The Final Showdown: Part Two
Pitch was still near where Jack had awoken, deflecting an attack from Elsa. They encircled each other, Pitch doing his best to prevent her from going after Anna and Kristoff above. It was hard for him to look upon her like this, her beautiful face twisted by Bumby's malevolence, but he knew for her sake, he had to endure. Jack's eyes gravitated to them, being the nearest to him, gasping lightly when Pitch was unable to avoid Elsa's next move as she curled her fingers. Dark icicles shot up in a circle around him, some coming out of the wall from behind him and threatening to impale the Nightmare King. Jack bit his lip, holding his staff firmly as he flew towards them. He reared his staff back as he hoped to time this just right.
"Get down!" Jack called to him before blasting the growing icicles, skidding to a stop when he landed and extending his hand.
"What are you doing?" Pitch asked. "What do you seek by-"
"I'm doing the same thing you're doing, Pitch, I'm trying to keep everyone else alive!" Jack replied.
Pitch narrowed his eyes warily. "If you try to harm her, you shall suffer me." He said as he stood, deflecting another ice blast from Elsa, Jack barely moving out of its way in time.
"I'm not going to try to hurt her; I know this is not who she is, and I know you realize that too." He furrowed his brows as the wind began to pick up from Elsa's power. "Look Pitch, if you mean what you said, if you really care about her, then I'm going to help you. We may not see eye to eye, we may even hate each other, but right now, we need to work together if we're going to have any chance of saving Elsa and her family!" Jack grunted as he narrowly escaped being hit by falling debris as one of Elsa's ice blasts just missed him, hitting the cavern wall. "She's too strong for you to keep this up alone!"
Pitch's expression softened a bit, glancing back as her as she opened her jagged mouth wide, roaring loudly. "Very well, Jack Frost..." Pitch said, glancing back at him through the corners of his eyes. "You do have a valid point, so for now, I shall heed your words!"
After Pitch had fled to Anna's aid, Bunny took this opportunity to help Hiccup and Toothless. Remaining close to the Viking, he used his egg bombs to stun enemies, buying them time to use their bladed weapons. Whenever Hiccup got a chance, he would attempt to look through the dozens of minions to see if he could locate Merida; to his growing worry, she was still nowhere to be seen. He hoped that she was holding up against Bumby alright, beginning to regret leaving her by herself. The Queen called out another round of card guards, pointing towards the heroes.
"Slaughter them!" She screeched. Some of her card guards had just finished wrapping up her arm so she was more able.
Hiccup stabbed through another card guard, wiping sweat from his brow. They had finally made somewhat of a clearing between the two of them and Toothless bowling through them, and it was then that he was finally able to see that Merida had fallen, Bumby nowhere to be in sight. His eyes widened with concern.
"Merida!" He cried out to her.
Bunny glanced over in her direction upon hearing Hiccup, throwing a few egg bombs to deter some surrounding guards. "Go get her mate, I'll handle these brutes!" He shouted to him before letting his boomerangs rip, decapitating two card guards before catching them again.
Merida groaned then, blinking her eyes open as she rose, floating a few inches off the ground. She swayed a bit, her vision clearing as she tried to focus on the card guard army that had appeared since she fell. She then spotted Hiccup and Bunny in the crowd, shaking her head as she saw Hiccup trying to make his way towards her. Before she had even a minute to recuperate, she was suddenly shoved backwards, pinned by Bumby's hand. Hiccup panicked, trying to get through the crowd of card guards faster to try to get to her.
"No! Merida!" He cried, two armored card guards crossing their spears to prevent him from passing.
As Bumby chuckled lowly, Merida used one of her feet to unlatch something on her other ankle, kicking it up and catching it in one fluid motion to stab Bumby's forearm with it. The man screamed in pain, buying Merida time to break out of his grip while he nursed his arm as black ooze dripped onto the ground. She whirled around, gasping when she saw that a card guard was charging from behind Hiccup, about to impale him.
