A/N: Yay! This is Rise of the Brave Tangled Dragons! Erg, you know I don't own Rotg, HTTYD, Tangled, or Brave. If I did there would be a movie about them!
Jack outstretched his arms and let out a pure whoop of joy as he soared over the staggering ice cliffs and mountainous glaciers of the North Pole. He was on his way to see the guardians for a meeting, and Jack had shocked himself when he wanted to go. Why? Because of the guardians! It had been just about a year and a half since they five had sent Pitch fleeing into the confines of the nightmares (well, one year, 178 days, 11 hours, and... 23- no, now 24 minutes. But who was counting?) and Jack could not remember a happier time. His group of believers had wildly expanded from Burgess and had traveled thickly to New York like a trail of light as more and more children witnessed the messages Jamie and his friends had been sending ever since they first believed, but no matter what, Jack still regarded Burgess as his home. He knew that North had offered him a room at the Pole, but Jack didn't think he was ready to go that far, yet. Maybe, just maybe, he could see it as a home.
Speaking of North, Jack admitted to himself– dangerously, precariously, thrillingly– that North was becoming like a father to him. It wasn't just the offer, but the advice, the hugs, and proud smiles North sent him were just amazing. He couldn't really remember his human father, only knew that he was a wonderful man who had given him he staff he now carried. He had found the jagged branch and brought it home. The one clear memory Jack had of his father was the hours the two spent whittling the staff down to smooth, cleaning the nicks, and even sparing a bit of shoe polish to make it shine. And even though that was over 300 years ago, he swore that when the wind was soft enough, he could press his nose close enough to the bark and faintly detect a faint trace of the tart, thick substance that would have once made him gag. Now he cherished every whiff. He would obtain glimpses of this memory around North, especially when the jolly man would teach him ice carving. The way North would guide his hands, speaking gently, almost a whisper, to tell him how to be instinctual and smooth it over just right and chip away like that caused a wave of both bittersweet nostalgia and overwhelming happiness. Yes, in this family– dare he say the word– North was a father.
Also fitting in was the always energetic Tooth. After the whole centuries amnesia fiasco, Tooth had devoted every grain of spare time to comb through the earlier of Jack's memories (obeying his request for her to avoid his last ones) to find people– friends, cousins, aunts, uncles– who had memories that could be reviewed for glimpses of Jack's shrouded past. A past, he might add, where he could distinctly hear his mother call out to him, telling him to be careful. Yes, that's what Tooth was– the mother. Constantly doting, asking him what he needed, demanding he start eating more– yes, mother indeed. In fact, Jack had almost fallen out of the sky yesterday when he left the Tooth Palace and set off to Burgess– from where he was returning– and heard her call out "Be careful!" Shock had corroded his senses, and for the briefest instant he dropped at the sound of his mothers voices echoing in his head. But he managed to right himself, and called back before he could stop himself. "We will!" He sped up then, his cheeks burning, trying to avoid the questions. Yes, she was just like a mother.
But one can never have two wonderful parents with out a killjoy to rein them in. So the job fell to Bunny. Just as Tooth and North had taken it upon themselves to shower him with love and support, Bunny made it his sole mission to ruin Jack's plans. Granted, he didn't catch much– but Bunny managed a few hard ones and still tried, which Jack couldn't ignore. But just like Bunny tried to spoil his fun, Bunny was there when things got too sensitive to tell North or Tooth and too far when he couldn't keep it to himself. The most recent of this events was right before Jack left for Burgess. He had confided in Bunny that he was afraid what would happen if Jamie stopped believing. Now, Jamie was eleven, still well within the norm of believers, but Jack was terrified of the day he would lose him. He almost panicked– but there had been Bunny, reminding him that all the guardians were there for him, and Sophie and the rest of Jamie's friends would be there as well to help him remember. And that was how Bunny fell into the role of Big Brother.
And last was Sandy. Wow, Sandy. There were times when Jack could never place the role of the dream giver, and other days where it was smacking him in the face. For starters, Sandy could fit in the category of sibling/cousin, seeing as there were days that Sandy would plot with, against, or for Jack against North and Tooth, somehow seeming more like Bunny and acting separate from the doting two others. Yet there were times Sandy could be a mentor, or uncle, or grandfather. Yes...grandfather. Those wise words, gentle looks and even soft reprimand action...that was all Sandy. All grandfather. Jack wasn't entirely sure, but he was fairly certain his human grandfathers had died before he was born.
They were becoming a family.
Jack saw the Pole looming up before him and his heart fluttered with excitement. He hadn't seen them in a week! His head filled with images of their smiles, their hugs, their voices. He zoomed up to the window that North left unlocked for him and pushed eagerly through to see...
The window led to the globe room, where they guardians usually held their meetings. But now the only source of light was the globe itself, the bazillions of lights shining fiercely in the dimness but only giving a weak source. Jack squinted, trying to use the glow of the rapidly setting sun. The fireplace was out, no elves scurried around the place, no one was here, and...everything was quiet.
The usual roar of activity that accompanied the pole, the hammering, whirring machinery, and shouts of yeti were gone, leaving only the silence to invade Jack's ears. Panic began to swell in his chest.
He was alone. Again. They swore they wouldn't leave him!
"This–" He mentally winced when his voice cracked fearfully. "This isn't funny, guys!" He called loud, desperately hoping that this was one of Bunny's pranks. The Easter Kangaroo could take it a little far sometimes, like big brothers do. So maybe they were just hiding, waiting for him to venture in far enough to jump out and scare him. Yes, that was it. A game. He could play. He opened his mouth when a horrible realization punched him in stomach and his rationality fizzled out. How could you hide Sandy? The dream giver was like a light house, glowing with believer magic. You could throw a quilt over the guy and it wouldn't make a difference! And Jack saw nothing like that apart from the globe.
