Jack snuggled closer to the warmth next to him. He felt a strong arm settle around his midsection, pulling him closer. The winter spirit cracked an eye open, only to be greeted by a mound of fur.
"I have to go to the bathroom."
"And I need you to let go of me." The pooka only tightened his grip in response.
"Never." Jack managed to push the other off of him. He hastily stood up ad stretched.
"Are you excited about tonight, Frostbite?"
Jack thought for a moment and responded, "Yeah. I think it'll be a nice change of pace for everyone. A party is just what we need. No more problems-at least for a little while." Jack had surprised himself by how close Bunny and him had gotten. They told each other everything. It was nice... it was comforting.
"It's in a couple of hours, so we should probably go ahead and get ready." That's what they did. The first part was just washing up while the second was making sure the warren would be safe while they were gone. They took a joined bath in one of the warren's lakes, then Bunny checked all of the warren's entrances while Jack got dressed. Once they were ready, they moved through the tunnel that lead to the North Pole.
Jack couldn't help but smile. He had truly missed this place. He missed the smell of gingerbread and the sound of jingle bells in the air. He saw the outline of Tooth flying around with Sandy while North was yelling at one of the yeti to change the color of a bouncy ball. The three of them of them stopped what they were doing and joined them once they noticed Jack and Bunny. Everyone took their time embracing each other. Out of instinct, Tooth looked at Jack's teeth to make sure he was taking care of them. When she realized what she was doing, she removed her hand and apologized.
Jack grabbed her hand. "Tooth, you don't have to apologize. It's alright. In fact, I'm glad. You haven't done that in so long, I'm glad that things are finally starting to return to normal."
Tooth smiled. "Of course, Jack. You're right. C'mon, isn't this supposed to be a party?"
And party they did.
They ate and danced and played games. Jack never stopped smiling because he was spending time with the ones he loved. It had only been a few days since he left Pitch, but so much had happened since then. The guardians were astonished when Jack told them that he had regained some of his sight. He had gone over his training with Pitch and his new abilities, which had taken a long time. Jack had been apprehensive about how the others-especially Bunny-would react when he told them that he had given a child a nightmare.
To his surprise, everyone was extremely supportive, especially North. He explained that every parent had to scold their child at some point. Jack giving a child a nightmare was no different then Santa Claus giving coal to a child on the naughty list. There was nothing to be ashamed of. To say that Jack was relieved would be an understatement.
Jack also learned that he could somewhat communicate with Sandy. He could sense dream sand, even though he couldn't control it, and could therefore sense Sandman's thoughts. Sandy was made of the stuff after all, and Jack had nightmare sand inside of him as well. A sort of telekinesis, if you would. They would often have silent conversations, and Jack had come to enjoy them. Yes, everything was starting to fall back into place. Well, except for a few things.
Like Pitch Black, but they would deal with him as well. After the party had ended, Jack and Bunny decided to spend the night at the Pole, as did everyone else. North was happy to have the extra company. In the morning, after a delightful breakfast, they had a conversation about said man.
"I don't see why we haven't blown him off the face of the earth yet." Bunny exclaimed.
North replied, "We couldn't. Man in Moon said that we needed Pitch."
"We don't anymore! Jack can do everything Pitch can! Well... to an extent." Jack couldn't help agree with Bunny's words.
"That is true. Jack can control nightmares now. Perhaps we should talk to Man in Moon when night falls." Everyone nodded in agreement and left to fill the time.
Of course, Jack and Bunny spent theirs together. At first they just lounged around, but they quickly became bored. Jack had an idea, but Bunny was hesitant to take part in it. Eventually Jack wore his boyfriend down and he relented. The two were crouched behind the doorway of the kitchen. Jack had his eyes on Phil, who was cooking dinner for everyone.
"Frostbite, I don't think this is a good idea-"
"Sh!" Jack interrupted. "Just sit back and watch the master."
The young spirit formed a ball of harmless nightmare sand in his hand since he still hadn't regained his ice powers. The pooka couldn't help but stare. Sure, Jack had explained his new abilities, but he hadn't shown them. Even though Bunny knew that Jack would never hurt anyone, it was hard to shake the feeling that something bad always happens when nightmare sand was involved. Bunny would trust his mate, even if his gut told him not to.
"Okay Frostbite, as long as you're sure." Jack smiled and turned his attention back tot he task at hand. With a deep breath he pulled back his arm, aimed, and fired. Jack hurled the ball at Phil, which hit him in the back of the head. The young spirit grabbed Bunny's arm and pulled him as he ran. In the background, they could hear Phil yelling at them. The two stepped into a side room and couldn't help but start laughing.
By the time they finished, they were out of breath and their ribs hurt. Bunny looked at Jack lovingly. How could ever doubt his fellow guardian? Bunny knew he would never make that mistake again. Eventually the two calmed down.
"See?" Jack asked. "I told you it would be fun. You need to have a little more fun in your life. Honestly, you're such a sour puss. I mean-"
"Alright mate, I get it. No need to carry on." Bunny pouted. Jack smiled. The two looked up when they heard the dinner bells ringing. It seemed that their little escapade didn't have as much of an effect as they thought. Jack and Bunny made their way to the dinning hall to eat.
