Chapter Six

Jack found himself waking up once again. Just like before, his body was wracked with pain, but this time there was a spark of hope beneath it that made the momentary suffering worth it. He opened his eyes, and found that he was back in the forest where this had all begun. So it had worked! Jack pushed himself up onto his knees and looked down at himself. Yes, he was dressed in his usual attire again! His ratty blue sweater had never felt so welcoming. And, looking at his hands and arms, he was thrilled to see that he, himself, was back to normal as well! Jack leaped to his feet with a delighted whoop!

But this time, Jack wasn't alone. A soft moan rose from the ground a few feet away from him. Jack turned to look, and saw Pitch lying there. He had returned to normal as well, and was just now regaining consciousness. Jack picked up his trusty staff and went over to meet him.

Pitch heard the approaching footsteps and looked up just in time to be struck in the face by Jack's staff. He was thrown over onto his back, his nose bleeding inky black blood. Above him stood Jack Frost, but not as the Boogeyman had ever seen him before. There was not a trace of humor about him. His usually excited and carefree eyes were now as hard as stone, and as cold as ice. Pitch now saw Jack for what he truly was- not a mischievous winter sprite, but as a full blown force of nature, as dangerous as a knife at one's heart.

"Give me one reason why I shouldn't tear you apart," Jack said to him.

Pitch scrambled backwards, but his hands and feet slipped on small patches of ice that had suddenly formed underneath them.

"You- you can't blame me for trying!" he said, his voice high pitched and cowardly. "All I wanted was to be accepted!"

Jacks staff swung out again, striking Pitch on the side of his head, knocking him to the ground once again. He gazed up at Jack Frost, Lord of Winter, his eyes full of terror.

"What are you going to do?" he asked, voice quivering.

"You killed her," Jack whispered, his eyes widening in rage. "You killed the one who means more to me than anyone else in the world!"

"I- I- I didn't mean to! Really! And besides, everything's back to normal now! It's like I never did anything at all!"

Jack's eyes narrowed in anger. For a single, terrifying moment, Pitch thought Jack was going to kill him.

"Run, Pitch," Jack ordered him. "And if I ever see you again, I will cause you so much pain that you will BEG for me to kill you!"

"Yes, yes!" Pitch frantically agreed, staggering to his feet. Without another word, the cowardly fearmonger sank back into the shadows and was gone.

Jack stood where he was for a moment, his tired brain hardly able to comprehend that his struggle was finally over. But there was one thought that spurred him back into motion: Tooth! Raising his staff, Jack's heart raced as the familiar, welcome sensation of being cradled by the wind washed over him, and he shot through the air, back towards the Pole.

Within minutes, he was at North's front door once again. Two yetis, who he instantly recognized as the ones that had held him prisoner earlier, stood at attention and saluted.

"At ease, gentlemen!" Jack said as he pushed the door open and walked inside. He raced through the hallways, leaping over elves and weaving between yetis until he was outside his wife's room, where he found Bunnymund waiting for him.

"Oy, where's you go, Brainfreeze?" the rabbit demanded. "I was gone for five minutes, and when I come back you're already gone!" He pulled out a long cigar, "C'mon, mate, have a smoke to celebrate your new offspring!"

Jack pounced on his friend, bringing them both to the floor.

"You remember me! You rascally rabbit, you remember me!"

"Of course I remember you!" Bunnymund agreed, too surprised to say anything else. "Why wouldn't I?"

"Oh, I could just kiss you!"

Bunnymund shoved Jack off of him, indignantly, "I would greatly appreciate it if you didn't! What's gotten into you?"

But Jack was no longer interested in talking to the Easter Bunny. He turned towards is wife's room and burst through the door. Inside, he found his wife fast asleep. He stopped for a moment to look at her. After everything she'd gone through, she must have been exhausted. He came to her side and lightly caressed her cheek. For a moment, she didn't move, but then her mouth curved upwards in a smile, and she opened her eyes.

"You did it," she whispered.

"You remember it?" Jack asked.

"Every moment," she propped herself up on her elbows and then flung her arms around her husband's neck, "I am so sorry!" she cried. "How could I have forgotten about you?"

Jack wrapped his arms around his wife's back in return, "It's not your fault," he whispered. "It's nobody's fault but Pitch's, and I don't think he's ever going to bother us again."

Finally releasing her, Jack gently lowered his love back onto the bed, "Now, where's my son?" he asked, his usual grin spreading across his face, "I want to see my son!"

"He is right here!" North declared, coming into the room with them. In his arms he held Frostbite, who was sound asleep. "You weren't here, and since Tooth was bedridden, it was my job to present him to the other legendary creatures. They all showed up about five minutes after you left."

But Jack wasn't listening, he ran up to the old man and took the baby out of his arms. He went back to sit on the side of Tooth's bed so that they could both look at their child. Jack gently stroked Frostbite's fuzz, and he opened his mouth in a giant yawn. Suddenly, Jack felt overcome by happiness, and he held Frostbite to his chest as if he were the most precious thing in the world. And he was, Jack thought. Between the beautiful fairy lying in the bed next to him, and the fuzzy baby cradled in his arms, there was nothing more important to him on earth.

Gazing lovingly down at his firstborn son, Jack whispered, "When you're older, I am going to have one crazy story to tell you."


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