"Guys? Please, please come out. I really don't like this." He fought back his mounting hysteria and tried to hold onto hope that Sandy had been put in an anti-Sandy box or something. He knew that the Guardians respected him as well; if he asked them, genuinely, to stop, they would comply as they realized it wasn't funny for him. But here, in real time,nothing stirred, nothing moved. There was no booming laugh, warm welcoming voice with the melodious hum of wings, no gruff acknowledgement, or whisper of sand.
No one was here.
"North?!" He cried, stumbling further into the workshop with his staff clutched in his white knuckled hand. "Tooth?! Bunny?!" His head whipped in all directions as the darkness swallowed him. "Sandy?!' Oh, Jack hated the dark, he just hated it. "Anyone?!" He screamed into the stillness. For a moment, his yell disturbed the still surface of the silence and he felt the noise ripple the top like a pond. Then, it traveled outward and faded, leaving Jack alone.
In the darkness.
Letting out a pained cry, Jack sank to his knees in the middle of the black sea. He hated to look so weak, he had no idea where it was coming from, but he felt the feeling that a child gets after a horrible nightmare– he wanted someone to be there for him...to promise that it would be okay.
Suddenly, Jack swore he felt a vibration– like a footstep, just behind him. He whipped around, frightened– and saw a large, familiar out line in the shadows. Jack relaxed his staff and wanted to scream with relief. " North! Thank MiM you're here. Why is–"
"It was all your fault, Jack."
"What?" The shocked cry burst from his mouth. What was his fault? What happened?
"You will pay for what you have done." Then the saber arced towards him.
Jack yelped and dodged just in time, feeling the razor-sharp blade nick his ear and draw a trickle of blood. He stumbled back, forcing his legs to continue his journey back. North remained in the darkness, where Jack couldn't see his face. "What are you doing?!" He called desperately, terror churning in his stomach.
"Somethin' we shoulda done a long time ago." Jack pivoted around, barely a foot from Bunny. Like North, Bunny's face was shrouded in shade. SHHHK! A flash came from Bunny's direction– something cracked on Jack's temple, bouncing off and returning to its owner. 'The boomerang.' Jack thought sluggishly as stars burst in his eyes and he was thrown on to his back by the force of the hit. Automatically, his arms began to propel him backwards, to the side, away from the two, but he didn't make it far when the back of his head sensed feathers. He forced himself to his feet and gasped as he glimpsed Tooth's hazy silhouette, shielded by darkness. He sensed no love from that direction, and he was horrified. He backed away– and saw Sandy opposite of his 'mother.'
The little man was also in the shade, his face featureless with dark. A small amount of light from the waning sun hit Sandy's arm and reflected the sand that coated him, but it was dull. Unshining. It was a horrible sight.
Jack blinked rapidly, trying to clear his head as the four began to tighten the four points of their circle, cornering him within the center. "Please, guys, stop." He begged, but somehow knew he couldn't get through to them. Jack's heartbeat began to race as his family showed no signs of stopping. There was no getting through to them, they wanted to fight him, and Jack knew he couldn't win. So he had to get out.
Jack lunged for the window he came through, using the wind to propel him over Sandy's head– when a thin whip of sand lashed around his ankle and he was thrown down, face first. THUD. Jack staggered woozily to his feet, trying to keep his balance.
Then the real fight began. Jack managed to duck the first boomerang and the second sword stroke, but it was all down from there. Everything blurred, time became nonexistent as Jack faced an endless barrage of swords, boomerangs, and whips. Vaguely he could see Tooth hovering by the window, making sure he did not escape.
Whoosh! North's sword sliced a large gash on Jack's left shoulder. A scream of pain was wrenched from his lungs.
SHLOCK! Bunny's boomerang nailed Jack in the gut, causing him to wheeze and gasp for air.
Crack! Sandy's whips were everywhere– striking his cheeks, slicing at his arms and wrists and legs and ankles, scorching his entire being.
Jack had never felt more terror in his life when he realized they were trying to kill him.
They began to drive him backwards, their attacks so unrelenting that Jack did not have the item to even lift his staff- it was all he could do to maintain his grip. He staggered back, trying to keep his footing– for if he fell, it would be over– when he felt his back press against cold glass. The window. Jack knew he had one option, and one option only. Jack leaned forward as far as he could, striving for the momentum that would break through the thick glass made for withstanding the extreme conditions of the North– when Tooth did him one last favor.
In a bright colored flash, Tooth's fist slammed into his mouth. The sheer force of the small but strong immortal's blow sent Jack soaring back, and with an almighty, almost melodiously discordant crash, Jack pitched through the window and fell face down, seeing the ground rush up to meet him.
He fell until he hit the deep snow bank with a great POOF!
Jack groaned weakly, grimacing as he felt the pieces of glass shift in his body, and stared at the red in the white snow. He coughed slightly, and the red stain grew. Carefully, he probed in his mouth for the cut– when he found a new hole. Tooth had knocked out his last baby tooth. It was up there, somewhere, with the guardians... The guardians! Panic choked Jack, but he forced himself to he feet. Without being asked, the wind picked him up and shot him in the direction of help.
Blood streamed from his wounds and everything hurt, so bad. But nothing hurt more than his heart, which ached with the knowledge that his family didn't want him. He had been wrong, so wrong.
The last thing Jack remembered before blacking out was a sweet smell as he was carried past Rapunzel's domain, and a cry of concern.
At least someone cared.