"HICCUP!" She screamed, knocking an arrow and shooting it within a second, the arrow speeding past Hiccup's face and making a direct hit right into the card guard's forehead. When Hiccup glanced back and realized what happened, he smiled lightly as he exhaled a sigh of relief. He then turned back to face the armored guards standing between him and Merida. She flew towards him then, knowing he would have a hard time fighting two at once. They fought side by side, finally defeating them after some time. Merida's curls bounced as she glanced at Hiccup, giving him a nod before they both turned their attention towards the sound of Toothless facing off against the Queen once more. She bit her lip when she also noticed that Bunny was surrounded by card guards, beginning to have a hard time keeping up with all of them on his own. "I think Bunny's fended for himself long enough, you think?" She asked.
Hiccup blinked. "Wait, what do you-"
Merida flew right into the remaining crowd of card guards, floating a bit higher off the ground. "Hiccup, Bunny! Cover your ears, lads!"
Just as they both did so, Merida inhaled deeply before emitting a Banshee screech, the high-pitched sound penetrating the air as it knocked down all of the card guards in a wave. Toothless burrowed his head under his wings, the Queen screeching as she covered her ears with her large hands. When Merida's screech quieted into silence, the Queen removed her hands from her ears, her eyes widening at the destruction of most of her army. She gritted her teeth, her eyes becoming crazed as all of her hard work had been reduced to shambles.
"You shall become mere fodder for my appetite, you appalling swine!" The Queen shrieked, charging towards Merida when Toothless intercepted, head butting the Queen and shoving her back.
Merida and Hiccup cheered Toothless on, Bunny covering the dragon to help keep her at bay. Without warning however, Merida cried out as she was hit by a wad of black tea, flying several yards forward as steam rose from the boiling substance. Hiccup whirled around, bracing himself as Bumby soared straight towards them. Rather than attack him however, he shoved Hiccup out of the way, flying straight at Merida. She scrambled to grab North's sword, rising as she glared at him.
"That's right, get over here you troll faced beast!" Merida screamed.
As she reared the sword back in an attempt to decapitate him, she would have done so perfectly if he had not phased into his ghost form, her sword going right through him as he flew right through her. He whirled around, Merida doing the same as he quickly phased back, his arm forming into the vorpal blade as he attempted to stab Merida with it. She was quicker than Elsa had been, moving out of its way quickly before bringing the sword up, coming down upon his arm and slicing it off. Bumby cried out painfully, the appendage melting into black ooze on the ground. The corner of Hiccup's lips poked into a smile, impressed with the advantage Merida had just given them.
However, as they would both soon see, this move only drove Bumby into a deeper rage.
He was still able to use Alice's weaponry with his other arm, taking this moment of Merida letting her guard down to his advantage as his remaining hand formed into the vorpal blade, stabbing Merida in her right shoulder as he shoved her backwards, pinning her against the wall.
"No, Merida!" Hiccup cried, running towards them.
"You know, if you had your entire soul intact, you would have the full capacity and abilities of a spirit kind as I do." Bumby said lowly, twisting the blade and making Merida cry out in pain. "However… as long as a part of your soul remains within Wick's manifestation… you are still at my mercy." He grimaced darkly at her. "I killed you once, Merida… this time, I plan to do far worse; you see, as much as I despise you, I admire your skill. It's something that would suit me very nicely."
As the Queen shoved Toothless away from her to try to get to her feet, she caught a glimpse of Bumby pinning Merida to the cavern wall, Hiccup running straight for them from behind Bumby. She smirked, calling out to a small group of some previously uncalled card guards, not many left as she directed them to intercept Hiccup. They did as they were commanded, preventing Hiccup from getting to Bumby as he was forced to fight through about a half dozen of them.
"M- Merida!" Hiccup screamed. "Stay away from her!"
To Hiccup's horror, his ears were filled with her screaming as Bumby opened his mouth wide, a whooshing noise coming from him as he began to absorb Merida's essence.
