Jack blinked open his eyes. Every inch of him hurt. He had regained consciousness several times during the beating only for him to have it slip away again within minutes. Wincing as he sat up, he gave himself a quick once-over. Dark bruises were blooming across most of his skin, there was dried blood in his hair and it felt like several ribs were fractioned. For a moment he tried to remember what had been done to him, before deciding he was happier not knowing.
"Jack!" shouted a voice. It was Pitch. The winter spirit groaned as he remembered the deal he had made... yesterday? Last night? This morning? He had no sense of time in this lair of eternal darkness. He pulled himself to his feet and hobbled down to the main room, where Pitch was waiting.
The other guardians, watching from their shadows, were horrified when they saw their youngest member. They knew it had been done for them- Pitch had no reason to beat Jack except to show him off afterwards. If he was merely after fear then he could have sent the child nightmares and been done with it.
"You shouted?" A bit of Jack's old smirk was there, and Pitch had to suppress a smile. So, the boy was putting on a brave front. How noble. It would be destroyed soon enough, but nevertheless. Pitch could appreciate the child's resolve.
"My garden is in a bit of a state; I need you to weed it." Jack paused.
"The garden with the carnivorous plants?"
"Fed on the corpses of the underworld?"
"Over half of which solely eat human flesh?"
"How am I supposed to know which plants are weeds if they're all trying to eat me?"
"I suppose you'll just have to work it out."
"Okay then." Jack turned to leave.
"Oh, Jack: one more thing before you go."
"Yes?" Pitch lunged forward and slammed Jack into the floor, a resounding crack echoing through the room as his head the floor. The guardians struggled at their chains uselessly, mouths once again gagged. They looked on in horror as for a moment, Jack didn't move. Then, with a groan, he sat up, before climbing shakily to his feet.
"Should I go now?" he asked, trying to keep his voice nonchalant. Pitch nodded, and once again the boy turned to leave though.
However, he hadn't taken a step when a distant noise made everyone pause. Pitch glanced up suspiciously while Jack glanced around in confusion, unsure if such noises were common in this realm.
Suddenly an elf fell from above, and landed with a loud splat in the middle of the room. They stared at it, dumbfounded. It smiled mischievously and pulled a small bugle out of a pocket, which it proceeded to toot loudly.
"What's going on?" asked Jack, but before Pitch could answer dozens of yetis dropped from the sky, followed by egg golems with their angry faces turned towards Pitch. Then came wave after wave of elves, each carried by three armed and very dangerous little fairies, before the North wind swept through and greeted its old companion.
"Nightmares!" shrieked Pitch, his eyes blazing with fury. "Get them!" Fearlings appeared out of the darkness, but they were no match for the mace wielding yetis. Elves armed with steel frying pans and their own stupidity ran gleefully through the battle, whacking ankles indiscriminately. Pitch disappeared under a sea of furious fairies, enraged at the kidnap and capture of their mother, and Jack laughed happily. A yell from one of the yetis caught the sprit's attention, and he looked up in time to catch his staff. He gleefully began freezing fearlings and, even better, returning them to their original golden hue. Some of this dream sand floated to the shadowy edges of the room, illuminating the trapped guardians. Jack's eyes widened, and he walked forward slowly.
"It's okay," he said, his voice low. "I'm going to get you out and then I'll stay away. Please just..." his voice caught, his throat thick with emotion. "Please just don't attack me. At least not now. Do what you want later, but we need to get out of here first." With that he froze the chains shackling them, before smashing through them with his staff. The moment she was free, Tooth ripped off her gag and grabbed Jack. He stiffened at first, but she pulled him into a giant bear hug and he relaxed against her, tears of happiness welling in his eyes.
"Jack," said North gently. "We are so sorry. Can you ever forgive us?"
"Pitch poisoned us, mate. We didn't know what we were doing!" Sandy nodded, his golden eyes pleading for forgiveness, fearing rebuttal. A large grin broke out across Jack's face.
"Of course I can," he whispered. "You're my family." North pulled them all into a massive hug, which quickly broke apart again when they saw Jack wince and clutch his ribs.
"Let's get you to the medi-yetis," smiled Tooth.
The battle was over. The elves, yetis, fairies and golems had decimated Pitch's army, and the few remaining nightmares fled. The fearlings hadn't had a chance, outnumbered as they were, with no protection against the elves' wild abandon. A few yetis were hobbling on sore ankles, but apart from that everyone seemed to be unscathed.
Except for Pitch.
"FROST!" he roared. Every exposed inch of him was covered in pinprick wounds, some of which were bleeding. He looked angry and dishevelled, though not too badly injured. The worst he had received was a roundhouse kick from a very angry Phil, on whom the potion had finally worn off.
"Yes?" asked Jack, smirking at the sight of his captor.
"Remember our deal," hissed Pitch. "You may not leave." At that moment, one of the fairies zoomed to Jack, hugging his neck tightly, so relieved was she that he was okay.
"I do remember our deal," Jack told him calmly. "I had to hide from rescue from the guardians. You said nothing about rescue from Baby Tooth." Ignoring Pitch's shrieks of rage and his roared profanities, Jack climbed onto the golden cloud Sandy had conjured and sat with his family as they flew towards the surface.
After all that I've put you guys through, I though a nice fluffy rescue would be appreciated :)
Oh God, the next chapter's probably going to be the last one! :( Thank you to everyone who's been reading this, and what do you think of me doing a series of drabbles based around RotG? (I will be taking requests)