"Get out of the way!" Jack shouted, as he flew through the front door of the North Pole. "Move!"
In his arms, he was carrying his wife, Toothiana Frost, who was whimpering in pain and grasping her swollen stomach.
"Jack, what is going on?" North demanded, rushing up to meet them, sword in hand. "Where is trouble?"
Jack quickly touched down next to the old man and explained, "It's nothing like that. Tooth needs a medical room! Now!"
"Medical room?" North demanded. "Is she hurt?"
"No," Jack answered. "She's giving birth!"
Suddenly, Tooth let out a painful cry, and North's eyes widened in realization.
"This way!" he shouted, turning and hurrying down the hallway, shoving yetis out his way. He practically knocked a door off of its hinges opening it, revealing a room with a medical gurney. "Put her on there," he ordered. Jack did so, and stepped back, a frightened look on his face. Tooth let out another cry.
"Oh, it's coming!" she screamed.
"Tooth, you are going to be all right!" North said, standing over her. Turning to Jack, he said it again, "She's going to be just fine."
Frantic with worry, Jack sat down in a nearby chair and grabbed his silver hair in his fists, almost pulling it out.
"Now, Tooth," North instructed, "When I say push, I want you to push as hard as you can!"
Tooth managed to give a weak nod, tears streaming down her cheeks.
"Good, now push!"
Five hours later, the other two guardians waited in the hallway. Sandman was drifting back and forth agitated. He had long since chewed his fingernails off, and had now resorted to gnawing on his fingers. Bunnymund, at first glance, seemed impassive, though anybody who knew him well could tell he was just as nervous as Sandy by the rhythmic thumping of his right foot, and the twitch of his ears. It had been awhile since they'd heard any noise out of Tooth. Sandy floated over and tapped Bunnymund's shoulder, gesturing towards the door.
"No, mate," the giant rabbit responded. "Whatever's going on in there, they'll tell us to come in when they're ready."
At that moment, though, the door swung open, and Jack came out. In his arms, he held a tiny bundle, wrapped in a light blue blanket. On his face stretched the widest grin they'd ever seen on him. Slowly, he made his way over to his friends and extended his arms and unwrapped the child's head for them to see.
The baby boy's skin was pale white, like his father's. But instead of hair, his head had a healthy dose of fuzz on it, like a baby bird. It, too, was pure white.
"He's got wings like his mother, too," Jack explained. "And his eyes are purple!"
"What's the little tyke's name?" Bunnymund asked.
"Frostbite," Jack answered. He chuckled a little. "And he does have quite a bite on him!"
Reaching out, he gently pulled his son's top lip up, revealing that it was already full of bright white teeth. "I wouldn't have expected anything else from the Tooth Fairy's baby!" He wrapped Frostbite's head up again and held the child close to him.
"Congratulations, mate!" Bunnymund declared, thumping his fellow guardian on the back. "A moment like this deserves a cigar!"
"Oh, I, uh, don't smoke," Jack said, trying to back away.
"Nonsense!" the Easter Bunny argued, fishing a lighter out of his belt. "You've gotta celebrate your son's birthday somehow!" He fished around his belt for a few seconds, "Oops, looks like I forgot my smokes back at the burrow."
"I never thought of you as the smoking type," Jack said.
"Only on very special occasions, mate!" He tossed Jack his lighter, "Here, hold this. I'll be back in a flash!" Without another word, he turned and dashed away.
Sandy, as silent as ever, rolled his eyes at the oversized bunny, and turned back to Jack. He floated upwards until he was at the same height as the baby. Waving his hand over Frostbite's face, he let some of his magical dream sand fall onto the newborn. With a soft coo, Jack's son's lips curved upwards in a small smile.
"Thanks, Sandy," said Jack. "That means a lot to me."
Nodding, Sandy drifted backwards, giving Jack permission to go back into the medical room with his wife. Tooth was laying on the gurney, propped up into a sitting position. For a moment, the memory of the last time she had been in here flashed before Jack's eyes. The night she had been attacked by her brother, Fangen, and had lost her wing. But no, now wasn't the time to think about that. His beloved wife had just given birth to their first child!
Sitting down next to her bed, Jack held out the child and let Tooth take him before leaning in and planted a small kiss on her cheek.
"Thank you," he whispered.
"Don't thank me," she said, a tired smile on her face. "You helped too, even if I did all the hard work."
"True enough," Jack agreed, his usual playful smirk returning.
"Urgh," Tooth groaned. "I'm really not looking forward to tomorrow. Work is gonna be even harder than normal."
"What?" Jack demanded, standing up. "Back to work tomorrow? Nuh-uh, no way! You need your rest after that."
"Jack, I have to do my duties!" Tooth insisted. "I can't let things pile up."