Sandy and Tooth were already there when the two arrived. They sat down at the large rectangular table across from their friends. Tooth was about to say something when the door burst open and North walked in. He sat down at the head of the table. The five greeted each other as the yeti began to bring out their dinner. The guardians laughed and told stories as they ate, happy just to be in each other's company. Eventually they finished their meal and had to focus on more pertinent matters.
"Jack, my boy. It is night time, yeah? Man in Moon is waiting for us. Shall we go speak with him now?" North asked. Jack gazed at the table in front of him and nodded. He felt Bunny grab his hand and tell him it was going to be okay. North asked him if he wanted to do it alone, or if he wanted to have the other with him for support.
"You guys are my family, there's no way I'd be here without you. Of course I want you with me." Everyone smiled and stood up. The five of them made their way to the room with the opening roof.
"Do you ever forget to close the roof?"
"Me? No. Yeti, all the time! I always see snow all over workshop! There is reason we work inside and not out, yeah?" Everyone laughed at North's outrageousness. They knew that Jack was trying to change the topic. After all, this would be the first time he spoke to Manny himself, and the two hadn't exactly hit it off over the past few centuries. Nevertheless, Jack was trying, and that was all that mattered.
They arrived at their destination and walked inside the large room. The room was completely shrouded in darkness, and Jack feared that he had lost his sight again. He felt Tooth put her hand on his should and heard the hum of her wings. The winter spirit instantly relaxed, glad that his mother figure was close by. Creaking echoed throughout the room as North opened the roof. The room was enveloped with moonlight from the full moon, and Jack found it enthralling.
Jack felt his stomach twist into knots as he made his way across the room. Would the Man in the Moon even want to talk to him? After all, he did almost abandon him for 300 years. On the other hand, he did make him a guardian and he never would've met Jamie otherwise. Of course, he probably wouldn't have met Pitch either. Maybe the whole thing had just been Manny's plan from the start to ruin his after life. Jack wouldn't put the man. What would he even say? 'Hey MiM, I know we haven't talked in three centuries, but I have a favor to ask?' Jack was pulled out of his thoughts when he reached the podium like structure bathed in direct moonlight.
"It's alright, Jack. Take your time." North calmed. That was a lot easier said than done.
The youngest guardian took a deep breath and looked at the night sky. "Hey, Manny."
Ah... Jackson. My how you have grown. We have not spoken in a long time, what is it that I can do for you? It took a moment for Jack to respond. He hadn't actually expected him to answer.
"Oh, wow. You actually answered me. I never thought you would..."
Jackson, I never abandon my children. It may not be obvious, but I am always with you; guiding you to your destiny. I assume that's why you're here.
"Uh, yeah, actually. The guardians and I have been talking, and we've decided that Pitch has to go."
Young guardian, it is not that simple. The world needs Pitchiner's abilities to function. You can not simply get rid of Darkness, otherwise I wouldn't have created it in the first place.
"But Manny, I have Pitch's powers too! I can control nightmares!"
As I am aware, but are you willing to take on the role of Boogieman as a guardian?
"Yes, of course! Controlling someone's fear doesn't make me evil, it's how I choose to use it."
That's what I wanted to hear.
A blinding white light enveloped the room, causing everyone to close their eyes. When everyone opened their eyes, they were surprised to find that Jack's appearance had changed. His dark blue hoodie turned into a light blue cloak that revealed skinny black pants and a form fitting blue shirt with long white sleeves. The black marks across his skin and hair and turned to a dull grey that shimmered in the moonlight. Not only did Jack's appearance change, but he also felt lighter. The pain and worry he had carried over the last few months seemed to have vanished.
"I don't understand-"
Jackson, you've gone through and overcome so much, it's changed you in ways that you will never be able to change. You have a whole new side to yourself, and as such, you're a whole new guardian. By pledging your commitment to this world, you've embraced your destiny. With your new abilities you'll show children what needs to be done, but your ice powers will show them joy and fun. After all, what goes better than cold and dark?
You're no longer the guardian of fun, that chapter of your after life has long since passed. No Jackson, now you are the Guardian of Reason!
"But what about Pitch? And my staff is still broken. I've tried, but I can't fix it..."
Do not fret about Pitchiner, my child. I will deal with him as I should have a long time ago. As for your staff, it is waiting for you, fixed and ready for its master. You couldn't fix your ice powers because you didn't have control over your nightmare powers. Go, Jackson Overland Frost, and never stop walking.
Jack rushed out of the room and ran down the corridors until he reached the room where he recovered from Pitch's attacks. True to the man's word, Jack's staff leaned against the window in one piece. Jack grabbed the staff and felt a rush of cold run through him as the window blew open from the wind. Patterns of frost and nightmare sand bloomed across the wood and Jack couldn't help but smile. The young guardian felt the tears well up in his eyes as Bunny walked into the room. Jack quickly wiped them away then looked at his mate.
And in that moment, Jack knew that he was going to be okay.