Disclaimer: I don't own Rise of the Guardians.
However! I do own this bloody plot and this damn world along with a few well thought out ideas.
A/N: Okay so...testing out a new editor with this Chapter and I think he did really well personally. He caught a lot of things I missed even after going through it 3 times previously and even helped me figure out wtf I was missing. So, thank you Citrus_Twist over on AO3 (who I'm also editing things for, yes I do edit things haha). You're amazing ^_^
Also: To the guest who left me the review asking for me to clean up the transition scenes? Yea I LOVE you for pointing that out to me, but I'd like to know if its a problem throughout the entire story or if it was just that chapter in particular. You didn't specify that bit and I would've PMed you but you're a guest and I can't (flails helplessly). I'm afraid I got a bit wrapped up in my spazzy attempt to fix the last Chapter and just plain forgot to clean up those transitions like I usually do (I feel like a bad author now though for missing them and now I'm borderline paranoid looking for them haha). I love you for pointing that out and if you wouldn't mind skimming through again to see if I fixed them right in the last chapter I'd be grateful (I hate that you don't have an account so I could PM you about it and thank you that way too haha).
Chapter 10: Startling Revelations.
Summary: Jack finally manages to get Tooth to help him with the container that's supposed to give him all the answers, but Jack finds himself with more questions and realizes that he needs to get back to the Southern Kingdom to find their answers. Aster, on the other hand, is stuck with the monotony that is his duties as acting Prince and is feeling guilty for neglecting to tell Jack what was happening last night before he had left. But when Aster sees Jack again he can't help but wonder what had brought on such a drastic change to Jack's demeanor?
Jack frowned as he paced around his room that morning. Today was the day. Today he opened the damn container and he didn't care if Bunny wanted to be there for it or not—not that he'd even told Bunny about the container that is.
Bunny had made damn sure Jack was hesitant about mentioning a word about it after last night's stunt. Taking off without so much as an answer to why he couldn't tag along, then leaving Jack to deal with spending most of the night switching between a mixture of fury and worry, dipping from one emotion to the next in such succession that he had worn himself out.
Jack ground his teeth at the memory, grabbing up the container in a tightly clenched fist and stalking from his bedroom in one of the more relaxed sets of clothes he had been handed the other day. He walked quickly through the hallways, having nearly memorized the castle's layout by this point. He sent glares to the two maids who he had thrown snow balls at yesterday when he happened across them. He watched them narrow their eyes at him before they picked up whatever they had been doing and moved with an air of distaste. Jack continued on, gritting his teeth and in a mood to cause them more hell but refraining, purely because he knew he was just angry with Bunny. Of course there was also the threat of what would happen if he didn't calm down.
He halted at the window, glancing outside and seeing the clouds beginning to form just beyond as his anger simmered like a pot about to boil over. Those clouds, dark gray and dangerous looking, acted as a heady reminder for him. He knew what those clouds meant if he didn't cool his jets, memories of the day he'd lost his temper rushing to the forefront of his mind as he stepped through the hallways. He turned his gaze from it and sucked in a sharp breath, letting it out slowly and feeling himself simmer down as he counted to ten. Sure, he was angry at Bunny, but he had to have had a reason to keep Jack from following…just like how Jack felt like he had a reason for keeping Bunny from being here with him now.
Jack clenched his hands around the container as he easily found Tooth's bedroom just down the hall from King North's. Jack gave himself one last calming breath, smirking briefly to himself when he realized that he could've dumped snow throughout the castle if he had wanted to with his anger towards Bunny. Now that would be a prank and if a quarter of the snow ended up in Bunny's room, then so be it. He gave himself a shake before he looked at Tooth's door as he steeled himself against whatever was going to come his way, his mood dipping yet again. Where anger and a hinting of mischief once stood, now it was replaced with anxiety and nerves—his mind running a mile a minute at all the possible outcomes of getting his memories back. It was why he stepped up to Tooth's bedroom door and froze in place.
