Disclaimer: not mine

Chapter 10

North smiled as he saw the two eternal teens curled together on the couch. He was glad they were so comfortable in his home; they were even without their cloaks! It was very rare to see Jack without his, not that North blamed him after the attack he had suffered the one time he had not worn it properly.

He just hoped it all went well, he just knew the others would end up learning the truth about Jack and likely Harry. Aster had never been the most open minded when it came to Winter Spirits. He wasn't sure how they would all handle Death being a physical being, death was a part of life but not a well-accepted part. He doubted Sandy would have much issue with Harry's role. Tooth could go either way but he thought her care for Jack and Baby Tooth's love for the boy would let her accept Harry. He may be an eternal teenager, but he was older than all of them, despite his modern birthdate.

North could not imagine the millennia of loneliness he had suffered, only briefly having contact with the recently dead. Had…had Manny created Jack not just to be a Guardian but to be a companion to Death? Why else would he expend so much power to bring back Jack from death? Of course, that was assuming he knew of Harry's existence which was not definite. North himself had not known of the boy until he had met him after that horrible storm and even then, he had only had suspicions on who Harry was.

"Incoming," Harry murmured, sitting up, and seconds later, golden sand filled the air.

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Tooth flew into the room, seeing only Aster was yet to arrive. She saw them gathered near the fire and blinked when she realised there was a head of black hair beside one of silver. Was this Jack's Harry? She dropped lower, taking him in. His skin was lightly tanned, contrasting against Jack's pale complexion. They really were a pair in contrast, except their eyes. They were different colours but both had brilliant colours, not shades found on humans.

She landed and Jack turned to her, tangling his hand with the others, it had to be Harry.

"Hi Tooth," Jack grinned, flashing his teeth, making her girls swoon.

"Hello Jack," she smiled back. "And this must be Harry."

The other teen grinned, revealing his teeth. Hmm, his teeth were very nice too, but not as good as Jack's. Still, her girls fluttered around to give a closer inspection and he put up with it better than many Spirits.

"Nice to meet you Tooth," he offered with a distinct British accent.

She bit back a squeal of delight when Jack leant closer to Harry, green eyes so soft as he looked at Jack. They were so sweet! Though, she did wonder what kind of Spirit Harry was, there was nothing obvious about him to indicate it.

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Aster hugged himself, it was freezing! It always was at the Pole. Made him wonder where Frost called home and how cold it was. He still wasn't sure what to think about him, he was a Winter Spirit…but unlike any other of his kind that Aster had met. Maybe the kid was so different from the others he lived in the tropics…though he doubted it.

He rushed towards the workshop, wanting to get warm again, dashing right to the fire. Thankfully, there was a warm mug of cider ready and waiting for him on the table near the fire. He looked up as his feet began to warm up, realising he was the last to arrive. Tooth was hovering around a dark-haired stranger, had to be Jack's Harry then. Physically, other than height, they were opposites, so could the boy be a summer spirit? He scented the air but no, it was hard to pick up his scent but it wasn't summer or any season. There was something vaguely familiar about it though, something he'd caught in the air before…he'd work it out eventually.

The Spirit looked over at him, taking him in, and Aster tensed slightly, ready for the common reaction to his form. To his surprise Harry just smiled, Jack pulling him over.

"Harry, this is Bunny. Bunny, this is Harry," the winter spirit introduced them and Harry offered a hand to shake, not flinching from his when he returned the gesture.

"Nice ta meet you," Aster offered.

"Likewise." Huh, he was British, or at least spent enough time there to pick up the accent. From what North had said, he assumed Harry was at least a few decades older than Frost. Was that why the kid was so different to other winter spirits, because of Harry's influence?

They soon beginning planning just how to deal with those causing the problems the two had been dealing with, without them ever seeing what was going on. He could understand him and North missing it, but Sandy and Tooth's fairies? They travelled all over the world every night, they should have noticed something, the deaths at least.

In the end, they broke up into pairs; Frost with him, North with Harry, and then Sandy and Tooth together. He supposed it worked but he just knew what North was up to pairing him with the Manny's choice for new Guardian. Hey, at least he didn't have to deal with Hades, North had cheerfully claimed that one and Aster did not see it going well at all.

