A few years had passed since the Guardians had defeated Pitch. Without the Nightmare King around anymore, the Fearlings slowly died off on their own, and the Guardians were able to go back to their normal lives. Toothiana could have her little fairies retrieve teeth without worrying about them being attacked by Fearlings. Sandman could orchestrate his dream sand without interruptions from corrupted nightmare sand. Aster didn't have to worry about Nightmares lurking in the shadows, waiting to trample his Easter eggs. North didn't need to watch the globe, panicking when lights began to go out. And Jack, of course, could roam the Earth without fear of an ambush.
However, Jack had spent the majority of his time at Santoff Clausen. Sandy and Tooth were working every night, which was technically twenty-four seven, since it was always night somewhere. So, hanging around Tooth Palace or Sandy's sand-crafted floating ship really had no point to it. Jack tried staying at the Warren to bother Bunny, but the Warren's warm spring temperature had made him start to feel a little sick. Once in a while, Bunny would venture up to Santoff Clausen, using the excuse of him trying to spare elves and yetis from Jack's mischief or something along those lines. As much as he refused to admit it, he enjoyed the winter spirit's presence.
But even between Bunny's occasional visits, freezing elves, and playing tricks on the yetis, Jack would still get bored. North was always obsessing over Christmas plans, even the day after, and that something Jack really didn't care to hear about during the summer. Sandy and Tooth had once suggested that if he were really that bored, he could just go to sleep. Jack had thought that was a stupid idea until they explained that often times, sleeping could help restore one's memory.
So he tried it one night, and they had been right. Although, the only thing he remembered was what his room had looked like. After that, he decided to sleep more often. Winter didn't allow him any sleep, and spring and fall weren't much nicer. Since he was bored during the summer anyway, he chose that season to sleep through.
Now that it was June, and things began to get too hot for his liking, he retreated down to Antarctica, to a deep underground ice cave where absolutely nothing could bother him. He tried the first year to stay at Santoff Clausen while he slept, but the elves and yetis caused too much commotion and woke him up all the time. And that rarely ended well for whatever poor souls were near him.
Towards the end of August, maybe even September, he would come back to Santoff Clausen until winter came around again. Then he would stay in Burgess, much to Jamie's delight, as well as the other children's.
It was during this particular trip to Antarctica that he noticed something was off about the grand spire of frozen nightmare sand. He paused next to it to examine it and its fairly new cracks. The fact that something as intricate, and even fragile at some points, as this could withstand Antarctica's harsh blizzards was impressive. The cracks didn't bother him much; he could fix them if really he wanted to. Maybe he would when he woke up again at the end of summer. If it started to fall apart while he slept, he couldn't really say he would miss it. It was beautiful to look at, but it also made him relive his lowest point in life.
He let out sigh and continued on to a split in the ice, the one he'd fallen into after Pitch sent him flying backwards. He hopped over the edge, alighting gracefully onto the snow below. He tapped his staff to icy wall, which shuttered and cracked to create the entrance to the cave. He didn't bother closing the entrance back up as he walked inside, he had no reason to. What was the worst that could happen, a penguin sneaking in and squawking at him?
It wasn't a long walk to the cave and he preferred it that way. Walking hundreds of miles from the coast to get to the heart of the continent didn't exactly sound appealing. Jack had re-shaped the interior of the cave to be an ice-replica of his old room from his human life. It was simple and small, but it felt like home to him. The only thing in the cave that wasn't ice was the small pile of furs lying on top of the would-be bed. Just because he was the embodiment of ice and winter didn't mean sleeping on a brick of ice was comfortable. He'd gotten the idea of lining the bed with furs after a short visit to an ice-hotel in northern Europe. That proved to be perfectly comfortable and it didn't warm him up, the furs stayed frosty all year long.
Jack propped his staff against the wall and dropped lazily onto the bed. He stretched, twisted and turned until at last he found a comfortable position to sleep in for the next few months. Once settled, it took only minutes for the young guardian to breathe a content sigh and succumb to sleep's embrace.
Outside, the Winds howled and raced across Antarctica's frozen surface. They always hated the summer because it meant they would be without Jack. They loved taking care of him and escorting him to wherever he wanted to go. He didn't treat the Winds as slaves, but more as friends; they'd been the only ones to interact with him since he was reborn until the Man in the Moon finally decided to give him a purpose.
The Winds howled for hours and danced about angrily, crashing into the sides of mountains and cliffs. They continued their rampage until the accidently knocked against the spire of nightmare sand. That happened every year and it was deafening rumble of cracking ice that always stopped them. They didn't know whether or not Jack knew they were the reason for the cracks, but they had no intention of admitting it.
However, this year the rumble of cracking ice was accompanied by a sound akin to a wire under tension snapping. The Winds reeled in panic as a sharp piece of frozen sand fell and impaled itself into the ground, throwing up a blinding flurry of snow. They hesitated, wondering if they should race into the cave and alert Jack or go straight to the North Pole and try to tell North. The snow settled back to the ground, partially covering the shard. It was just a piece of dark ice in the ground now, the nightmare sand remained frozen. Nothing had happened; there was no need to alarm anyone. The Winds whistled in relief and drifted off towards the northern half of the Atlantic, it was hurricane season now and the storms weren't going to create themselves.
Almost as soon as the Winds had left and only the usual mindless winds remained, sand began to trickle from the top of the spire where the shard had broken. Unknown to anyone, even Jack Frost, the spire had not been frozen solid. It was more of a shell than anything. The black sand skittered over the fallen shard and pooled around it until a dark ring was visible. The sand then began to slithering through the path that Jack had left and poured over the edge of the crack. It gathered itself into a pile at the bottom of the crack before slithering through the open entrance of the cave. It moved swiftly and silently over the smooth surface of the ice until it reached Jack's 'room'.
The nightmare sand curled softly against the base of the ice bed. It traced along its sides, silently climbing up to find Jack's sleeping form. The black sand swirled twice around his head before rising just a few inches above his head and began dancing around in a circle. As the sand continued to pour slowly from the spire, the ring of dancing sand occasionally brushed against Jack's face, earning a soft moan of discontent. It recoiled back each time, not wanting to create nightmares so fierce that the young winter spirit would awaken. At least, not yet.
Author: firstly, to those who are waiting ever so patiently for an update on my other two fics, thank you and I'm sorry. the chapters are in pieces and I'm just trying to come up with a way to bridge them that feels natural, I don't like disjointed chapters.
anyways, what YOU guys think of this? I love reviews and they help me update faster.