Jack stood there for a moment, not moving an inch, taking a nervous swallow of air before he found the nerve to lift his hand followed by him rapping his knuckles on the door in a timid rhythm as his throat tightened in fear. He stood outside in the hallway for a moment before he smirked when Tooth, on the other side, knocked back in a similar fashion that sounded like an answering response to his before she opened the door with a wide smile on her face. He noted how happy she looked, her eyes glittering in their pink, gem-looking, color.
"Hi Jack!" She opened the door and waved him in after greeting him with a chipper air. "What do you need? Want another sparring match where I kick your butt?"
Jack flashed a quick grin in response, turning on his heel and letting a frown cross his features as the door stayed propped open. "Uh…maybe later Tooth. I…I wanted to ask you about—to help me—with something...could you close the door? It's kinda private."
Tooth's eyes widened and she nodded, closing the door without an argument after glancing to Jack with a worried gaze. Jack let her gather his arm in hers and let her lead him into her bedroom, which looked a lot like Bunny's aside from a few variants in the furnishings—especially the part of her room that held the bookcases.
As they stepped inside Jack let his eyes wander around the space within, looking at how each wall held a different color—green, purple, red, blue, pink, yellow—each corner acting as a starting point for a new color and somehow making the dull interior seem bright and filled with life. The other thing that Jack noticed right off the bat, as they headed for that section of Tooth's room, was the small sitting area that held a small hearth for a fire. This was where Bunny had a sitting chair; Tooth on the other hand, had mounds of pillows and blankets. Where Bunny's bookcase was filled with a wide array of Kingdom related readings, Tooth's was filled with what looked like novels, one entire bookcase dedicated to sword fighting styles and techniques and the final was something that had Jack surprised—geography. Tooth led him to the mounds of pillows and blankets, the fire crackling and emitting a warmth that was soothing as Jack listened to Tooth's first invitation for him to sit. She then sent a quick grin towards Jack, motioning for him to sit down as well.
Jack nodded and sat down, untucking the container from his sleeve and holding it out for Tooth to see. He watched as her eyes widened, her mouth fell open and then she held her hand out for it.
"Where did you—did you steal this?!" She asked, cocking a brow.
Jack grinned, laughing briefly. "No, no I didn't steal it. Queen Bloodfeather gave it to me…said she didn't get to help lost souls very often."
Tooth physically relaxed, puffing out a breath and rolling her eyes. "Good because if you had stolen this I don't know if I'd have been able to protect you from her rage."
Jack nodded, scratching the back of his head and laughing nervously. "I know, I know. She uh…she said you could help me with it? Make it organized? Whatever needs to be organized?"
Tooth nodded, clasping her hands around the container delicately and smiling lightly towards Jack. "I can help." She scooted closer to Jack before she sat up onto her knees and knee-walked in front of him, setting the container in Jack's hands and then clasping hers around them. "There are teeth within this container, teeth that belonged to you when you were younger. They hold snippets of memories, details that you may have forgotten or memories that were taken from you for some reason or another. Normally Queen Bloodfeather just gives the person the one tooth they need—unable to unlock the trove of memories and deliver them in chronological order like I can."
"That's why she told me to have you help, isn't it? It's because you can help organize and read them all, isn't it?" Jack asked, glancing to Tooth nervously.
Tooth gave him a reassuring smile and nodded. "I don't know what it is; I just have an odd connection to them. I've always had an odd connection to them; you can ask Aster. I pulled one of his loose teeth out once when I was a baby."
Jack snorted out a quick laugh before he sobered, sucking in a sharp breath as the weight of the container in his clasped hands set in with the chill of realization as to what it held. He glanced up to Tooth again, letting her see his anxiety.
"It'll be fine, Jack." Tooth soothed. "I'll be right here. Nothing will go wrong and your memories will stay in here, only you will be able to see them."
Tooth lifted her delicate hand and tapped Jack's head, specifically at his temple. Jack once again swallowed nervously and rang his hands on the material of his pants legs before he sent one last worried gaze towards Tooth. She tilted her head, nothing but care on her features as she gave him yet another reassuring smile.
Jack nodded, closing his eyes when she told him too and sucking in a sharp breath of air when something in the back of his mind burst forth, eclipsing his vision in a blinding white light.