Bunny's eyes widened when he saw what was happening, jumping over a couple card guards and releasing his boomerang behind him to slice their necks. He grabbed an egg bomb, about to toss it at Bumby when the Queen shot out a tentacle, wrapping it around Bunny's foot to make him fall flat on his face.
"Crikey! Merida!" He cried out, trying to crawl towards her but the Queen pulling him back was too strong.
Toothless roared as he saw Hiccup trying to get to Merida, Bumby dropping her to the ground as he rose several inches off the ground. The Queen commanded the remainder of her card guards to seize Hiccup and impale Merida, laughing triumphantly. She glanced over at Bunny, lifting him by his foot and slamming him into the cavern wall. He groaned from the impact, sinking down and resting on the ground weakly as his sight faded in and out. Toothless pounced in upon the remaining card guards, taking one after another in his mouth and flinging them to and fro, his tail smacking those coming from behind him. When enough were cleared, Hiccup ran over to Merida, falling to his knees to turn her over and shake her.
"Merida! Merida, wake up! Nonononono I can't lose you now, we were supposed to make it through this…" Hiccup whimpered, shutting his eyes tightly.
Toothless snarled as he crouched down before Bumby, roaring before pouncing right at him. However, having absorbed Merida's essence, he inhaled deeply, emitting an ear piercing sound that acted similar to Merida's Banshee screech. Its force sent Toothless hurling backwards, the dragon crying out as he landed roughly on the ground. Bumby's chuckle swelled into a proud laughter as the Queen charged towards Toothless to attack while he was down.
Hiccup's eyes opened, his expression no longer somber, but vengeful. He stood slowly, gripping Merida's sword tightly as he turned to face Bumby.
"Don't celebrate yet!" Hiccup shouted, getting the doctor's attention as he glanced over at him nonchalantly. "This isn't over as long as I'm standing!"
"You?" He scoffed. "What are you? A mere mortal with no unearthly gifts; if those that do possess such cannot even defeat me, what makes you think you stand a chance?"
"I have no idea if I stand a chance against you, but I swore that I would stand by my friends until the end… I'm not going to be a coward this time, so if I die in the end, then so be it!" Hiccup exclaimed.
Bumby laughed mockingly at Hiccup's proclamation. "If a death wish is what you seek than I shall grant it. Be warned, it will not be an easy or quick death…"
"Don't you know what I'm a Viking? Near death experiences are part of the job." Hiccup smirked briefly. As Bumby prepared his next attack, Hiccup braced himself for what was to momentarily be in store for him. He tightened his grip on Merida's sword handle, exhaling slowly. "Stay with me, Merida… just for a little longer." He whispered.
Bunny grunted as he got back to his feet, shaking his head. When his vision cleared, he gasped lightly as he witnessed the Queen trying to strangle the life from Toothless as she clung to his backside. Bunny gritted his teeth, releasing his boomerangs once more as they cut through the air, slicing through several of the Queen's tentacles. She winced, whimpering in pain as Toothless shoved her off of him, straining as he did so. He staggered a bit, the dragon gasping for air as he collapsed to catch his breath. Before the Queen could pursue Toothless again, Bunny skidded to a stop between them, throwing several egg bombs at her.
"What's the matter, someone not in the mood for rabbit stew anymore?" He shouted, flipping the switches on his boomerangs to expose the blood covered blades once more. "I'm pretty sure I'm more tasty than crocodile soup, huh?" At that, Toothless perked up, shooting Bunny a look. "Come on mate, learn when to play along, will you?" Bunny responded before turning his attention back to the Queen.
"Thankfully…" She started, wiping at her face as she scowled darkly at Bunny. "… because of my high standing rank, I won't have to choose!"
As she lunged forward, Toothless mustered the strength to get back on his feet, Bunny releasing his boomerangs to slice more of her tentacles and make it a bit easier for Toothless to attack.
