A Guardian and His Duty
Summary: It's the final battle between the Guardians and Pitch, history in the making. Some new characters write themselves in.
"There are polar bears in my front garden!"
Jack stared at Jamie, wondering if stating the obvious was a new game he hadn't caught up with; the kid seemed to do it fairly often. He opened his mouth to once again confirm that there were polar bears in Jamie's garden (well technically Martin wasn't as he had gone to investigate next door's fountain) when he noticed a swiftly falling object careening down towards the neighbourhood He pushed Jamie behind him and whistled for the cubs to come back. He wasn't sure whether it was a trick by Pitch or another danger but having just found his guardian groove, Jack wasn't willing to let anything happen on his watch.
As the object became closer and clearer, it was quickly apparent that his defensive positioning was unnecessary. Santa's sleigh crashed heavily into the road, reindeer scattering as it tipped over sideways. The group in the garden watched its two occupants clamour out and stagger as if North had once again spiked the eggnog.
"It's Santa!" Jamie cried ecstatically and Jack suddenly remembered the question he wanted to asked but was once again prevented, this time by Jamie continuing to state the obvious.
"And the Toothfairy! Jack, look!" The Guardians' eyes snapped towards the frost spirit in a question that North, after a few tense moments, voiced.
"Jack, what are you doing here?" His tone was slightly wondering, making Jack smile as he thought of the older spirit's advice on centres; he had found his own finally.
The soft smile was still in place as he glanced at Jamie and then at the polar bears crowding round his legs. "Same as you," he said, his words tinged with fondness.
Jamie chose that minute to grab Jack's hand, unwittingly drawing the attention back to himself. At the action, the polar bears pressed into Jack's legs more.
"The last believer!" North breathed out, his tone once again as full of wonder as his eyes. Jamie let go of Jack to the run the short space towards the now frail old man.
"It really is you," the boy said, taking North's hand as if to prove to his mind what his eyes were telling him.
"I knew it wasn't a dream!" he called to Jack. He turned around and the winter sprite saw that wonder echoed in the Jamie's expression. He could see why it would need a Guardian; it was precious.
It made him proud to know that it was there now because of him, Jack.
"Where's Bunny?" He asked, wanting, perhaps selfishly, to see the same gratitude on the Pooka's face. The newcomers looked at each other sadly before a noise from the sleigh drew their attention. Jack didn't bother to tense for battle this time but he did grab Martin's scruff as he scurried forward to investigate.
From out the wreckage of the once proud airship hopped a tiny rabbit.
"Bunny?" Jack gasped at the same that Jamie giggled, "that's the Easter Bunny?"
Bunnymund puffed up, inflated by a severely wounded ego, but it only served to make him more comical.
"So now somebody sees me? Where were you about an hour ago mate?" the shrunken Easter Bunny demanded. Jamie turned back to Jack beseechingly; for some reason he'd had an image of a large imposing creature, it was hazy as if a dream, but he was certain this wasn't right. He said as much to the Guardians, hoping for answers before giving Bunny a scratch under his chin to calm the animal that was growing steadily more restless. It worked for all but ten seconds before Bunny railed on Jack.
"Did you tell him to say that?" Bunny snapped, incensed at the thought that Jack could make fun of him at a time like this: when Easter had failed, his believers were disbelieving and Pitch was close to power once again. Couldn't that kid take anything seriously?
He leapt forward, his intent being to give Jack a good hiding and a lesson in respecting his elders but two threatening growls stopped him. Catching sight of the monstrous polar bear that had pinned him in the Antarctic, he rethought his plan of attack... then he saw his brother, just as feral looking as the other, and decided retreat was in order. He hopped back towards North and Jamie and the latter bent down to his level.
"No, Jack told me you were real..." He paused there guiltily but then continued to admit, "just when I thought that maybe you weren't." Bunny paused in his escape mission to behind North's legs and turned wide eye on Jamie.
"He made you believe... in me?"
He stared at Jack before a small smile stretched across his face like an olive branch, a gesture Jack returned instantaneously.
The moment was broken however when a large flash of lightning cut across the sky that was swiftly followed by loud bellow of thunder.
Pitch had arrived.
Gathering Jamie's friends had been a stroke of genius on Jack's part; although it was only short-term, being close to believers had given the Guardians a much need energy boost.