Jack had lived in the Southern Kingdom his entire life. He was used to the cold Blizzard that surrounded the Kingdom, used to the streets being filled with snow and packed with dangerous icicles that sometimes cracked off of the edges of roofs to kill the people that milled about on the snow encased roads. But even if he was surrounded by such a dismal setting he was the single being who seemed unaffected, one of the only people to be able to survive in the unforgiving Blizzard.
One of the only people in the City that could laugh and enjoy the cold.
Jack was having absolute fun, laughing as he ran through the snowed in woodland area that had been his home for the past going on seven years as of tomorrow. He packed up snow into snowballs, chuckling happily as he tossed them about and pegged various trees with them—his aim dead on. He'd cheer, whoop and holler whenever the snowballs impacted and burst into a puff of white mist. He'd marvel at them as the mist of white would swirl in the air as if something was commanding it too. It was what added to how fun it was to play outside, even if the Blizzard that engulfed the area only died down when he stepped outside—almost as if something was scared of hurting him with the nipping, bone freezing, cold.
The Blizzard halting its unforgiving force was the reason to why Jack's mother usually kept him holed up inside, which inadvertently made it that much more fun to run amok outside and not be cooped up under the pretense that 'He wasn't ready for the world yet.'
He knew that his freedom from the closed in walls of his home was getting closer and closer, lingering just on the horizon. It would be the moment where he would be liberated from the burden of curfews that his mother kept strictly enforced. He could feel that preternatural sense of something life changing sitting just out of reach—even at the delicate age of seven, which he turned tomorrow on the 20th of the month known as December. He felt a sparking of excitement with that realization. His birthday was on the horizon, which meant gifts and presents, his favorite breakfast of pancakes with their delicacy known as ice cream. Jack balled up another chunk of snow, tossing it through the air and watching as it exploded on impact—the mist swirling almost excitedly with him as he burst into a fit of glee laced giggles. Unfortunately for Jack, his fun outside eventually had to come to an end.
He whipped around when he heard his mother call for him, turning on his heel in the snow that sent a thrilling chill up his leg and rushing to the kitchen's entry for the brothel his mother worked for. He ran up to his mother standing in the doorway, grabbing hold of her skirts and burying his face into them, nudging his younger sister in the process and laughing when she frowned at him.
His mother led them through the brothel, the women and even a few men who worked there getting ready for their busy evening as the place would undoubtedly be packed with people who were seeking shelter from the Blizzard outside. Jack let his eyes scan the room, seeing the women in skirts that were made of leather and held a gray fur lining paired with a simple fur lined crop top that exposed most of their midriffs and cleavage. Some of them adorned their tops with icicle looking crystals that jingled with each movement. The men, on the other hand men wore leather pants—fur lined as well—that hugged their frames as best as they could. Some of these men wore fur trimmed leather straps across their chests to draw the eye, others remained topless.
As Jack was led up the stairs with his sister he saw the four hearths that provided the brothel's warmth be lit with a whooshing of flames followed by a few of the women cackling with the men as jokes were told in the minutes before opening.
The noise was muted almost instantaneously when Jack's mother closed the door to her bedroom. Within moments she was getting them both dressed for their jobs—Jack working as a waiter and busboy while his sister acted as a kitchen girl. His mother first dressed his sister, who left them alone in the room when she was fully dressed to start helping in the kitchen.
It was here that Jack's mother knelt down to help him tug on his jacket with her brows knitting in worry.
"Jack, are you ready for tomorrow?" His mother asked, dressing him in his kitchen boy uniform that was made up of thickly woven pressed cotton—the shirt and pants covering him from neck to wrists—and in a dark blue that brought out his brown eyes and hair in an ethereal way. "You'll meet the King tomorrow and you'll need to make a good impression, especially if you're lucky enough for the Crystal to choose you."
Jack nodded his head, grinning. "I'm ready mom!"
Jack's mother glanced down to him with her brown eyes, worry evident in their gaze. He briefly wondered why she was so worried before he diverted his mother's attention, drawing it from her worry to the regaling tales of his adventures outside in order to cause her to lose focus on whatever she worried about. However, it didn't stop him from keeping an air of constant excitement about tomorrow. He was meeting the King! That was an honor! Something that was only given to a few choice individuals in the Kingdom these days since the King rarely let anyone past his nearly frozen and seemingly permanently closed castle doors.