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"Are you really coming with me to deal with Hades?" Harry asked once the others had cleared out.

"Of course! Whole point to pairing off is to ensure backup."

"And I need backup against Hades?" one eyebrow lifted and North shrugged.

"Well…no, but you don't wish to explain that to others so I shall help."

Yeah, this was going to go wonderfully.

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Jack walked quietly beside Bunny, part of him really wanted to ask him about life on other worlds and what it was like being an alien…except he shouldn't know that. He knew Bunny still wasn't sure of him, despite his help and even killing Pitch, but that was okay, he didn't trust the Pooka, not yet. Against someone like Pitch, he'd trust him in battle, but not in general, especially with his known dislike of his kind of spirit.

"You ever met any of this lot?" Bunny suddenly asked.

"Not that I'm aware of," Jack shrugged. "I don't really hang around other spirits let alone gods. Have you?"

"Long time ago, yeah." They walked in silence for a while. "North said you've been keeping the other winter spirits out of mischief."

"Mischief?" Jack shook his head. "More like malicious 'fun'," he growled. "Winters can be hard enough on people without their work adding to it. We're not meant to do that." He could feel Bunny staring but he kept walking. He understood why others felt the way they did about his kind considering the issues he'd had to deal with. "I don't like killing," he muttered.

"Huh," Bunny commented. "Winter kills."

"Doesn't mean I have to like it," he snapped and then Bunny grabbed his arm, and Jack tensed.

"Have you?" he demanded.

Jack closed his eyes, great. At least his cloak was done up even if the hood was down so he was mostly protected. "Bunny…I am Winter. I wasn't always but I am now. Winter is the most dangerous season and death is a part of that. Death is a natural part of life." And yet he couldn't truly die. "A lot of the time those deaths are horrible though, slowly freezing to death, black ice, avalanches…the list goes on. It doesn't need idiot spirits making it more dangerous." He took to the air, moving ahead, not wanting to keep talking at the moment.

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"Ah, Hades!" North called as they entered his domain.

"What do you want?" the man moved from the dancing shadows caused by the fire.

"You are on Naughty list," North smirked.

"And what do I care about…" Hades trailed off, and North knew his companion had been spotted.

"Care now?" Harry practically purred as he stepped around him, and North had to admit it was very amusing to see the god gulp. "Did you think I wouldn't find out?" Harry demanded.

"What do a few deaths matter my Lord?"

North winced, oh dear, that was definitely not the right thing to say.

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Harry lay back on the bed in the room they had in the Workshop, smiling when the door opened and Jack walked in. "How'd it go?" he asked, and Jack shrugged out of his cloak.

He stripped and crawled into the bed, curling against Harry, even as he leant in for a kiss. "Pairing me and Bunny was the worst idea North's ever had," he admitted, and Harry held him close.

"What happened?" he asked, worried. Jack sighed, resting his head over Harry's heart, and he listened as the spirit went over their discussion, running his fingers through soft white hair.

"I didn't outright say it," he whispered.

"But you didn't deny it," Harry finished, and Jack nodded. "It'll be okay." He knew Jack wanted the Guardians to like him, despite turning down joining them. North understood his role, could the rest?

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Sandy watched Aster pace, obviously agitated. Something must have happened with Jack, but what? Had they found nothing and he was upset? Or had they argued? Jack seemed a nice boy to him, he'd saved him from Pitch's attack and been badly hurt doing so.

"Bunny, what's wrong?" Tooth asked, before he could pick up and shake an elf for attention.

He began to rant about Jack…being a killer like all winter spirits. Oh. That was part of his issue with winter spirits. But Sandy didn't think Jack would kill maliciously. He wished he knew the boy better, so he would understand him, but when he would try to ask him about that later.

Of course, North and Aster began arguing, at least it was about something other than their holidays.

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Tooth flew down into the archives, grateful North had given them a range for Jack's age, letting her magic guide her. The idea that he had lost his memory did not sit well with her at all. Finally, she touched a tooth container, staring at the image on the front. It was of a boy with brown hair and eyes, so different to Jack and yet she knew it was him. His appearance had changed a lot when he became a spirit.

