Warning for mentions of self-harm.
He winced as the wind set him down. It tried to be gentle, but neither of them were gentle entities at heart, which had led to his current predicament. Jack had been completely prepared to simply coop up somewhere high and cold, usually a mountaintop and stay there for a while, but the wind had been quite insistent that he go north. Halfway over Europe, he had remembered that North had stashed a first-aid kit in his room "just in case". He had scoffed at the idea at the time, but perhaps there was something that could help.
In his slightly hazy state, he had let down in the wrong window. Usually, riding on the wind was easy as frosting things over, but the floor was jumping up and down and he could hardly focus enough to see in a straight line, let along think in three dimensions, so he was forced to walk.
A booming noise intruded on his ears, but Jack ignored it, fixing his gaze on the door he was certain led to his room. A few more steps and he could escape into there and there would be no noises. There would be snow, and cold, and he could sleep. Sleep was good.
Something large and predominately white swam up in front of his vision. He tried to keep walking, but found his path blocked. More noises boomed at him, but it didn't make any sense.
He blinked up as the white mass swam in front of his eyes. His shoulders were grabbed and he was shaken back and forth. It made the walls spin more and his side hurt. Jack didn't like it. He froze whatever was grabbing onto him and the white blur retreated.
It persisted, coming back. Jack froze it again and tried to push past. It stepped sideways, blocking his path, and he looked up at it. He was supposed to be angry, but it was difficult to remember why.
More noise came at him and suddenly it was just too much. The floor tipped violently and the darkness came rushing up to claim him.
He drifted back up out of strange dreams that faded away as he tried to grasp at them, leaving only an odd sense of warm that had nothing to do with temperature.
Still floating in the strange place between sleep and waking, Jack became aware that the warmth hadn't altogether faded. There was a splotch of it curled up beside his right collarbone, Baby Tooth's favorite place to perch, and another running through his hair. In another moment, he became aware of noises.
"He just collapsed?"
"Da, looked straight through me and toppled over."
"...You don't think Pitch did this to him?"
"Is too early for Pitch. Will not be strong enough for many years."
There were two voices, and neither seemed very interesting, so Jack tuned them out in favor of the humming he could hear just over his head. The smaller spot he was fairly certain was Baby Tooth was vibrating against his skin with the slow tune.
Tooth, then. It explained why Baby Tooth was here when he'd left her going about her rounds.
"I think he's waking up," the humming stopped when she spoke. Definitely Tooth.
Jack forced himself all the way awake, fighting back the blackness that tried to pull him back down into sleep. He forced his eyes open to find lilac eyes framed in brilliantly colored feathers leaning over him.
"Crikey Frostbite," said a voice that was not Tooth's, "what'd you do that for?"
There was an appropriate response to this, he knew it- the words slipped away when he tried to catch them. "Kangaroo?" he tried.
A chuckle sounded and his fingers clenched, searching for his staff. "Even when he's half bled to death, little snowflake manages to be annoying," the same gruff voice grumbled.
"Give him slack Bunny," asserted another voice, deeper, with a different accent. A large white beard appeared over him, wide blue eyes peering at him. "Jack, what happened?"
He would have waved it off, but it was rather difficult to move his arms at the moment. "Careless," he mumbled, "got shot. I should know to avoid hunting season."
He heard an intake of breath from above him and shrugged. "It's not a big deal," he told them, "its happened before." He frowned, trying to remember. "Not like this, though. I was trying to get them out of Russia and got too close."
"And this?" North demanded. A finger poked his arm, just around the elbow.
"A wolf bit me," Jack answered.
A hot paw landed on his leg, patting it through the blanket and he answered without prompting. "I was learning to fly, I hit a tree. Broke it."
"The tree?" Bunny asked suspiciously.
"The bone," the spirit corrected.
Tooth leaned over to trail her fingers across the inside of his left arm and suddenly the world jolted, flipping over the last bit and dumping him out of dreamland. "What about these?" she asked.
Jack didn't reply.
She left her spot by his pillow to hover over him. "Jack," she prompted.
Jack didn't reply.
"These," she repeated, gesturing toward his arm, just in case he'd forgotten, "these parallel ones." He knew what she was talking about. Short white lines that climbed up from his wrist toward his elbow in orderly rows, evenly spaced. He didn't say anything, turning to study the wall.
Tooth flitted down, lacing her fingers under his chin and forcing him to look at her, "What did this to you..." she trailed off, wings stuttering a beat. "Jack, did you... hurt yourself?" she asked gently.
He squeezed his eyes shut, but didn't say anything.
Another hand joined the Tooth Fairy's, this one rapping smartly exactly where he had been shot. The spirit's eyes shot open in a pained gasp. He healed faster than humans, but not instantly, and that was painful.
Sandy was floating by the side of his bed, arms crossed and looking very stern. He pointed to the arm in question, and then at Jack's head as a question mark appeared over his own golden head.
Somehow, this struck deeper than the other queries. This one wasn't so easily ignored, because Sandy wouldn't fill up the silence with meaningless chatter, phrasing and rephrasing the question, he would just wait patiently until Jack had answered.
He nodded, just once.
Tooth gasped and North swore in Russian, but Jack couldn't look at either of them. Sandy dropped down to wind a firm grip around the lowest of the scars, never breaking eye contact, in silent sympathy or perhaps apology or even warning. He didn't say anything, no pictures, and Jack was grateful for that.
Some things were best said without words.
We're here now was one of them.
Not entirely happy with the ending, but it was refusing to be cooperative. This is for FrostFan1, who requested one where the other Guardians find out about injuries Jack had sustained.
I would like to thank Qwerty124, nightmre13, FrostFan1, paracuties, DELTORAQUEST1, Nicki K, and naien543 for reviewing.
It is now a tradition. I update on my birthday. Enjoy!