The night for Jack began at six, and he knew he was being watched carefully by his ever worried mother. Jack noticed his mother's gaze watching him throughout the night and each time he caught her eyes he gave her his best smile and watched as the worry faded to the background as a smile lit her face and then she would set away to handing him things to take out into the rambunctious dining room.
It was here that Jack first met King Nicholas St. North and his adoptive son and heir E. Aster Bunnymund. Jack had meant for it to be a short meeting, but he had found himself stopping to chat with the King of the North—Jack showing his mischievous nature towards the Northern Prince by tell him it was alright to 'chew' ice cream. North had laughed; Aster had finished recovering from the ice cream's cold and glared at Jack. After that meeting, filled with good natured fun, Jack had to get back to work—his mother herding him away from two of the most interesting people he had ever met
As he was tugged away by his mother Jack sent a glance over his shoulder towards the Prince. He'd never seen someone who looked like him before. His skin looked to be kissed by the sun, his eyes a vibrant green to which Jack had never been privy too and then there was his hair color…and the marking on his forehead. Jack had been captivated, sneaking peaks at the two the rest of the night as he milled about his own work. In the end, though, they proved to be a short lived distraction for Jack. His thoughts circled back to tomorrow almost instantaneously.
Time went by quickly that night for Jack. The brothel seemed especially busy with guests that had dared to visit during one of the few days the sentries weren't at the Kingdom's borders. Jack found that he couldn't sleep that night, too excited to do anything other than toss and turn in bed, his chest constricting in impatience and excitement. Oh how he couldn't wait for the morning. How he couldn't wait to show to his mother that he could make her proud and impress the King accordingly with all of the table manners she had instilled in him, all the etiquette, the 'proper' way of dancing even if he did have a hard time with it. As the sky began to brighten Jack found himself up and about, dressing in his best clothes and meeting his mother in the kitchen of their small, shack-like, room that held cracks overflowing with snow from outside even if the room did have a spell on it to silence all outside noise.
Jack's mother knelt, gathered his small hand in hers along with gathering his sister into her arm. He watched as his mother hiked his sister onto her hip a little higher as they headed through the Kingdom's City—the blizzard ceasing and allowing them a safe journey to the Kingdom's front gates.
Jack found himself inside the entry, his mother looking tentatively back and forth. Jack happened to see King North and Prince Aster standing just to the left of the stairs. Jack smiled widely and waved, giggling happily when North smiled at him and waved back—Aster rolling his eyes and Jack watched as he hugged himself and rubbed his arms furiously in an attempt to warm up. Jack's attention was diverted when the Southern King appeared at the top of the stairs. Jack's mouth fell agape as he looked at their King.
He stood tall, shoulders back and a white gold crown that glinted with every stray light that hit it—the gems small and as they circle the crown turned from an icy, almost white, blue to a deep blue sapphire that sat directly over the center of the King's forehead. His cloak was navy blue in color, shrouded with gray colored fur from the wolves that had once lived in the region. His shirt was thickly woven wool, lined with more fur and adorned with white gold interlocking chains on his chest against the pale blue color of his tunic. His belt was leather, intricate gusts of wind etched into it, his Royal rapier sitting on his left hip—ready to be drawn should he need it. His pants were black, tucking into his fur trimmed plush leather boots. In all his attire looked as if it had been freshly made yesterday and today was the first day he was wearing it.
Jack then looked at the King's craggy features, which gave away his age even if he did stand up straight. His eyebrows were thick, unkept, and sat above a pair of bright blue eyes that looked dulled with age and stress. Crow's feet sat on the outside of those eyes. Jack also noted that the King had a crooked nose, having looked to have been broken and had healed improperly. His mouth was set in a firm frown, a thick beard adorning his jaw and falling to the top of his sternum. He looked…withered. Exhausted. Yet, he still had an air about him that warned anyone against opposing him.