Hiccup bit his lip, quickly bringing up his shield to protect himself from the stream of flaming peppercorns assaulting him. He glanced back, quickly grabbing Merida's bow and arrows in an attempt to hit Bumby with one of them. He shot one, two, three of them in quick succession, and they would have all hit the intended target if Bumby had not used something similar to Alice's umbrella as his arm formed into it, the appendage deflecting all three arrows.
"You see, Hiccup… you and I are not so different. Rather than always fighting what we cannot defeat, we adapt to it, become one with it. It makes us both stronger, it's why you've survived for this long as well as I!" Bumby shouted, scanning the area as Hiccup ducked behind a rock to recuperate for a few moments. "Now, I thought you said this cowardly charade was over… after all, hiding won't save your savage bitch." He chuckled as he could almost see the anger in Hiccup's features at that statement. "I am like a steel fortress, and the only way to ensure its destruction is to do so from the inside; but you see, I shall always conquer my enemies because I not only have the ability to play upon the emotional and mental weaknesses of others, but because I shall always continue to make the strength of others my own. The more resistance you provide against the exterior, the more you simply empty yourself out, leaving you weak and helpless against me!"
Hiccup took in a deep breath, getting to his feet and emerging from behind the rock to face Bumby once more, sword in hand as he narrowed his eyes. "There is nothing you can take from me that will help you, so you're out of luck."
Bumby shrugged. "But of course there is; I will have taken the satisfaction that comes with taking your life." He chuckled darkly as his hand formed into the vorpal blade, soaring forward to attack. Hiccup barely managed to block it, ducking out of the way a bit before flipping his wrists, slicing along Bumby's side and leaving a thin cut. Despite not being a critical injury, he still hissed at its sting, whipping his head to the side to glare at Hiccup. He shot his arm forward to grab him, pinning him up against the wall.
Back towards the other end of the cavern, a low groan sounded as something stirred in the shadows. As they slowly, carefully rose to their feet, the room spinning in a chaotic blur as sounds ricocheted and echoed, sights bouncing frantically back and forth as Wick's equilibrium slowly, but surely, came to stabilize. He swayed a bit as he emerged from the shadows, his wizard-like hat absent from his head to allow his straw textured hair to be exposed. He heard voices behind him, glancing back as he observed Pitch Jack and Elsa in their own conflict. His hollow spaces for eyes widened in surprise before narrowing, growling lowly as he waddled for a few steps, about to storm towards them.
"I'm going to march over there and teach that Jack Frost a lesson!" Wick exclaimed. However, he stopped in his tracks when he witnessed Elsa screech, creating a strong gust of wind in a small snowstorm that threatened to obscure Pitch's vision. Wick gasped in surprise when he witnessed Jack go to Pitch's aid, waving his staff and redirecting the high winds to his control and sending them away from all three of them. He then caught a glimpse of Elsa's current appearance, gasping in horror as he staggered back. Wick wasn't the shiniest apple on the tree, but after a few moments, he began to understand a bit of what was happening. "Jack Frost… is helping Pitch… but why is Elsa trying to hurt him, I thought she-"
It was then that everything from before he got knocked out came back to him, the painful flashback of watching Elsa being stabbed to death flashing in his mind. Wick needed to use the cavern wall as a support, gripping his chest as he gasped for air. Taking a few moments to recover from the initial shock, his back separated from the wall as it soon became replaced with despair. He fell to his knees, shaking his head as he held his face in his hands. He whispered Elsa's name quietly, rocking back and forth for a few moments. Something snapped him out of his sorrow then, looking up as he heard Bumby's laughter from across the cavern.
"It's a good thing I only have one functioning arm now, boy!" Bumby shouted. "Otherwise you wouldn't even have these last moments of life to spare! Fret not… you'll be with all your dear friends soon, in hell… and I hope Alice Liddell is the first one to greet you upon your arrival!"