That Jack hadn't denied killing to Aster…she didn't know what to think. Had he ever killed a child? Surely not, Manny wanted him as a Guardian. But storms, even blizzards were a natural part of the world, was it really his fault if people died during one? Winter had existed long before Jack Frost had been made a spirit.

She picked up the container, she would offer it to him, and let him explain more. She didn't believe Jack was bad, North would never let him have free run of the Workshop if he was.

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North sighed before sipping his hot cocoa. That could have gone worse, at least Hades had been properly cowed and it had been fun to watch. The other groups hadn't found their targets yet but they had all known it would take time. Bunny…Aster…his reaction to Jack had not been unexpected but it was disappointing. But at least now he was thinking about his attitude, it had taken him explaining that storm and what he had seen…the child. He had to help him see that Jack was not malicious, if he killed it was to ease the persons suffering.

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Jack spun the golden container around his hand, he kept stopping to stare at the image. That was really him? He didn't get why Tooth had given it to him, he'd told her he didn't need the memories back. And yet, now that it was in his hand…

A kiss was pressed to his bare shoulder and he leant back against the firm, warm, body behind him. "You going to activate it?" Harry asked, arm wrapping around his waist as they reclined in bed.

"Should I?" he sighed. "It's been so long, what would it change?"

"Probably nothing," Harry admitted. "You met your family, had your goodbyes. You know how and why you died. I doubt there's any important memories in there that you don't know about. But that's the thing, you know about them, you don't actually remember."

Jack groaned in annoyance. "I wish she hadn't done this," he muttered, and Harry chuckled. He stared at the image again and then ran a finger down the seam, the box lighting up as the bedroom faded away.

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"Good morning Sweet Tooth," she greeted, watching Jack pause, blinking in confusion, and she smiled at him.

"Morning Tooth," he offered and then held something out to her, his tooth box. "You should have this back."

"Did you look?"

He nodded. "How can my death be in there if I haven't lost any teeth since then?" he asked, and she swallowed. Right, North had told them Jack had died, she hadn't forgotten, she couldn't, but she had consciously tried not to think about that.

"Because they're your teeth, tied to you. Something so important, so traumatic, can link back to the stored teeth." He'd seen his death, that hadn't been what she was hoping for, she'd wanted to give him happy memories. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," he shook his head, offering a shy smile. "I knew what happened but seeing it, knowing I saved her, is better.

"Oh, okay," she smiled back at him. "Should we go?"

"Sure." He took to the air, and she followed.

The search for the troublemakers was taking longer than any of them would like, but they all had duties that still needed seeing too. How had North and Harry managed to track Hades down on the first day and convince him to stay out of it?

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Harry lounged in the water, smiling as Jack joined him, holding him close. It was good to be home, as much as he liked North's it could be a little too noisy and busy. They had all agreed to a few days off searching though, tempers were fraying with the lack of results.

Jack kissed him and Harry grinned, letting his hands run over cool wet skin. He definitely preferred how alive Jack was at home compared to when they were elsewhere, it made everything better and gave them a lot more options for having fun together.

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Aster watched the winter spirit, saw him sneaking a cookie to an elf, icing a patch of floor for others to play on… It was hard to equate that behaviour with someone who had killed people…had killed at least one child. North insisted Jack wasn't a killer, that he'd done the kind thing and ended the child's suffering, like he had done for fellow soldiers on the battlefield so long ago when they were beyond help. He hesitated but then sighed.

"Oi, Frostbite," he called, and the teen looked over at him. "Let's get a move on."

Frost blinked but then nodded and scooped up his staff. He moved to Harry, kissing him, and then walked over to Aster, for the first time since that first introduction he seemed…wary. Aster nodded slightly to the teen and then opened a tunnel to Denmark, dropping in and feeling the cold breeze that meant Frost was following him. if Manny wanted him as a Guardian, North called him friend, and he was going to be around, then they had to get things sorted between them. He just…wasn't good at that.

TBC…