Jack watched with wide eyes and the King from the North conversed with their King, speaking in hushed tones that had an edge to them. It wasn't long before the Southern King dismissed the Northern King and Prince. It wasn't long before Jack heard the echoing slamming of the front doors as the two royals from the North took their seemingly permanent leave for the time being, leaving the Southern King to his business.
Jack soon found himself escorted forward along with a few other boys his age, put through a series of tests that all related to their manners. Jack would find that he was one of the five that made it through to the last of the tests. As it was he stood with the others just outside of the throne room that was acting as a temporary ballroom. Jack's focus from the dancing feat that was about to be at hand broke when he saw his mother inside, a worried look to her gaze again as his sister held tightly to her skirts. Jack found himself buying into the anxiety that was in the air as he got closer and closer to the entrance to the ballroom. He halted when told to, waiting for the woman who was acting as partner for them all to swing back around and pick him up.
Jack swallowed nervously as she dropped off the boy that had been in front of Jack, his eyes roving the line in front of the boys his age in front of their King and the blackened crystal looming him. The woman reached Jack and held out her hand, snapping Jack's attention back to her.
He bowed, the lessons his mother taught him echoing in every movement he made as he enveloped the woman into his arms as best he could given the size differences between them and led her out onto the dance floor. He got three steps in before something crackled through the air.
Silence fell and Jack froze in surprise as the crystal began to hum. Jack's head whipped around when he heard his mother gasp from the edge of the ballroom—then he was horrified as the hiss of swords being drawn from their scabbards rang out from through room.
Jack's eyes darted to the crystal and for a brief moment it flickered back to life…then Jack realized what was happening around him.
Jack was turned away from the scene when guards had walked up behind the mothers and sons, taking them into strong arms and brandishing their swords at the receptive parties' throats. Jack didn't need to see what had happened. He knew. Jack's eyes had widened in horror, his face buried into the skirts of the woman who had been acting as his dancing partner, as the screams that echoed out around them turned into gurgles. It wasn't long before the very woman Jack had been dancing with gripped his shoulders and pushed him forward from the room, followed quickly by the Prince who had been told to go with them.
Sarah. That had been the name of the woman. She had told him while they rushed from the ballroom to escape before Jack was tugged to a halt as he heard the King.
"Jackson Overland!" He bellowed out from the throne room. "Who would have thought that worthless whore would have bore you to term! Come back and I won't kill your sister!"
Jack gulped; eyes wide as he turned his gaze to the woman who had been acting as his dance partner. She shook her head, eyes wide as she knelt down next to him. She took his jaw into her cupped hands and Jack saw tears gathering.
"Jack…you need to run…" She told him—pleaded with him. "Your sister will be fine, but if you go back you will be killed and this Kingdom may never be liberated from this Blizzard. This entire party had been Krampus' attempt to coax possible heirs from the Kingdom so that he wouldn't have to give up his throne. Go. Run. I will be fine and I will help in whatever ways I can should you escape today."
The King's voice bellowed out again and Jack's pseudo-savior urged him forward down the hallway just before Krampus turned the corner, tugging Jack's sister with him by her hair. Jack's eyes widened as he took in the sight of his sister, helpless as she was held nearly off her feet with the tight grip their King had on her hair.
"Don't run, boy." The King threatened dangerously, meeting Jack's gaze.
Jack swallowed; his gaze dipping to his sister's who gave a shout for him to run. His sister's cry was what gave him the strength to take a step back and run. He weaved his way through the fairly empty Castle of their King and was shortly bursting from the kitchen's exit, the blizzard outside dying down as soon as his shoe soled heel met the snow on the ground. He heard a shout of outrage from inside the castle, followed quickly by the thumping of reindeer hooves on the ground, chasing him down.
His lungs had been on fire, but Jack would escape that day. He would end up living in the cold unforgiving snow laden woods—protected by something he couldn't see or hear…until that day.
He heard the wind pick up dangerously, almost as if it was carrying something before the plea reached him. It urged him to wake up and—oddly—help. To return back to his Southern village and go to the woman who had saved his life. Jack had listened, like he always did when whatever 'it' was told him to do something. It had never led him astray before, why would it now?
