A few people like the story so far...yay! Haha. Also, has anyone looked up Ulrik Munther?

Discalimer: William Joyce and Dreamworks own Rise of the Guardians. I don't.

Chapter 9

(Bunny POV)

"Jack, mate...what's happened ta ya?" I asked in concern, eyeing the strange dark creature that barely resembled my Snowflake. He laughed, the same laugh I loved leaving his mouth, making me smile, before the words that followed washed away any joy.

"My eyes have been opened. Now if you don't mind, I really must go. So many people to punish-so little time." He grinned, the gesture in no way beautiful, but twisted and demented. Without further ado, he hopped up into the air and let his staff carry him off. I stared at the space he'd disappeared into, complete shock settling into my system.

"Bunny? Bunny?" I heard North's voice sometime later, slowly registering that he stood before me, both hands cupping my face. I met the Russian's eyes, finding concern and unanswered questions there. "What happened?"

"Did you find Jack?" Tooth asked from beside him. Sandy stood off to the side, his eyebrows furrowed with uncertainty, arms folded.

"Did we eva'." I whispered.

~0~

"I'm sorry. I just can't wrap head with it." North shook said head, nursing a mug of hot chocolate. When we'd gotten back to the pole, I sat down with the other three guardians and a few yetis, carefully explaining to them that Jack had changed drastically. He'd gone dark, torturing people for amusement. "Jack? My Jack...evil?" North narrowed his eyes in hurt that I'd even suggest such a thing.

"Yes. Evil. Terrorizing people." I said in monotone, everything within me numb. I drank some hot chocolate, so unfeeling that I barely realized the drink was burning my mouth, almost feeling none of the pain. I stared at the table, running over what I'd seen my Jack do.

No, I corrected. Not my Jack. My Jack loved and cared for people. He'd never torture them for fun.

"Just like Pat. At least we know who changed him." Tooth said sadly, staring at her own cup. "Wait a minute! Jack wouldn't hurt people-he had to be altered by someone. Maybe Pat was, too. Maybe neither of them have meant the things they've been doing and can be changed back."

"Is possible." North admitted with a wave of his hand. "But without knowing how they were converted to dark side, we have no idea how to reverse what has been done."

"What's happened to all of you? You all sound so defeated and hopeless!" Tooth exclaimed in disgust, shaking her head.

"Tooth-" North started, a sad pleading in his eyes.

"No!" She snapped sharply, catching us all by surprise. "You do realize what you're doing, don't you?" She asked, narrowing her eyes at all of us. When we all continued to stare at her, she leaned forward and gritted her teeth in anger. "You're mourning." She hissed. "Mourning someone who isn't dead, before you've even tried to save them from themselves." She flitted up into the air, slapping the table indignantly. "Does he mean so little to all of you that you're going to let him go after a little hiccup?" She cried out in anger.

"Tooth, we don't know what to do." North said, sadness still in his voice.

"I'm gonna tell you what we're gonna do! Tomorrow morning, we're going to track the snow activity and trace it to his location. When we find him, we're going to get him to come with us-even if we have to capture and hold him against his will. He'll be locked up in a secure environment while we each take a crack at getting the real Jack back. If we fail in doing so, then we go to Scottland and find Pat, and we demand he reverse Jack's current state." She laid out the plan. "Is that understood?"

"Yes." North and I said, and Sandy nodded. Tooth sighed and nodded.

"Good. I want everyone to get a good nights rest because tomorrow's very important and may be very trying." She ordered. With that, she turned and flew out the window with her fairies in tow.

~0~

No matter Tooth's orders, I simply couldn't sleep that night. It was almost worse than the night before, when I had no clue as to Jack's whereabouts, because now I had seen him. Jack wouldn't hurt people. He simply wasn't cruel like that. So seeing this Dark Jack who would and did only made the realization that more obvious. That wasn't my Jack.

My Jack was gone.

How does someone just go on living through a revellation like that? That the one you loved was gone, but an exact replica still lingered about, reminding you of the original, but never having the ability to be mistaken for them.

It was a malevolent torture, haunting you from the deepest depths of your center. There was no way to get rid of or the knowledge you held of it. You could claw at it, try to remove it, but in the end, you were only left with a raw, gaping hole that even after closed, would never heal right.

I wasn't entirely sure how I'd gotten over Jack's original death-probably because I never really had, I'd just eventually came to terms with it. I'd loved Jack, he'd loved me and his time with us had ended. I would always be his and no one else's. And I was all right with that. In fact, it's what made me feel better when I'd felt the deep bouts of depression yanking testingly at my ankles.

Therefore, I was exhausted when we all met in the globe room the next morning, right before we left to retrieve Dark Jack. By what the yetis were seeing on the globe, by North's translation, he was in Tokyo. We jumped in the sleigh. Sandy seemed the only one aware of my lack of sleep, appropriately, and I seemed to be the only one not keyed up with renewed hope. When we arrived in Tokyo, it was the middle of the night. That made things easier, since most would be in bed, making Dark Jack stick out like a sore thrumb.

"Ahahaha!" I boisterous laugh rang out behind us. We turned instantly. And there, twenty feet from us, was the clone that had replaced my Jack. "Awww." He cooed, clasping his hands. "My friends came to see me. How sweet." A dark glint entered his eyes at the end.

"Jack? I-I know you're in there!" Tooth said determinedly, trying to talk to the real Jack. "You're stronger than him. You know it; I know it; and he knows it." She glared at Dark Jack, who only raised an eyebrow, frowning at the fairy queen.

"You don't get it, do you?" He asked, all sincerity in his voice. I wondered if we were seeing a glimpse of the real Jack, who'd managed to dodge Dark's defenses long enough to speak to us.

"Get what?" North asked, taking a step forward, fully attentive.

"I...am...Jack. I'm just no longer the childish, bumbling bufoon I was even so recently. No. My horizons have been broadened." He held his arms out in a gesture of how much broadening his horizons have done. "I have been awakened."

"Ta what, freezing people ta death for yer own sick pleasure?!" I yelled out in anger. He laughed, the same one that sounded like Jack's.

"Oh, Aster." He mused, smiling at me, his eyes loving. This gave me pause. "Always the sarcastic." He waved it off, like it was ridiculous. My anger spiked again. "But I tell you what, E," suddenly, he was right in front of me, against my chest, caressing the fur there in such a loving gesture, I couldn't be certain that this wasn't my Jack. "Even after my transformation, I still yearn for you." He looked right into my eyes at that point. The love I saw there was true and unyielding, but the green color in place of the blue I should have found distracted me from that fact. "So I like to kill people, but you know...I could still be your's. And you could be mine?" He suggested. I couldn't move. Of course I wanted to say no, but I was too overcome with shock to say anything.

Suddenly, Dark Jack's head snapped up, eyeing something behind him intently. He stayed like that for a few moments, before he sighed and backed away, smirking.

"Sorry. Duty calls." He watched me as he walked backward, toward the edge of the buidling. "Another time perhaps, E?" He asked rhetorically, jumping off the ledge backwards.

Tell me what you think. Do you like Dark Jack? In all honesty, I'm having fun writing him being evil. He's funny-if a bit sadistic-and really forward toward Bunny. Thoughts?

~I'mBelleGoose