Plus skate boarding down the street was a good way to get adrenaline pumping; mix Pitch's fear with a bit of fun. Seeing a tiny rabbit flanked by two massive polar bears sledging on a bin lid was definitely an image that would be staying with Jack forever.
However, all the enjoyment was quickly sapped from the children when they came face to face with the Boogeyman.
He sat astride his steed, staring down at the rag-tag group, a sneer attached firmly to his face.
"Well don't you make a pitiful sight; a frail old man, a flightless bird, a flea bag and Jack Frost... a walking talking corpse." A sinister smirk cut across Pitch's face as he caught the pain that flashed on Jack's. Unfortunately he wasn't the only one and the twin cubs immediately advanced, their protectiveness overriding their common sense.
Pitch's smirk widened but he ignored the two, instead electing to watch Jack as he made to stop them. "Isn't this precious Jackson? Two little boys stepping up in mummy's defence." His voice gained a sharp edge, malicious intent coating it like poison on a blade. "I suppose you should be proud; they're just like you... they'll do anything for family, even die!"
With that last word Pitch unleashed a wave of nightmare sand, directing it with a swirl of his hand to form a ring around the two cubs. The guardians and children watched on in horror as Jack rushed towards his charges only to be thrown back violently by tendril of black sand.
Pitch chuckled at the gasps and growls he received as Jack flew through the air like a rag doll and mock winced at the dull thud that sounded when the boy collided with a brick wall. He waited until the frost spirit had picked himself up before he started on the cubs, his flair for dramatics demanding an attentive audience.
"Let the show begin!" The sand reacted on Pitch's command and small globs broke away from the dirty sand to morph into monstrous shapes. Killer whales circled around the twins like sharks around a meal.
But that's all they did.
The group outside the ring watched on in confusion (and frustration on Pitch's part) as the nightmares-turned-whales continued to swim through the air around them whilst Rufus and Martin sat in the middle, nonplussed about their position. It was Pitch who realised the problem first and promptly burst in a fit of anger.
"Why aren't you terrified?!" the Nightmare King demanded when the bears continued to appeared unfazed. His outcry tipped off the others to the issue and Jack snorted.
"Because, you idiot, killer whales don't actually hunt polar bears, they have no natural predators! Read up on your animals!" Jack shouted back to him before turning to Jamie and saying in a voice that showed he was very pleased with himself, "I read that in a book!"
He turned back to the boogeyman, more taunts at the ready but they froze on his tongue at the expression on his face; calm and calculating. Cold.
"No natural predators, eh?" And just like that the sand shifted into humans. Humans with guns. Pitch's expression darkened as he scented fear in the air.
Jack was once again racing towards his cubs, the others were hot on his heels but he was faster. He reached the nightmare wall first and Pitch laughed as Jack was once again tossed away from the barrier separating Jack from the creatures that spared him the loneliness Pitch had felt all these years. He felt their death was a suitable repayment for the insult Jack had dealt him, poetic irony. The Nightmare King called for his hunters to take aim and like a firing squad they lifted their barrels, ready to shoot on Pitch's order. Again he was waiting for Jack to get up, he wanted to see the ice crack.
And that was his downfall.
Whilst the Guardians had stopped short of the dark ring, staring in dismay as Jack was painfully flung away from the helpless bears, Jamie Bennet, the last believer, had charged on with all the force of his belief. He saw the way Jack treated the bears; more like his children than his pets. He knew he had to save them, even if that did involve something nasty in the process.
He reached out and closed his eyes as his hand made contact with the tainted dreamsand.
And the rest is history.
A/N: So... hello, long time no see. This chapter did not want to be written.
And neither did those essays I was assigned.
I'm not sure how many of you read the author's notes but here's an announcement...
I'm going on hiatus. Oh please stop sobbing, it's embarrassing for all of us.
However, when I do come back (and I will, I'm not gonna say I'm like Jesus, 'cause I'm not, I'm more like a zombie) there will be a lot more stories and a lot more fandoms (but mostly Harry Potter and Rise of the Guardians).
Another announcement... this is the end of A Polar Bear Named Rufus.
So thanks for following this story, there's still an epilogue to come (but again I don't know when that will happen) along with a couple of bunny scenes (as the tags implied, i sorta lost my way) but they won't be now.
It's been a pleasure writing this story, thank you for all the reviews, faves and follows. And a special shout out to TheJoyousCrosser, every time I saw a review from you I perked up, you're a boss!