Jack found the woman, Sarah, in the snow laden woods trekking through it with two children. Both resembled her, both recognized Jack from previous encounters at the brothel and the few times Jack would drop by to their residence for some fun and games. Jack would spend a good day tagging alongside this family, a family that had nearly became a new one for him. Jack acted as their guide through the tumultuous Southern Kingdom's lands, surprising even Sarah herself as he seemed to have a way with the cold like that of the long past Elementalists that had once walked their land. However fun Jack made the journey with his stories and energy, his ever prevalent knack for fun, he soon found himself facing a desperate decision. After helping Sarah, who had saved his life in the Castle, to the border he found the Northern King awaiting at the border.
Jack soon faced a good King in need of assistance and a Prince who was desperate to help on the borders of the Southern Kingdom. Jack had followed that voice in the wind, had listened to it when it blew by and told him to assist this family he had grown attached to and 'it' had eventually led him to the scene at hand. As Sarah trekked across the border King North and Prince Aster would try to fight off the sentry at there. Jack would find himself climbing a tree, eventually, along the border where he could watch the Northern King and his adopted son Prince Aster attempt to fight off one of the recently adorned Polar bear sentries established there to halt the attempts of escape from the bleak Southern Kingdom.
Jack had been able to help with that situation, if only a little, by providing a distraction. It bought his family and the royals from the North time to safely cross the border where the magic on the sentry would wear off, any attempts on the lives on the other side ceased. Jack had remembered the ice he had summoned by accident, had remembered watching Aster slip on it as he attempted to get back across the border to help him as the polar bear sentry turned and let out an angry growl as it pitted its eyes on Jack—who had gone from distraction to primary target.
It hadn't been anything he hadn't dealt with before, and losing the sentry was a simple task for someone who had taken to the snow laden woods and turned the barren wasteland into his home.
But little had Jack known what would happen later that exact day as he set off to help another group to the border that held his sister. Jack had swallowed, broken from the memory for a moment and sucking in a breath he hadn't known he'd been holding. He felt Tooth adjust her hands and once again that bright light sprang forth. That day Jack would attract the King's attention for one last time—in a futile attempt to save his sister who he had thought was surely dead.
Jack's lungs burned in a familiar way, his legs threatening to buckle below him as each step brought on a fire that nearly paralyzed him and his feet ached from the cold biting into both of them along with the many scrapes that adorned their soles. Jack stumbled when his sister had—all of her group of refugees having been killed before they could reach the border—the King for once choosing to take the front line of the pursuit because he had somehow found out the group held Jack's sister.
Jack had ended up yelping as he crawled out onto a lake, his sister scrambling to get across the frozen over lake and eventually they both scrabbled into the center of it—both fearful of their surroundings as the thunder of hooves sounded out on the perimeter, effectively surrounding them.
Jack's breath misted out in front of him as he clenched his hands together and made sure to step between the King and his sister. No matter how courageous a front, though, Jack still curled into himself as none other than the King stepped forward onto the icy lake with a stride that exuded confidence. Jack's breath caught when a groan sounded out from the lake, followed by a sharp crack as the lake's surface began to break below each step of the King's foot—like something was purposefully trying to weaken the ice. Jack found himself stepping backwards, away from the threat that was his King in front of him as his sister hit the edge of the lake where she was hauled up by a guard in a futile attempt to sneak through their perimeter.
Jack stepped back in an attempt to turn and fight off whoever had grabbed his sister before he was gasping as his foot slipped and he fell onto his rump—eyes widening as his King reached for his rapier. The lake cracked, threatening to buckle yet again before Jack found himself lurching to his feet to get off the lake and finding himself impaled through the heart upon righting himself.
Jack heard two screams. One came from what sounded like the wind while the other came from his very own sister, both mourning this action as Jack stumbled back when the King removed his rapier with a jerky tug and cold eyes. Jack barely had time to register the lake as it gave out under the heel of his right foot. Shortly after that he was encased in cold and cracked chunks of ice were what surrounded him, the water above him swirling with a deep red that bloomed from his chest.
