Jack woke up the next morning completely confused. He wasn't sure where he was, what was going on, or even who he was. After a few seconds the dreamy haze disappeared, and his memories came flooding back. "Oh," he whimpered as he let the elves go. He stood up slowly and looked around. He had no idea what to do or what he should do. He ran his fingers through his hair, hating that things had gotten so complicated.
He felt a small tug on his pants, and looked down to see a small group of elves surrounding his feet. They ran over to a table on the other side of the room where food was waiting for him. "Thanks," he managed to say. He hadn't remembered it being there last night. Was he not paying attention, or did one of the guardians come in the middle of the night and leave it for him? The thought of one of them coming in while he slept, made him extremely uncomfortable since he had made them so upset.
He barely ate anything because of the guilty feeling that lingered in his stomach. The frost elf walked over to the door to find it locked. He wasn't sure if it was for his safety or so he couldn't fly to Pitch's lair, which right now he wouldn't dare. He tried to see what was going on outside North's personal workshop, but unfortunately the glass was that type of foggy glass that no matter how hard you tried you could never see more than silhouettes.
The snow spirit sighed and put his ear to the door. He could faintly make out the voices of his friends discussing the situation. Did they talk through the whole night? Jack thought. The talking suddenly stopped, and he heard a single set of footsteps heading towards the room. He recognized the heavy clomp of North's boots, and gulped. He knew that North was going to barge in, yell at him, and then-and then what? What punishment would be suitable for a Guardian dating their one and only enemy?
As the footsteps got closer, Jack ran away from the door and sat in one of the far corners of the room. His back ached from how hard he was pushing himself up against the wall. The young Guardian was hoping to somehow merge with the spot where the two walls met, but to his misfortune it wasn't working. As he heard the steps stop in front of the door, he wished that for just these few seconds he was invisible again.
The door unlocked and North stepped in. Jack tried to push himself farther back into the corner, but unfortunately couldn't go any farther then he already had. Afraid, he pulled up his hood, and hid his head between his knees. The boy heard North walk over and stop in front of him. Jack held onto his staff like a lifeline, wishing he would just disappear.
"Jack," North said calmly. He didn't move, he couldn't move because he was afraid. North knelt down and put a hand on the snow spirit's shoulder. "Jack, look at me," North said firmly but soothingly. Jack lifted his head just enough, so that only his eyes showed. His eyes looked tired and glossy.
"Please d-don't hurt me," Jack whispered.
"Hurt you?" North asked, surprised. "Jack we would never hurt you."
"But I fell in love with Pitch." Jack's eyes looked down at the ground.
North winced at the statement. "Yes, and there will be much of the discussing, but hurt you? Never." Jack let out a small sigh of relief. "You honestly thought we would wound you? This is big problem, but how could you believe that?" North asked as he took Jack's hood off.
Jack shrugged. "I just figured that-" He was at loss for words. "I don't know." North nodded and helped the boy up.
"Well that isn't going to happen, but we can't let you see him anymore." Jack looked up slightly surprised. He knew that they would say that, but actually hearing it was a lot different than imagining it. "Jack, I know that your feelings for him are innocent and you're not trying to hurt anyone, but we can't say the same for him. Jack, he can't be trusted."
The young Guardian new North had a point, but the Pitch he knew really did care. It's true he was still evil, but caring nonetheless. "But he cares about me," he said quietly while looking down at the floor. North was going to interrupt, but Jack continued. "He gets worried whenever I'm hurt, he likes spending time with me, and he even helped me get better when I was sick."
North was surprised at the last part, but kept his ground. "Jack have you forgotten everything he's done? He's hurt all of us; he is deceptive and manipulative. He's evil."
The frost elf held his staff close, almost like how a child might hold a teddy bear. His blue eyes were glossy, and his hands were shaky. He couldn't tell if he was upset about being told he couldn't see Pitch, upsetting the Guardians, arguing with a close friend, or a combination of them all. "But it's not his fault that he's like that. And you know it!" North looked shocked; when had Jack found that out?
"How did you find out?"
"The moon told me. Why didn't any of you tell me?"
North sighed. "We were afraid to tell you. After we lost Easter, Pitch came so close to tricking you into joining him. Even right after you became Guardian, we were afraid you would change mind. And after while we forgot about not telling you entirely."
Jack looked heartbroken. "You didn't trust me enough to tell me? You thought I would leave all of you like that?"
"Jack," North said walking closer, "you must look from our point of view. You had just realized who you were; we didn't know how you would react." He tried to put a hand on Jack's shoulder, but the boy backed away.
"No, leave me alone." North tried to speak, but Jack continued. "I can't believe you all thought I would betray you like that. Do none of you trust me?"
"Jack, of course we d-"
"Then why wouldn't you tell me something so important?!" He felt tears run down his face. “I've looked up to you guys, and this whole time you've thought so little of me." He wiped away his tears, but new ones replaced them. "At least Pitch trusts in me."