Hiccup whimpered as Bumby both kept him pinned against the wall and choked him with the same hand, his feet dangling several inches off the ground as he lifted Merida's sword weakly in an attempt to defend himself. Bumby's hand swirled with both glowing blue and green essences, drawing both deriving from Alice and Merida from what he had absorbed.
As Wick glanced from Bumby and Hiccup back to Elsa, he didn't know exactly what was wrong with her or how she had been afflicted with what was now driving her to attack Pitch fiercely, but when he replayed the image of her being stabbed by Bumby in his mind, he knew he had everything to do with it. Upon this realization, his whole expression darkened, his eyes narrowing as he stood slowly. He emerged from the shadows, waddling over to where his hat lay. He bent over, picking it up as he placed it on his head, tugging the front band lightly. He then extended his right hand, his scythe rising into the air and levitating over to him. He took it into his hands, holding it upright as he slowly lifted his bowed head, his menacing scowl focused solely on Bumby.
Hiccup grit his teeth, his eyes watering as his lungs screamed for air. He could feel himself losing strength with the loss of oxygen, his right hand trembling, and his knuckles white as he mustered all the strength he could to try and hold onto Merida's sword.
"I… won't… stop…" Hiccup managed to choke out, straining as Bumby's grip tightened around his throat.
"I must admit, you are quite persistent… it's almost admirable if I wasn't so amused by your struggle." He lowered his eyes to Merida's sword, chuckling as he used his bleeding arm to swat at it, knocking it out of Hiccup's hand. The Viking whimpered as his right hand opened and closed, wanting desperately to get it back. "Oh, how clumsy of you… you and Jack Frost have a similar problem in sacrificing items valuable to their lost ones. Fortunately for me, your problems are my solutions, and it shall result in your inevitable downfall!" Bumby exclaimed.
As Bumby was about to crush Hiccup's trachea, he felt something press against his own neck, yanking him back sharply before being shoved against the cavern wall about a few feet parallel to where Hiccup was. The Viking dropped to the floor, gasping deeply for air as he held his throat, coughing as the color in his face slowly returned to normal. He wiped the tears from his eyes, breathing deeply as he looked over to try to decipher what exactly had happened in a matter of short moments.
When he was met with the sight of Bumby now being the one pinned against the wall by none other than Wick, his eyes widened in surprise as he grabbed Merida's sword, holding it to him as he watched in silence.
Bumby growled in shocked confusion, glaring angrily at Wick. "You moronic imbecile! If you're going to imitate my methods, at least do so on someone of the opposition!" He shouted. He was about to reform his good arm into a weapon when Wick produced chocolates in his hand, smashing it into Bumby's face so that he was forced to wipe at it with his hand. Wick then grabbed Bumby by the collar, pulling him back and slamming him into the wall harshly once, twice, three times. Not having this, Bumby phased into his ghost form, teleporting behind Wick where he phased again into his ooze form to attack him. Wick was faster than he expected however, whirling around to impale him with his scythe. Bumby grunted with pain, hissing as he was once again thrown against the wall and pinned there. Wick leaned forward, mere inches from his face as his hollow eyes narrowed to slits. "What… do you think you're doing…?!" Bumby strained.
"I'm going to make you suffer just like you made her suffer." Wick said lowly, the grip on his scythe tightening.
"What-… who are you referring to, exactly?" Bumby managed to ask.
Wick began to illuminate then, glowing brighter than he had ever attempted to before. He levitated several inches off the ground, his grip firm on Bumby's collar as he too was lifted with him.