Jack's vision dulled, fear encasing him as he realized after nearly a year of escaping the King's wrath—something he had no idea how he even acquired—that his short life was already at an end.
Jack gasped, blinking back into himself and stumbling backwards. He found his feet, gripping his head and hyperventilating as he remembered waking up that night. It had felt as if he had been pulled from the lake by a string at his heart, gusts of chilled wind keeping him afloat for a brief moment. Jack remembered taking in startled gasping breaths before he looked at his surroundings in confusion. He felt himself lowered onto the frozen lake below him, watching as the second his crystalline—blue as the ice on the lake below him—looking foot touched the broken surface of the lake. He marveled as his foot made contact with the cracked surface he had rose from, the crack he had emerged from freezing over with a strength that Jack inherently knew hadn't been there before. His body was unfamiliar in its crystalline looks when he looked down at himself, glittering as a diamond would in the moonlight that filtered in through the single break in the Blizzard's gray clouds.
Jack remembered being interconnected to the cold, remembered how important it was to him—but now he could feel it breathing life into him, keeping his heart pumping. With this realization Jack had stared down at hands that were familiar yet alien, twisting and turning the appendages with awe. It was his body, he knew that, but it had suddenly become a very alien thing. It felt alive as the cold encased him, a heart beating in his chest that had been dormant not a moment ago, the cold acting as a revitalizing agent around him and giving him strength to his limbs while empowering him.
Jack felt his knees threaten to buckle, having not remembered that part of his awakening till this very moment—the memories crashing into him in such succession he found himself stunned, forgetting to even breathe. He had always had an affinity with cold before that—but not to the extent that he had felt that day, even if he had watched as his form shifted—the sharply edged ice spikes along his forearms and legs retracting back into him and his Human flesh flushing out to his old, tanned, color with his brown hair and brown eyes.
It wouldn't be till he hit his teens that he would adopt his bright blue eyes, pale milky colored skin and snow white hair. He had no explanation for suddenly flushing out like that…nor did he know where to even start searching for more answers.
Jack's eyes widened as he looked to Tooth, panic and sudden realization causing him to be speechless. Tooth then stood in front of him, carefully approaching with her breath fogging out in front of her—Jack's out of control emotions dropping the temperature of the room to dangerous levels.
"Jack? What did you see?" Tooth asked, her teeth chattering and bringing Jack back into himself.
He sucked in a sharp breath, reeling in his emotions—reeling in everything—and hearing Tooth sigh in relief as the warmth of the fire settled over them quickly, no longer held at bay by the extreme cold Jack had been expelling.
Jack sucked in a breath and looked to Tooth. "I saw…I saw what happened to me…but I don't know how I woke up after dying."
Tooth tilted her head, brows furrowed. "You…died?"
Jack nodded. "At seven. Not half a year after running into North and Bunny too."
Tooth's hands lifted and she placed them on her mouth, eyes filling with tears. "Oh Jack…I'm so sorry."
Jack, choosing to not even let it bother him for the moment, shrugged and put on a false grin. "Well, I'm here and breathing now so it isn't all that bad, is it?"
He felt a smidgeon of relief when Tooth didn't press it. Instead she encased him into a hug that spoke volumes to him. He returned it, his eyes going to the window and seeing that they had literally spent all day in Tooth's bedroom going through those memories—and Jack still didn't have all the answers to his questions. Jack soon stepped away from Tooth, promising her another sparring match before he left to go hunt down Bunny—needing the comfort of his Mate before he even thought of anything further pertaining to his memories.
What Jack hadn't known was that Aster had woken up agitated and angry—mostly at himself. Parts of it were directed towards Jack, but only a small portion of it. However the course of a day had curdled Aster's mood considerably. The meeting that morning was filled with the ever irritating council who kept arguing with both North and him over their joint decision to delay the declaration of war with the South. When that had passed, popping up intermittently with the few who refused to drop it and move on, they were brought full circle with the updates of the Kingdom itself before Aster found himself being pressed for answers to whom he was courting.
It had worn on Aster's last nerve.
