Here is the next chapter! I own nothing except for Jake!
2 hours later
"So...just to get things straight...you jumped in after me?!"
We were huddled around North's fire, sitting back a little, exhausted from the many questions that had hammered both of us. While the Guardians absorbed this silently...
"I had to get you out..." I mumbled.
"God, Jake..." I looked up, afraid he would hate me for not saving him. I didn't want to lose my family again! But to my horror, I saw that his face, so much like mine, was clouded with...guilt.
"Oh, no you don't, buddy." I said firmly, using the name dubbed when we were 11. "I made my own choice. My death was not your fault!"
His eyes snapped up to meet mine, full of anguish. "If I had just spread our weight around-!"
"The world would belong to Pitch!" I interrupted. He opened his mouth, then closed again. On pure impulse, I reached over and took his hand. He flinched, then relaxed, as if unused to physical contact. I knew the feeling. He raised his head and gave me a tired smile. The Tooth Fairy, finally snapping out of her daze, caught the look and went into mother hen mode, leading Jack and us to our rooms. Jack just gave me another tired smile before shuffling into his room. The tooth fairy directed me to the one across from his. I flopped down onto the soft covers. This was the first time I had slept in a bed in 300 years...
Darkness swirled around me. I whipped in all different directions. "Hello?" I called. I tightened my fingers around my...my staff! Where was it? I felt so vulnerable, exposed.
"So, this is the great Jacob Nathan Overland Frost..." Fear screamed through my veins at the sound of this silky, evil voice. I desperately tried to find its source. Where was Jack? "...We meet again. Ah, I see. How adorable...you fear for your brat of a twin. Well, let me ease your mind on one thing: he's not going to save you. I've already taken care of that."
"What did you do to him?!"
"None of your concern, child. Not that he would want to, if he found out what you've done."
I winced as horrible realization dawned on me. This...voice was right. If Jack knew what I had done, he would hate me no matter what.
"Now, I offered your brother this once as I did for you, and like you, he denied me. So soon he will die for his arrogance, his fate is written-"
"You won't touch him! Either of us!" I tried to protest, but the presence drowned me out like I wasn't even there.
"-But yours is not. So I offer you this for the last time- join me and we can rule the world together, we will be seen- believed in."
I swallowed hard. They would see me? I would be believed in? They would hear me, talk to me? Suddenly, I shook it off. This was the guy who wanted to murder my brother!
"Never!" I shouted. "I'll never help you!"
"So be it. But first, your twin."
"Ah!" My eyes snapped open and I thrashed around for several seconds until I realized... I was at the pole. I flopped back, laying still, listening to my thumping heart and staring at a random point in the still dark. It was only about four am so it was dark...That voice... He'd talked about Jack. He wanted to hurt Jack! I leaped up, trying the get out of the sheet tangle as fast as I could but only succeeded in crashing face first to the wooden floor.
Scrambling to my feet, I burst through the door, stumbling wildly across the hall, and exploded into Jack's room so fast that my face proceeded to reunite itself with the oak boards of the floor.
At the sound of my stealthy arrival, Jack shot bolt up right, his right hand shooting out automatically to grab his staff while the left scrubbed the sleep from his eyes.
"Whuzzagionon?" He muttered, blinking in the near darkness. I looked up as relief flooded my chest. He was ok.
It was then I realized how stupid this must look. Here I was, four in the morning, randomly bursting through the door of my brother just because I believed in some stupid nightmare. Yeah, Jake. What an impression! I thought to myself scathingly. I hadn't seen Jack in over 300 years. Everything wasn't just suddenly perfect between us. The prank on the guardians had been so spur if the moment, when there was so much to talk about, so much to discuss and puzzle out and figure out how we had changed. I got shakily onto my knees. "Nothing, Jack. Go back to sleep." I made it to my toes and turned to leave.
"Jake?" I stopped.
"What?" I cursed myself for the audible tightness in my voice.
"Are you ok?" He was concerned. For me.
Suddenly, the mortification of it all rushed up in my heart, swallowing the relief in a tidal wave of embarrassment, anguish, sadness and guilt. To my horror, I heard a strangled sob swell in my chest, crawl into my throat, and burst past my lips to make a choking cry. Then another. Then another. My knees gave out and I curled on the ground, trembling as I let out about... 250 years worth of pain. Some part of my mind screamed at me to stop, I was making a fool of myself, but the rest of me just muffled it. I faintly registered a shifting sound from Jack's direction but jumped when a hand- of my normal temperature- clasped my shoulder reassuringly. Instinct took over and I threw my arms around my brother's neck, burying my face in his shoulder. Without hesitation, he wrapped his arms around my back. For the second time in my immortal life, I let myself cry and release all the pent up emotions. And Jackson let me. he didn't pull away, he didn't act disgusted, just held me tight.
When every last tear had been shed, I peeled my face away from his hoodie. We looked at each other, and to my surprise, I saw my own embarrassment, my own fear, my own tears mirrored on my brother's face. We exchanged wan smiles before pulling away and rubbing our cheeks. Between the two of us, any liquid had frozen right on our faces.
I stared at my hands. What had just happened? I opened my mouth and said in unison "I'm sorry-" our heads snapped up as one, incredulous laughs burst out together. We watched each other her warily, both unwilling to make a move the other might copy. Then Jack grinned.
"Just like old times, huh?"
"Old, old times." I agreed. We were silent for a few moments, comforted by the sound of the other's steady breathing, when something from my memories surfaced to my brain. "Ah..Jack?"
I swallowed. "Can I stay here tonight?" He was silent. I rushed on. "I mean, that's what we did, back when we were human- I mean, now that I have my memories back, it seems ok to, uh, me, but if you-"
"Sorry." Another one of the few differences between us: I can ramble for days. Jack can't.
"It's fine." He said easily. "Come on." We clambered to our feet and curled up on the bed spread. We never used the covers. "Night, Jake."
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