"You hurt Elsa!" Wick shouted, a small amount of wind picking up near them as flames engulfed his form, raging as his white hot wrath fueled them. He inhaled deeply then, his hollow eyes widening with pure anger. "YOU… HURT… MY… SISTER!" He roared, screaming loudly as in one swift movement, he used the point of his scythe to pin Bumby's left shoulder to the wall, his left hand shooting into the wound dripping with black ooze in Bumby's abdomen. Like lighting fire to oil, Bumby cried out with agony as his whole form was ignited with Wick's flames from the inside. Wick unleashed his fury, showing no mercy as Bumby's hard, black exterior began to crack, exposing a growing light from underneath. Even after Wick withdrew his hand, floating back several feet and letting Bumby drop to the ground, he maintained a dark stare as he gazed upon Bumby's unrelenting suffering. Flames and hot, molten ooze spewed from Bumby's mouth, nose and ears as he emitted choked screams, gripping his head as his glasses shattered, bursting from his face as he staggered, fell to his knees, stumbled about and crawled. Even when he phased into his ghost form, the flames still raged, taking on the same bright blue hue as his ghostly form reflected. He clutched his throat, writhing on the ground as he extended his hand towards Wick in an attempt to make him stop the flames consuming him from inside out.
As Wick simply watched, Hiccup slowly got to his feet, walking around to stand closer to his former floating enemy. "Don't try fighting it, Bumby…" Hiccup said as he smirked. "The more you resist, the more weak you become."
As Bumby was soon reduced to nothing more than a puddle of boiling hot ooze, the flames completely consumed the vile doctor until there was nothing left, the flames dying with him as only an empty space remained then. The moment that the kinship had been waiting for, fighting with every fiber of their beings to achieve, had finally come.
Bumby had been destroyed. Their enemies' stronghold against them had been lifted.
As Wick lowered to touch his feet to the ground, Hiccup glanced over at him warily. He watched Wick glance at him before turning back, wordlessly leaving him as he headed towards where Elsa was.
Pitch and Jack stopped as they notice Elsa hesitate in the middle of conjuring another attack, staggering backwards as her arms fell limply to her sides. Pitch ran forward, catching her before she could hit the ground and moving some of her hair out of her face to see that her normal features were returning. Jack went just past them to look into the distance, exhaling sharply.
"It's done…" He breathed. "Bumby is dead." He looked back to Elsa, going over to kneel near them.
Wick made his way over then, not even regarding Jack as he looked from Pitch to Elsa in his arms.
"Pitch…? Is she going to be okay?" Wick asked anxiously.
"… Give her time." Pitch replied after a few moments, closing his eyes in concentration. "I'll tell you when you may come to her."
Bunny fist pumped the air, crying out victoriously before turning to the Queen and smirking. The Queen's eyes widened, her breath hitching before glancing around. She suddenly began to back away, her entire army, every last card guard, destroyed and laying at her feet. Her brows twisted as her pride and confidence wavered, even more so when Toothless turned to face her slowly. She held up her large hands, shaking her head.
"N- No, stay away!" She cried, about to flee when Toothless whipped his tail, knocking her legs out as she fell to the ground, hitting her head on the hard cavern ground and passing out from the impact.
Hiccup took this opportunity to run over to where Merida lay, her glow dim and flickering. He held her so she was a bit more upright, shaking her lightly.
"Okay, time to wake up now, Bumby is dead, the battle is over…" He said, biting his lip as he readjusted her a bit in his arms. "Merida… come on, we… we did it… we made it… you have to make it… you deserve it more than me." He felt a lump forming in his throat when she didn't respond to him, shaking his head. "… I… I was the one who ran away, I was the weak one, Merida… you were always stronger than me… there's no way you can leave me- us…" He shut his eyes tightly, drawing her closer as he rested his forehead against hers. Bunny jogged over to them, frowning deeply when he looked upon them.
"Oh no, Mer…" Bunny whispered, shaking his head as he lowered to his knees. Toothless trotted up to them, his eyes widening and his ears pinning back as he lowered his head, whimpering sadly at the scene.
"You believed in me from the beginning, but I didn't do the same for you…" Hiccup whispered, tears beginning to roll down his cheeks. "I didn't see what was right in front of me…" He hugged her close, choking out a sob. "I tried so hard to stop him… but I'm not like you, Merida… I'll never be like you…"
As they all gazed upon Merida mournfully, their celebration was cut short when they thought that another of their companions had fallen victim to their enemies. After several minutes passed, Hiccup gasped when he suddenly felt something, straightening up to look upon Merida. When the glow of her eyes met his, he was reduced to silence as he was struck with joyous disbelief.