"Which is why I'm going to be doing them for you for the next week," Jack grinned. Bowing, he said, "Jack Frost, substitute Tooth Fairy, at your service!"
This got a laugh out of Tooth, "Are you sure?" she asked. "You've never done that before."
"Completely! Don't worry, everything will be fine. Just stay here and rest, and I'll take care of everything."
"Well, all right," Tooth reluctantly agreed. Her hesitance vanished, though, when Frostbite woke up and began to cry. A motherly smile appeared on her face, and she held the baby closer.
"I'll get going then," Jack said, leaning in to plant another kiss on his wife's cheek before making his way towards the window.
"Be careful," Tooth warned him.
"Of what?" Jack asked, pausing.
"I… don't know," she admitted. "Just be careful."
"Will do, Snowball," he agreed, using his pet name for her before launching himself through the open window, towards Tooth Palace.
Jack's heart soared as he rode on the wind. Everything dream he'd ever had had come true. He had the best friends he could ever ask for, plenty of believers, a loving wife, and now he even had a son! What more could he possibly ask for? His life was perfect!
He realized the folly of his thoughts the moment they ran through his head as a wave of fear sent chills down his spine- and not the good kind! He smacked himself on the forehead. The first rule in life is to never, EVER, say that something is perfect, because that's just an invitation for fate to intervene.
A high pitched neigh came from somewhere to his left, and Jack froze in midair. Could it be? No way, there was absolutely no way-
Out of nowhere, a blur of black sand shot past him, blasting him with a mind numbing wave of terror. A nightmare! That could only mean one thing. But how could it be? Whatever the case, there was only one thing for it. Without a second thought, Jack chased after it.
The nightmare didn't seem to be trying to outrun him. It would fly just out of his reach, and then stop, waiting for him to catch up before slipping away again. It was almost as if it was trying to lead Jack somewhere. Unfortunately, the winter spirit never realized this.
Eventually, Jack chased the fearful horse all the way to the ground, right into the middle of a forest. The moment his feet touched the ground, the nightmare vanished. Jack was only mildly disappointed, though. Judging by the pounding of his heart and the cold sweat running down his forehead, there could be no mistaking who was nearby.
"Pitch!" he called out. "I know you're here! Come on out!"
Looking down, Jack noticed that all of the shadows cast by the trees were suddenly abandoning their posts and congregating to a single spot. They all joined together into one large shadow, which slowly rose off the ground in a thin pole. It forked at the top into two more tendrils, and a gray skinned heard formed between them.
"Hello, Jack," Pitch said in his smooth, oily voice. "It's been a long time. Five years, if I remember correctly. You locked me underground with an army of nightmares that had been turned against me."
A smug grin broke out across Jack's face, and he held his staff at the ready, "You're not still mad about that, are you?"
"Yes," Pitch growled. "Yes, I am."
"Whatever," Jack charged his staff with his icy powers, "I'm going to give you till the count of three to get out of here."
"Oh, I'm not going anywhere, Jack," Pitch said. Hands clenched into fists, he began to make his way towards Jack.
"Three!" Jack shouted, and shot a bolt of freezing lightning at the boogeyman. Pitch was already gone, though, having slipped into the shadows once again. Before Jack could react, seven nightmares appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and tackled him, knocking his staff out of his grip. Jack thrashed and fought with all his might, but he just couldn't match the strength of seven horses. The black sand making up their bodies dispersed, swirling around Jack in a shadowy sandstorm. It lifted him off of the ground, until he was hanging in midair, directly in front of Pitch.
"It's not fair, Jack!" the fear feeder snarled. "Everything you have… It should all be mine!"
"Yeah, right!" Jack spat.
"Insolent boy, you never did learn how to properly respect your enemies." Pitch reached out and grabbed Jack's face and forced him to look into his eyes. "I can see your fear, Jack Frost. I can see what you're afraid of more than anything else. You fear losing everything that you've worked so hard to gain. You're terrified of going back to being nothing like before." His eyes began glow a sickening yellow, "Everything you fear is exactly what you deserve, Jack Frost," he growled. "And everything you have, I deserve!"
He released Jack's face and placed his palm on the boy's chest, his eyes glowing even brighter. An uncomfortable tingle filled the air, making Jack's hair stand on end. He instantly recognized the unnatural magic that Pitch was summoning.
"Pitch, what are you doing?" he yelled. "Stop!"
But the villain ignored him, and instead began to speak.
"Erase the reason, destroy the rhyme,
Reverse the clock, and turn back time,
Now shall we exchange our lines,
Give me now what should be mine!"
Suddenly, Jack felt himself falling. Darkness was everywhere. Everything was gone. He was gone. He was nothing…
The last thing he heard was Pitch's manic laughter echoing in the shadows around him.