead, I pretended to be alright. I plastered a smile on my face, threw a hood over my eyes, tugged down the sleeves so they covered the scars, and walked into North's workshop, full of smirks, bitterness and in all my barefoot glory.
"Jack, we need to talk." It was the first thing I heard, and would have been the last except someone (probably Phil) slammed shut the door behind me. I was committed, whether I liked it or not.
Shrugging, I shoved my hands in my pockets and swayed forward. "Sure, what's it about, Tooth?" Something should have been going off in my head (like a warning bell, perhaps) when she didn't offer me a seat. Hell, I should've been suspicious from the get- go. But like an idiot I stood there until all of the Guardians were assembled in front of me, worried from their heads to their toes. Even as I started to realize what had happened, I stuck with the act, determined to milk it for all its worth.
"Jack, well, you see, for the past couple of months… umm-"
"Oh, don't sugar coat it for him, Tooth. Look, Jack, Sandy's been telling us about your 'dreams', and we want to know w-"
"Wait, what?" My stomach was no longer coal hot, or icy cold. In fact, my stomach dropped out of me and into the ground when I heard Bunny's straight-forward statements. Sandy knew? Was my first thought. And then my second was: The little bastard ratted me out! Already, I could feel the burning sensation start in my feet. A cold-hot feeling I knew all too well. Slowly it made its way up my body, from my calves to my hips, up through my stomach, into my heart, and eventually heating my face as they spoke.
"We've tried talking to you before, but you always sidestep us!" Tooth tried to explain. "Jack, we're your family now, and family tells each other what's hurting them inside. We want to help you, heal you. But you have to let us in."
"Let you in?"
"Look, mate, how do you think we felt when we had to learn, second hand, from Sandy that you were driving yourself… mad with… with…" Bunnymund couldn't even come up with a name for what was wrong with me. Hell, neither could I, but it made me even madder when he tried to categorize me like some lab specimen; some statistic to measure, analyze and fix.
"Oh? Well from what I hear, you think I'm just some statistic to fix, a number gone wrong, don't you?" I could feel my eyes narrow on my face. My mouth tightening, my shield crumbling. It was only made of glass anyways. A fool could have seen through it.
"Jack, stop it and listen to yourself! This is not like you! Let's just calm down and-"
"And what North? Talk things out? Well guess what, I've BEEN talking things out with myself for the past 301 years. I've BEEN listening to myself the whole time, and analyzing. So here, I'll TELL you what I've found. I'm a low-down, useless tool to be used when most convenient for you all. Someone to be forgotten and not given a rat's ass about until he's needed to save the children!"
"Jack! The children are a cause to put above each of ourselves. They are our reason for living!"
"Maybe for you. But not me. No, it wasn't for me for 300 years. And for those centuries, I was forgotten, ignored, stepped on and stepped through. The children are safe, so what about Jack? Huh? North, you've been busy with Christmas preparations, Tooth, you've got a day and night job, just like Sandy, when he can find time between eavesdropping on conversations where he's not wanted," I snapped, glaring in bitter agony at Sandy. The anger was there, but it was fueling the sourness inside me.
"Jack, apologize to Sandy this instant! He was only trying to help you-"
"By what, Tooth? Hmm? Gathering data to be analyzed, like a freaking animal? I don't think so. I'm not apologizing for any damn thing at this point. You wanted to talk, well I'm talking! And you, Bunny… I know Spring's coming up, but don't you think the eggs can run on their own for a bit? Did ANY of you think "Hey, maybe I'll take the day off and let the yetis or fairies take over and visit my old pal Jack. He is family after all."" By that point, I was huffing, backing up and huffing. They were looking at me like I'd just grown another head. We stood there in silence punctuated by my huffs and puffs.
"Jack…" Bunny was the first to speak up. "What do you mean… conversations?" My eyes widened as I realized my mistake, only too late. "Jack, who's telling you these things about yourself? They aren't truths, they're lies." I took a stupid second to wonder how he knew what the Voices told me, then I realized that Sandy probably told them everything. And that second was all Bunny needed to scoot close enough to put a paw on my shoulder, look down on me in worry, and embrace me. I was caught off guard so badly I could barely hear his next words clearly: "We're gonna make it through this Jack."
That snapped me out of it and I violently shoved him away from me. "No… you might, but I'm not." And before they could register what it was I meant, I was off, the wind carrying me away from my "family". Away from the shouts of my name. From the pressure. The words. The caring….
Away from help.
Tears stung my eyes as I was carried to the cabin. They'd look there first, I knew it, but I had to grab the grating first. It was now a part of me. Inside my head, I heard the Voices screeching at me, mocking me.
You slipped up Jacky, and now you have to fix it. Fix your mistakes. Fix it. Fix it!
"I am," I hiccupped out. "I am." And woosh, I was gone again, to my lake. Where it all began.
The Moon was not out, he was hibernating and I had the bitter happiness of seeing him in his New Moon form. Couldn't care enough to see me die. I laughed between the sobs. How could I hold it in at this irony. The Man in the Moon saved me after I died accidentally, and now, he would not see me to safety as I took my life purposefully.
And then, I unceremoniously slit my wrists. Smoothly. Jaggedly. Deeply. The serrated grate tugged and pulled free, falling from my dripping grasp onto the pristine ice. I stumbled forward on to my knees, my staff once clutched to tightly falling beside me with bloody handprint stains.
I sobbed to the point where my body began to convulse, and I fell to my side, hitting the ice hard once more, covering my ears from the Voices.
You weakling! You're gonna get up, cry for help!
"N-n-o, I w-w-wo-won't!"
Shut up! With all of the noise you're making, they're probably on their way right now. Already breaking a promise you couldn't keep.
"I'm sorry," I whispered tightly, my throat closing up as I held in, to no avail, my wailing.
Just how you promised your sister you'd protect her. Well, Jacky, where were you when she needed you most? Why didn't you hold her when she fell asleep crying over you at night? Why didn't you come back to her? Why did you have to go and die?
"It wasn't my fau-fault!"
Oh but it was! You're here now aren't you? Just look at yourself, you sniveling fool! Curled up on thin ice like a useless child. Like the children you always tried to bring joy to, but ended up failing in because they didn't believe in you. Did they? Even BUNNY saw it. Your "family" knew it too. But NO ONE goes against the Man in the Moon.
You're going to die, all alone, in the lake. Drowning in your own sorrow and misery. You're bleeding out, tainting the innocent ice. And you know what's most ironic of all?
Do tell him!
Oh, yes, I shall. You see, Jacky. All this time, if only you'd gone for help, if only you'd opened your heart, they would have saved you. You see, the Man in the Moon DID try and talk to you; but you were too wrapped up in yourself trying to get children to see you that you were deaf to his words.
"N-No, you're lying! Shut up!" I pressed down harder on my ears, even though it caused more blood to flow. The last thing I heard along with the Voice was the sound of cracking ice.
Is it really a lie, Jacky?
And then, darkness and drowning.
Ohh, dang. I did NOT expect this to happen! Actually, I was planning to make a Bunnymund x Jack fiction, a little bit angsty and sweet. But this did NOT end up how I planned it. Bunnymund was originally gonna say those terrible things, and then later on fix it with a kiss… but then this… THIS! I do not regret it, and I don't care if it seems too fast or jaggedy. I'm gonna write the alternate version, so check for that later…. Comments?