"I've told ye before, lad…" Merida spoke softly, smiling weakly. "Y' can do anything ye put your mind to…"
"M- Merida…?!" Hiccup exclaimed, laughing as he hugged her close. Merida hugged him back, resting her head on his shoulder.
At this, both Bunny and Toothless' ears perked up, Bunny hopping to his feet and Toothless prancing around, chirping as he crouched down near the two playfully, wiggling happily.
"A- Alright bud, give her some space!" Hiccup exclaimed as he laughed, petting the dragon's snout before turning to look back at Merida. "I thought I'd lost you."
"Y' thought wrong… it'll take a lot more than that to get rid of me." Merida replied.
"I know…" Hiccup breathed, his expression softening as he exhaled slowly. "But, Merida…?"
"Hm?" She replied.
"… What would it take… to keep you…?" Hiccup asked quietly.
Bunny blinked, smirking knowingly as he got Toothless' attention, nodding his head to signal the dragon to let them have a moment. Toothless looked from him to his best friend, wiggling his brows as he quietly backed away, giving the two a bit more privacy.
Merida smiled brightly, looking into Hiccup's eyes. "I think you already know the answer to that, lad."
Hiccup smiled lightly at that, closing his eyes as he leaned in, closing the small gap between them as their first kiss lingered on for several minutes. When it was broken, Merida giggled lightly as she hugged Hiccup, the Viking helping her to her feet.
"Alright you lovebirds, we've got to find Jack!" Bunny said, the four of them making their way to the other end of the cavern.
As they reached the others, Jack stood as he noticed dozens of children emerging from the shadows, wandering out into the light aimlessly, confused, some frightened. He approached Bunny, deciding that Pitch and Elsa, still unconscious in his arms, should have their own space for the time being.
"Bunny, all the children whose souls were harvested have been restored; we need to get them back home." Jack said.
"I'll go get the others, I won't be long." Bunny said as he nodded firmly, taking a snow globe from Jack to transport back to the workshop.
Pitch gasped lightly when Elsa opened her eyes, holding her head as she tried to sit up. He remained silent, not wanting to overwhelm her. When she curled her legs, gathering the strength to stand, he helped Elsa to her feet when she made an effort to get up.
"Elsa… how do you feel? Are you alright?" Pitch finally asked her.
Taking quick note of her surroundings, she noticed Jack, Merida, Hiccup and Toothless standing not far away, no longer fighting, and that the Queen and Bumby were nowhere to be seen. She glanced up at Pitch, but before she could respond, she whirled around when she heard her sister, followed by Kristoff, carefully making their descent back into the cavern from Houndsditch.
"Elsa?!" Anna cried out, gasping with relief when she saw her sister had been restored. "Elsa, you're okay!" She ran up to her, throwing her arms around Elsa in a tight hug.
As Anna cried tears of joy, Elsa smiled lightly as she pet Anna's hair. "Yes, I'm alright now, I'm here." She spoke softly, closing her eyes for a moment. "I will never send you away or shut you out again, Anna."
Pitch stood a bit behind them, the moment bittersweet for him. Deep down, he was happy for Elsa; she finally had what she had sought out to regain, but his heart sank as he realized that a place in her life may no longer be possible at this point.
That possibility decreased when Anna caught sight of him, gasping and furrowing her brows angrily when she ushered Elsa behind her, marching towards the Nightmare King.
"A- Anna, wait!" Kristoff cried out from behind them.
"You!" Anna shouted, approaching Pitch fearlessly. "Don't you even think of coming near my sister again! You come to Arendelle, uninvited, lie to her, take her away from home, make her do all these things and risk her life and then you pretend you actually care for her?! I didn't think there was anyone who could do worse than Hans did, but I'll make an exception!"