North stood there stunned for a minute. That had hurt. He tried to approach Jack again, and this time he didn't move. "It was mistake, Jack. I'm sorry." The frost elf nodded his head, showing he understood. He hugged North. He was scared, but he wasn't sure why. "I know it's not Pitch's fault that he is like that, but he is still dangerous. We won't let you risk your life. Don't you understand he could hurt you?"
Jack thought hard for a second, before pulling away. "No, I don't think he can. I know it sounds impossible, but he cares. He wants to protect me."
North shook his head with a small sigh. "Jack, now is very confusing time for all of us. I am going to speak with the others again." He turned to leave.
"He really does protect me, just ask Bunny." Jack blurted out.
North turned around. "What did you say?" Jack's eyes widened, and his hands flew up to his mouth. "Why would Bunny know?"
"I dunno. Did I say that? That’s weird. You know stress has been eating at me lately, so I haven't been getting a lot of sleep. I could be saying all kinds of things I don't mean." The boy quickly said. North was giving him that stern father look. "Who's Bunny?" Jack tried, but North just crossed his arms.
"Explain right now, Jack Frost."
A few minutes later, the two were walking into the globe room to meet the other Guardians. "North please, this isn't a big deal." Jack tried to convince.
"Bunny, why didn't you tell us?" North asked.
"What?" Bunnymund looked confused. Then reality dawned on him. "What the- Jack you ratted out on me?!"
The young Guardian ran to his side. "I didn't mean to, I swear. It just slipped out! I'm sorry!"
"Wait, what's going on here?" Tooth questioned.
"Bunny knew," North clarified. A question mark appeared above Sandy's head.
"What? Why wouldn't you tell us?!" Tooth looked shocked.
"It wasn't my secret to tell!" Bunnymund replied.
"That's true, but in big situation like this, it would've been better for you tell us, so we could help him." North stated. Jack wanted to speak, but felt it best to remain silent and let the situation play out.
"That's what I thought at first, but then I confronted him about it. He was terrified and balling."
Jack blushed. "I WAS NOT!"
"Yes ya were, mate."
The boy stared at the ground. "Shut up," he mumbled.
Bunnymund rolled his eyes, and continued. "Anyway, he was scared, stressed and didn't know what to do. I had to help him; he needed someone. All of ya would've done the same thing if you had seen him that day." The room was quiet, except for the noise the yetis made as they worked on toys. Their seemed to be silent understanding, as if everyone knew what Bunny said was true.
"We shall overlook," North finally said, "but this doesn't change anything."
Jack grimaced. It was bad enough talking to North, but now all the Guardians? He knew this day was not going to be fun. Tooth approached him. "Jack I know that you think you can trust him. But don't you remember that he kidnapped you?" There was sadness in her voice, but Jack wasn't sure why. "If he really cared, why would he do that?"
"He was scared." The boy answered. North and Sandy exchanged questioning looks.
"Being scared doesn't mean you you kidnap and brainwash someone you're supposed to love, Jack." He just shook his head and looked away. "Jack, being scared isn't a reason to hurt someone you care about." She wasn't trying to be mean, but Jack had had enough.
"People do crazy things when they're scared!" Jack shouted. Everyone took a step back. "Have you ever known what it's like to be completely and utterly alone?! Do any of you?" They said nothing. "You have no idea how scary it is to be alone. You don't want to wake up; you don't want to exist. The heartbreaking nights where you just sit there, and realize nobody cares about you, nobody even knows you're alive, none of you have ever experienced that. You all had believers from the beginning, you couldn't possibly understand. You don't know how badly you want someone to-someone to just say hello." He was beginning to cry.
"Jac-" Bunny began, but Jack held up a hand to stop him.
"You don't know the things you're willing to do, just so someone will notice you. What he did was horrible and it was a mistake, but how could I ever blame him when I've felt exactly the same? Abandoned, lost, unloved." He took a deep breath. "It's not fun."
They all looked at him with sad eyes. They felt no sympathy for Pitch, but for Jack, their hearts ached. Tooth grabbed Jack and hugged him tight. "I wish I had known sooner; I could've helped you." The frost elf rested his head on her shoulder, and they remained that way for a while.
When they let go, Jack sat down on a couch that had been moved beside the fireplace and zoned out, while the other Guardians discussed on ways to keep Pitch away(they were taking a break from trying to convince Jack that Pitch was seriously dangerous).
He thought he saw a flicker of something move on the other side of the fireplace. The boy got up from his seat and walked over. Nothing was there. "Jack, what's wrong?" North asked. The snow spirit turned around to see his friends staring at him, even Phil.
The young Guardian shrugged. "I dunno, I thought I saw something." Suddenly, the area he was standing in was covered by a large, dark shadow. He sighed. "You're really not helping." And with that, a shadowy black hole appeared under his feet and Jack fell through.