Title- Dream of a Dream
Summary- A few weeks after the defeat of Pitch, Jack is dealing with getting his memories back and find he's not always alone.
Characters- Jack Frost, Bunnymund
Standing up, brushing snow off of his now damp brown pants, Jack heard it for the first time. The wind had stopped howling while Jack had been absorbed in helping his injured younger sister to be replaced by an even more menacing sound.
Jack knew by some instinct that this silence hid something more terrifying then killer snow. The feeling of being watched by some horrid power swept over him as Jack froze, listening to the unnatural lack of noise, turning his head this way and that as if that would bring the natural animal noises back to life, searching for the source of the menace. Then he saw it. A shadow on the snow.
"Jack?" came the small voice of Pippa, who sat on the ground, tears running down her flaming cheeks from pain and fear. She had seen the shadow as well.
"Quiet," hushed Jack. "It's going to be fine. I'm not going to let anything bad happen to you."
Pippa stared at the shadow, her big chocolate eyes not blinking. Her long brown hair in a braid, she was only four years old, however, she knew that it was all her fault that they were out in the cold, caught by the shadow. Jack had followed her out into the night, trying to make her see reason. He had told her that their father meant nothing by his actions, that it was not her fault their father acted that way. Then Pippa had slipped, falling on a patch of concealed black ice, and got hurt. Jack refused to leave her to get help, knowing that no one would help them. Now it looked as if they were both about to die.
The shadow was gliding ever closer, a daunting figure of black in the surrounding mass of snow. Jack slowly crouched down beside his sister and grabbed one of the sharp rocks that poked out of the snow covered ground.
"Not another move," hissed a gravelly voice that appeared to have come from the shadow.
Jack froze. Pippa grabbed his arm instinctively.
"I said, not another move!" growled the voice.
The shadow was close enough for the siblings to tell that it was not merely a shadow. It had no true form, flowing and molding to its surroundings like silk. The shadow was not black, but a deep shade of purple so dark it appeared black from a distance. The only feature that appeared to resemble a human was its eyes, deep glowing orbs of light purple with slit pupils.
Before either sibling could react, the shadow attacked Pippa, soaring like black lightening through the air to land on top of her and form itself around her body. Jack crouched, petrified, as he watched his sister be completely consumed as if wrapped in a body bad. Then Pippa's muffled but piercing scream reached his ears, snapping Jack back into action.
Jack threw his slight frame on top of the shadow, grabbing and attempting to rip and tear every inch of it that he could find. The shadow slipped out of his grasp, its body slippery and smooth like trying to grab water, then in a flash it was around Jack instead of his sister, blocking out his scream of terror. The stench of the shadow itself was enough to ensue fear, let alone the stifling darkness. It smelled of rotting corpses, of stale vomit and long dried blood. Jack knew that he would soon be one more smell, the last thing that another unfortunate victim would know of this life.
Then, just as suddenly as it had all began, it ended, and Jack was back in the cramped closet of a room that he shared with Pippa, staring wide eyed up at the water stained ceiling, shaking with fear. He was drenched in his own set and by another odor, he had wet the bed. Jack sat up quickly making his vision spin dizzyingly for a minute. When his vision had settled, Jack looked across the tiny room to find his sister sitting up in her own bed, her brown eyes open, fear etched in her shadowed face.
"You awake?" asked Jack unnecessarily, his voice harsher than usual from the screams that he knew he had emitted.
"Yeah," said Pippa softly. "I had that dream again."
"Me too," said Jack, ruffling his messy locks.
The siblings sat in silence, each wondering what the dream meant. It was the third time this week alone and it had been going on for almost a month. The dream was always the same. Pippa would run out of the house they shared with their parents, upset by their drunken father telling her that it was Pippa's fault that the family had no money, that it was Pippa's fault that her brother spent most nights getting beaten. Jack would follow her into the oncoming night, and then Pippa would fall. Jack would rush to her aid and bring his sister back to consciousness and keep her conscious in case she had a concussion. Then he would stand, looking in vain for a way to get help without leaving his sister. Finally, the shadow would attack.
A voice from down the stairs echoed into the room where Jack and Pippa sat, interrupting their morbid thoughts.
"Who the hell are you, trying to tell me how to raise my brats?" came the slurred voice of the sibling's father.
A gun clicked before erupting in sound, then the thud of something larger hitting the ground almost buried by the ringing in the ears after the shot.
Heavy footsteps creaked up the rickety stairs. Jack ran silently over to Pippa's bed, farther away from the door. The footsteps stopped outside of their room and slowly the door swung open. A tall dark form stood in the doorway, peering into the darkness of the room. Its eyes lit on what it had been searching for, the children.
"Hello kids," came a deep voice from the tall figure. "Daddy's home."
Jack woke, gasping for air, flailing in an attempt to get out of the light blue sheets wrapped around his body like a straight jacket. He tumbled out of the chair and scrambled to the window, throwing it open after a quick glance to confirm that he still had his white hair and blue eyes. The wind instantly rushed and swirled around him, ruffling his sweaty locks affectionately, teasing a small smile out of it's favorite child. With an exhale that released more tension than air, Jack leaned against the window frame, head frosting the wood where it made contact, eyes closing. He had gotten his memories back a few weeks ago and ever since had been having nightmares about them.
The Guardian meeting had run extra late that night and Jack had ended up falling asleep in an armchair. North, he assumed, had covered him with a sheet and let him be. However, after 300 years outside, Jack wished he had left a window open to let the wind in. The wind tended to get anxious when it couldn't reach him.
"What's going on, Frostbite?" came the familiar Australian accent from the corner of the room that housed the fireplace.