At the dinner table he glared at his meal instead of eating it, realizing that Jack wasn't there. Only taking a meager three bites before he excused himself due to the tightness of his chest that told him Jack was upset, but he hadn't been able to find him. Aster just hoped Jack wasn't off doing something stupid, hoping that Jack would return unharmed.
Unable to think of anything else to do Aster drew himself a bath, making sure the water was especially hot and sinking into its warmth with a sated sigh. He let himself relax for a few moments more before he groaned as he sat himself up from his slouched position, propped his elbows up out of the water and onto the edge of his tub while he pitted a glare towards the opposite end, feeling that pressing weight on his chest that was only relieved when he saw Jack enter into the bathroom.
Aster's mouth fell agape when Jack sat one of the very rare tooth containers onto the counter of his bathroom and began to strip as he stepped for the bath tub. At first Aster was going to bark at him to get out—then he saw how worn out Jack looked. How mentally tired he appeared and how it reflected itself in his features.
He watched as Jack crawled into the bathtub after getting permission from him to join. He watched as his Mate settled himself in, surprised when Jack suddenly crossed the plane of space between them to get into Aster's lap. At first Aster welcomed this bold move—especially after a day of not seeing or speaking to each other before he became hesitant with the realization that this behavior was odd for Jack.
Aster felt a warring of emotions as Jack made a show of moving himself into Aster's lap, straddling Aster's thighs and cupping his jaw before tilting his head back just enough where he could see Jack's blue eyes staring down at him with tears threatening to overspill. Aster was about to open his mouth and ask Jack about those tears before he was pulled forward as Jack's lips met his, silencing any of Aster's questions.
At first Aster was taken aback when that kiss, initially feeling tentative in its boldness, turned rough and demanding—taking on a desperate edge that had Aster worried. Aster found himself trying to wriggle from Jack's embrace and that frantic kiss, desperate to figure out what had upset him.
As it was Jack's throat had tightened as he gripped Aster in his arms, desperate to remind himself that he was alive—despite what the container had shown him. In the mean time his emotions had shot to the forefront, turning his once intended to be gentle, loving and wrought with forgiveness kiss into one heady with the desperation of a dying man.
He felt Aster tense in his arms, and hated that he was pushed away. Jack swallowed as he looked at Aster whose frown was evident, worry making his face twist into a look of anger.
"Jack…Mate…what's wrong?" Aster asked, letting out a sigh and lifting his hands to Jack's waist to hold him in place—applying pressure to Jack's waist with his fingertips as he tried to squirm and get out from Aster's arms. "Jack, talk ta me please."
Jack heard Aster swallow anxiously as he turned his head away and dipped it so that Aster couldn't see his features. He heard Aster sigh and felt him let go of his waist.
Jack wondered if Aster was waiting for him to flee until he was ready to talk, still too scared to push Jack while he was so…so fragile from the startling revelations that had been given to him by his past memories. Jack briefly lifted his gaze to Aster.
It was here that Aster felt Jack move and he glanced away, preparing himself for the inevitable sound of displaced water as his Mate got out of the bath and walked away. He swallowed, getting ready to close his eyes and suppress the hurt that went along with Jack walking out on him, still unable to open up and trust Aster with whatever was upsetting him.
storygirl99210: Haha thank you :)
Optomistic Emo Kleptomaniac: Tensions back again though :/ I gotta fix these two twats so they can do what I want them too.
DarkStarlessNight: Next Chapter ^_^
Rychan6: Jack's gonna give him a panic attack...but later.
Ultravioletlex: Yes, more fighting! They got important shit to work out over the next few Chapters. There's still a lot more to Jack's backstory btw lol.
sticksandstones713: Yes cliffhangers! And yes he *is* the Southern Prince...
yey: Those maids have hell to pay still, yes. Haha you guys like Pitch slipping don't you.
echoesofthebadwolf: Everyone loves the torturing of the maids XD
Good Witch of Babble: Yea I took a bit of a hiatus there for a breather. Also yes, there's going to be fights.
Guest (A): You are the magnificent being who I spoke too up top. Thank you for the review :)
Inoshi: Stahppit! Don't shake the author, its as bad as shaking the baby. Also I'm glad you like it!