A few years had passed since Pitch's defeat and Jack's official jump into Guardianship. That didn't mean things were all happy fun times though. Fear could never truly be defeat or destroyed, merely held back. Thus the Guardians found themselves fighting Pitch once more. Though his power was nothing like it had been the first time he had faced off against the Guardians plus one, it was still a force to be weary of.
"To your left, Frostbite!" Bunnymund called out as he dodged another Nightmare, his returning boomerang taking it down.
"I know! I got this cotton tail!" Jack replied frosting the mare over before it shattered, "See? Easy."
"Don't get a swelled head, mate. Might make it a task to fly." Bunny called back up to him.
"Oh, so I guess that's why your grounded huh?" Jack tossed back with a chuckle, taking out another Nightmare.
"Real funny." Bunny replied slicing through the shifting sands of another enemy.
"If you have time to talk you have time to fight." North broke in taking down two at once.
"Try tellin' him that." Bunny thumbed up at the winter sprite as his boomerang made another return.
"Me? I've taken down twice as many as you have!" Jack argued, trying to prove his point by freezing another mare as it zipped past him.
"Enough." North said with the exasperation of an irritated parent, "Shut lips and fight!"
Without another word the three peeled apart to cover more ground. Tooth and Sandy were keeping the Nightmares from expanding their territory and further into the city while Bunny and North were on ground control. Jack darted between buildings and took out waves of the dark creatures. His ice abilities were really a must have with so many agile enemies about. Every so often he would fly over one of the other Guardians and freeze a few dark minions in their places to keep them from swarming.
The battle had been going on a while now and the strain was starting to show. Reflexes slowed and some damage started to be taken. Scrapes, cuts and bruising started to deck arms and legs and faces. They were not the only ones being drained though as their enemies began to fall back, must to Pitch's displeasure. Or what should have been.
The Guardians started to pull ahead and gain more and more ground as the mares became weaker. This filled them with more confidence and although they were tired they struck with a new surge of strength. Jack laughed outright as he took down not two but three Nightmares in a single hit. He started to call down to Bunnymund about it when he was cut off by a Nightmare nearly trampling him head. With a huff he took off after it. Darting around a building after it Jack pushed into a dead halt as he was now face-to-face with none other then Pitch himself.
"If you were looking for a one-on-one fight you could have just asked." Jack said, a smirk playing across his face as he raised his staff up in front of him.
"This not an invitation enough for you?" Pitch shot back in return, his own mouth creeping into an off grin.
"For a one-on-one you kind of over did it." Jack replied coolly, "I don't know if you noticed, but everyone's here."
"No, Jack, everyone is not."
Before Jack could understand what that meant he was swallowed up by a torrent or black sand that had dropped from above him. He swung his arms and struggled to break free as he felt himself being driven towards the ground. He felt a pang of fear well up in his chest though he tried to drive it back down. He was not going to be afraid, of Pitch of all things. He just needed to get his bearings.
"AH!" Jack yelled as he felt a sudden stinging in his arm.
It traveled from near his wrist up his arm and then moved through his shoulder. He tried pulling away from it but that only made the stinging sharper, like needles being driven into his flesh. He screamed again as he tried to pull himself out of the cloud of blinding black sand. In another moment something quite solid made contact with the back of Jack's head with such froce that his vision went white.
The next thing he new he was falling. He tried to call the wind to him but it didn't respond. His right arm was completely numb from before and looking down at it Jack's eyes widened in shock. His staff was gone. He had lost hold of it in the chaos. Twisting around he tried to spot it but to no avail. It was gone. It was gone and he was falling towards the rapidly approaching ground.
Bracing himself for the eventual devastating impact Jack is surprised when he feels arms wrap around him, followed by a sharp and mildly painful decrease in his rate of decent. The strained rapid beating of wings met his ears and when he opened his eyes he saw his thoughts confirmed as Tooth had him tightly in an embrace, lowering both of them to the ground. Gripping onto her with his left arm Jack looked up trying to get a position on Pitch.
"Jack, are you alright?" Tooth asked him as he frantically looked about.
"Pitch." Jack said as way of answering.
By the time they reached the ground the other three Guardians were waiting. Tooth let go of the boy as he still kept his eyes up and searching. His right arm was hanging limply despite how tense the rest of him was.
"Jack." North started as the other turned away from them to get a better look at where he had been faced with the Nightmare King, "Jack, it is okay. They are gone."
"What?" Jack turned to face the tall Guardian now, a look of apprehension clear on his face.
"They are gone. The Nightmares have all left." North answered, not understanding the look of apparent shock that melted on his face at the news.
"Pitch was here." Tooth remarked trying to help fill in the gap.
"No kiddin', we just fought off his lackies." Bunnymund stated in his usual gruff tone.
"He was here. Right over there." Jack pointed with frustration at not being understood that he had literally been RIGHT THERE.
"He was waiting there."
"It wasn't just a shadow either-"
"Jack!" Bunnymund snapped getting the worked up teen's attention, "What happened to your arm, mate?"
It was now that Jack realized just how much he couldn't feel it at the moment. Looking down it was as limp as it had been in the air. Bunny as well as the others were looking at his with concern. When the Pooka moved in to try and investigate Jack stepped back as if he expected to get hit, his expression one of anger and alarm. Bunny's ears flattened a bit at the other's action.
"Who cares about that?!" Jack yelled surprising them all with how very panicked it sounded, "Pitch took my staff!"
Once the words left his mouth the others noticed that the trully off thing about the winter spirit was that his ever present staff was, in fact, missing. It was the source of his powers as far as they knew. Without it the kid was at his most vulnerable. Understanding sweeping over all of them now at his desperate tone and disturbed expression.
"Jack, all will be fine. We will get it back." North tried to calm him.
"No, you don't understand." Jack tried to explain.
"It's not like he can use it right?" Bunnymund put in now as well.
"We won't give him the chance to!" Tooth pipped up, Sandy giving a thumbs up in agreement.
At Jack's silence the other became worried.
"Jack?" Tooth asked gently.
"There's...Something I need to tell you guys." Jack said looking up slowly, though he didn't meet anyone's gaze.
They had a bad feeling about this.