The first thing that Tooth says when Bunny resurfaces with Jack is, "Thank God! You found him!" and, "Careful! Baby Tooth says his shoulder's hurt pretty bad..."
Bunny is careful, really he is, but Tooth still nervously hisses every time he jars Jack on his way across the sitting room to where North has a team of elf-doctors and elf-nurses set up. Honestly, they look rather silly in their jingly, pointed hats and Pepto-Bismol colored scrubs.
Sandy hovers anxiously over Bunny's shoulder and Bunny wishes he wouldn't because it's distracting and Bunny does not need distracting. He needs answers.
Tooth tells him, after a short silence, once he's put Jack on a couch.
"He nearly died." She actually starts her story out with that. Bunny thinks she either has something more upsetting to say or she is so worried that she's not thinking of Bunny's mental health.
"Oh?" Even so, he has no comebacks for that.
She nods frantically. She looks even more like a hummingbird when she does that. An elf jumps a little and Bunny's ears twitch towards the jingle-jingle. North gives a gruff huff, but Bunny tunes him out.
"Yes." She really has no regard for Bunny's health. "Baby Tooth told me that Pitch threw him down into a pit somehow."
"Yes, well, she was a bit fuzzy on the details. Pitch threw her first."
"This just gets better and better."
Tooth is quiet for a moment.
"You know the worst thing, Bunny?" she asks. She sounds defeated in a way he's never heard before, not even when her belief-center was threatened.
"Tell me." He's sure he won't like her answer. He's right.
"He fell into a pit, climbed out of it, fought Pitch, got tossed of the sky, saved those children, and we…" she pauses, "We didn't ask if he was okay. We didn't even think of it, not until Baby Tooth…"
North gruff-huffs so loudly that Bunny cannot ignore him.
The elves have figured out that jerking Jack's arms not only hurts the sprite, but is also an ineffectual method of removing his shirt. So, naturally, they pull out a pair of heavy shears and snip-snip through the fabric instead.
Jack's torso is a low-grade horror story. It's black and blue and full of bloody and scabbed over scrapes. There's one stretching from breastbone to hip, a reddish brown hash. He fell down a cliff-face. A set of purple smudges spans his entire back, like a mockery of North's prized map of constellations. He was thrown up against a stone wall.
Jack's legs are swollen and sliced. Bunny thinks that might be from when Pitch knocked Jack out of the sky.
The bruise on his right shoulder looks worse in proper lighting. There are scratches running through it that he couldn't see in the tunnels, either of them.
He threw himself onto that shoulder. Judging by the erratic splay, he did it unconsciously. Bunny sneaks a look at Baby Tooth and thinks he might know why Jack would do that.
Jack doesn't look like he's melting anymore, which is definitely a good thing, a great thing. Now he just looks a tad clammy, which is not a great thing, but a better thing than it was.
The elves, after that kerfuffle with Jack's shirt, turn out to be quite competent. They use dolly stuffing, bits of kite string, and wished-up medical items to patch up the newest Guardian.
Three fingers on his left hand are broken, the pointer, ring, and pinkie. Baby Tooth, sitting in North's beard, trills loudly.
"He fell." Tooth says, "She says he was about…" she does some quick calculations, translating fae measurements to normal ones, "eighteen feet up when he slipped." More trills come. "He blacked out for about ten minutes after he hit."
Jack is lucky; he only has one cracked rib. The rest are bruised in some fashion. None of the Guardians need further explanation on those.
The bruise on his shoulder, the one that likely saved Baby Tooth's life, goes all the way through the muscle and into the bone itself.
Sandy is the first to pick up a washcloth and wet it down, but the others are not far behind him. Together they clear their new friend's skin of the caked blood that he's somehow hidden from them, the rusty muck on his flesh giving way to ashy snow.
He's not cold, the bad, soul-deep cold, anymore. It's dark, though, and that's almost as bad. He fears the dark. He fears it so much it's almost hatred. It was dark during his rebirth. The Moon came to retrieve him then. Where is the Moon now? Shouldn't he be somewhere near?
He cannot move. This should frighten him more than it does, but mobility does him little good without sight and he still can't see.
He takes a breath. Then he pauses. He can breathe. He's not underwater. That puts him in a better position now than he was in the last time he became not-cold-can't-see-can't-move.
He slips back into the warm shadows before he can form another thought.
Cringle, the head elf-doctor, brings out rolls of white bandages. Bunny and North gently, ever so gently, lift Jack into a semi-upright position. Even as careful as they are, they feel Jack trembling in his sleep.
Two elves take a roll and wrap Jack's fingers until they're fat as sausages. He will not be able to bend them when he wakes. He won't like that, Bunny thinks.
They help as much as they can, what little they can, while Cringle wrap-wrap-wrap-wraps the crisp strips around Jack's chest so that his ribs will be protected and held properly.
He smells something. He can't figure it out at first; it's almost like trying to smell through clothing. Granted, the 'clothing' has no scent, but the sentiment remains. The smell is sort of like, well, it's something happy. It's sharp and sweet. It's deep and bright. It's familiar.
Peppermint and sugar cookies, that's what he smells. Peppermint and sugar cookies, a nice smell, but he can't quite place it.
Bunny can't bear to look, but he cannot bear to turn away, so he holds a silent vigil.
Jack is now laid up on a bed in a guest room in North's. Tooth is nearly in the corner, giving great shuddering breaths. North's eyebrows are doing some sort of grumpy-guilty-sad dance up in his hairline. Sandy doesn't look remotely tired. Baby Tooth is curled up on a fae-sized bed that's been rigged into a sort of litter. The elves apparently still feel guilty about the mantle incident.
It's been a long night.
His fingers are the warmest bit of him now. They're thick, as if someone has wrapped them in several pairs of mittens. Jack's nose is the coldest bit of him. He bets that it's got that weird icy-nose reddish-pink tint. His elbows are jutting out at odd angles, but they're comfortable anyway. He seems to be lying on a cloud. The cloud could also be a marshmallow; he's not sure yet which one's softer.
He's tired. Bunny knows that the others are too, but, even when North's jaw snaps and pops in protest of one of his massive yawns, he can't bring himself to suggest they all turn in for the night.
Instead, he pulls out a wooden egg. There's no point in painting a real one; Easter is a full year away. He gives it a layer of powder-blue paint before he even registers that he's painting. Bunny doesn't fight his instincts when they tell him to paint a snowflake pattern on the broad middle of the egg.
Jack's drifting thoughts halt for a moment. He distinctly recalls passing o- falling asleep in a kiddie play-tunnel in Lake Park. There are no beds made of cloud in Lake Park. He knows. He's looked.
Then he can see again.