"Bunny, didn't realize you were here," said Jack, smirking at the Pooka but staying by the welcome cold. "Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."
"Had a nightmare, didn't you?" said Bunny, sauntering over and sitting on the window sill, ignoring the cold as it permeated his fur.
"I don't know what you are talking about."
"Whatever, I'm not Tooth, I'm not going to make you talk if you don't want to, just confirming the obvious, mate. It's to be expected, after getting your memories back you're bound to have dreams from your past."
Jack raised an eyebrow at him but said nothing.
"So what are you doing here? I thought you hated the cold."
"I do, mate, but I didn't want to go back to the Warren just to come back up here in the morning. North has some party planned for all the spirits and Tooth expects me to help get ready for it."
"All of the spirits?"
"Yeah, he likes to try and gather everyone together once a year, normally after Easter, just to have a party. Honestly I think he's off his rocker because parties are a waste of bloody time, but whatever."
"Yeah, don't sign me up for that, I don't do parties."
"Sorry Frostbite but if I have to show then so do you."
"No I don't," said Jack coolly. "I've never been invited before, I'm not going now just because the moon told you that you had to tolerate me now. Besides, believe it or not but you aren't the head of my lynching club."
"Yeah, the spirits after me head for being a pain and bringing winter. There's a whole group of them who make you look like you have a crush on me by their hatred. It's practically a sport in the spirit world, try to catch Jack Frost. They have jackets. I almost got one but thought wearing my own face might be a bit vain."
"You're so strange. Wait, other spirits hate you?"
"You didn't honestly think you were the only one, did you? Come now, Kangaroo, you can't be that thick."
"Well, you're part of the Guardians now, so you're going whether they like you or not."
"No, seriously," said Jack, his face going serious. "It will cause a huge fight. It always does, every time they see me."
"They wouldn't dare, not at North's. Now go back to sleep."
"You're not the boss of me."
"Well someone's got to be since you a clearly just a child!"
"A child? You think I'm a child?"
"You certainly act like one," snapped Bunny. "In immortal terms you're still pretty young and you're forever frozen as a kid, so yeah, you're just a child."
"If I'm so much of a child then where the hell were you all these years? Better question, where were you when I was mortal? I understand that I'm obnoxious and cause trouble, unfocused and stubborn, but what about when I was human? Where were you when my da started drinking? When I had to start working to feed my family? When he would yell at my sister and beat me? Where were you when our village was raided and we were left without a home or when the winter was too harsh and we nearly starved? Where were you then, when I was a mortal child? Because that's who you guard, isn't it, mortal children? Because you certainly never guarded me as an immortal."
Bunny stood in silence at the outburst.
"No need to answer, I managed just fine with 300 years of silence from you. I may be stuck as a child but I can take care of myself and I certainly don't need you bossing me around now."
"You think you're the only one suffering, you bloody show pony?" whispered Bunny, glaring at the slight form in front of him, stung by the truthful words. "Yeah, we wronged you, we should have made some sort of effort before but we can't change that now. You think I don't know that? Of course I do! I've been the last of my race for longer than you've been around. We're both alone in this life, Jack. But if we're both alone, at least we're together in that. And that's the only consolation I can offer you. We're all trying to make it up to you, you just have to let us. Your choice."
Jack closed his eyes again and leaned his head back with a heavy exhale. A pale hand went to run through his hair as he thought over the words.
"I'm sorry I got mad and yelled at you," said Jack, eyes still closed. "That was out of line."
"It was all true. We have failed you as a Guardian time and again."
"Sorry about your race being dead and all."
"That's what you were dreaming about tonight, wasn't it, your da and sister."
"Yeah," sighed Jack, sliding down the wall to sit on the ground, knees to his chest. "It was a dream of a dream, really. My da, he wasn't always the nicest person."
"Sounds like it," said Bunny, joining him on the ground.
"But it was my fault, really. My mom, she died giving birth to me and she was his true love I guess. I was a constant reminder of what he had lost. He remarried later to my sisters mom but things weren't the same. I tried to protect her as best I could and provide for her, but I failed in that. I left her with him, alone to face him. What type of brother does that?"
"The kind that gave his life for her in the first place. Your sister, her name was Pippa, yeah?"
"She wrote North that year, it must have been right after Christmas because he raved about the letter being the first of the season and how Christmas was more important than Easter. She told him about her brother who drowned to save her life on the ice and that her mother was pregnant and her father had joined the army the day after her brother drowned. She was asking North to please bring her sturdy shoes and he could take back the skates because she needed to work for the new baby like her brother worked for her. I know we failed you, kid, but we never let your sister of baby brother go hungry. Your father never returned and it was your legacy that kept us all checking up on her even as she got older and eventually married. She turned out fine."
Jack nodded thoughtfully.
"Thanks, Bunny, for, you know, looking out for her when I couldn't."
"Thanks for looking out for me and making Jamie believe in me when I couldn't do so myself."
"I've been wondering about that, Jack. Why did you make Jamie believe in me? After I sent you away, yelled at you, you still made him see me when you could have made him see you or any one of us."
"Everyone deserves to be believed in. He wanted to believe in you so badly, how was I supposed to deny him that? I wouldn't do that, not to a kid. I guess in that moment it was more important to me that he believed at all than if he believed in me."
"I was wrong about you, Jack," said Bunny, eying him with new found respect.
"Don't worry," smirked Jack, opening one eye to look at him. "They have a club for that too. It's called the I Misjudged/Underestimated Jack Frost Club. They have scarves."
Bunny chuckled and nudged him playfully.
*It's been done before, but I figured I'd give it a go. Here is the first in my collection of one shots. Enjoy.