"Anna… Anna, enough." Elsa spoke softly as her sister shouted, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. She glanced at her, the expression in her eyes communicating to Anna to allow her to handle things from here. Anna gave her a nod, shooting a glare at Pitch before taking a step back.
Pitch looked upon Elsa hopefully, sorrowfully, remorsefully as he dared to take a step closer to her. After several moments of silence, he finally spoke.
"I will deny none of your sister's claims except for one, because they're true." Pitch spoke quietly. "The one I will deny is that my care for you was not an act, it was not motivated by gain of any kind." He sighed. "How I treated you in the beginning, what I subjected you to, was beyond deplorable. I could say the words for all eternity… I could tell you how sorry I am over and over, but it will still amount to nothing. I only ask of one thing, if you can spare me the mercy to grant it." He breathed deeply when Elsa gave him the smallest of nods, her stare chilling him to his core. "… I ask… that if you can find it in your heart to remember and cherish the moments of emotional intimacy that we shared, I would be forever content… because those moments have changed me forever. If but a single shred of your heart can feel something aside of loathing for me… that alone will be enough for me to endure a thousand eternities roaming this world in solitude."
Elsa observed him for several moments, slowly turning to look back at Anna. She approached her, taking her hands in hers.
"Before I give him my answer… I want to know what will make you happiest." Elsa said.
Anna blinked in surprise, looking from Pitch to her. "I… what would make me happiest is for us to be a family again, Elsa."
"Yes… we will be, Anna. We are." Elsa smiled lightly. "And Kristoff… does he make you happy?"
Anna nodded, beaming. "Yes… we love each other very much." She glanced back at him as he gently pat her back.
Elsa smiled sadly, exhaling slowly. "I almost feel greedy…"
"What do you mean, Elsa?" Anna tilted her head.
"After being so deprived of love… I now have the love of a cherished sister… but my heart longs for something else as well… or rather, someone else." At these words, Pitch gasped lightly, his eyes widening with disbelief. Jack and the others watched the scene silently as it unfolded before them. "… But Anna, for so long, I have acted on every choice on my own, I never took your input or feelings into consideration, and despite my best intentions for you… that was the greatest mistake I ever made… and I repeated the same mistake all our lives. So now, I ask for your blessing."
Anna was taken aback by this, blinking as she shook her head. "E- Elsa, I'm… you're the queen, you're the elder of us-"
"None of that matters now. The only thing I am right now, is your sister, above all titles and ranks. I will follow your decision." Elsa said.
Anna's expression softened, staring at Pitch for a few moments before looking at Elsa. "Do you… do you really… after everything that he-"
"I do." Elsa answered.
"And… you think he can make you… happy?" Anna asked a bit quieter.
"I believe it's possible we can make each other happy, yes." Elsa replied.
After a few moments of silence, Anna smiled a bit, chuckling as she shook her head. "And you thought I didn't know what true love was…" Elsa chuckled lightly, remembering that moment on her coronation night. Coronation night… it seemed so long ago now, almost like a vague memory at best after everything that had happened; she had undergone so much change in that time, but then again, so had the rest of them. As she anxiously awaited Anna's decision, almost as much so as Pitch, the breath she had been holding was finally released upon her sister's reply. "… Elsa, I already told you once that I want us both to be happy. And… if he…" She motioned to Pitch, raising a wary brow for a brief moment. "… makes you happy… then I'll do what I can to support you."
Elsa wordlessly nodded in thanks to Anna, giving her a small hug before turning back to Pitch; a part of him under the impression that perhaps this was just a dream, or some cruel joke. His spine stiffened when he felt Elsa's slender fingers draw his into her hands.
"I'm afraid I can't grant your whole request for several reasons, Pitch." She started. "There is more than a shred of my heart that feels something aside of loathing for you." She smiled lightly at him. "And secondly, because you will not have to roam alone for all eternity. I thought that being alone was a sanctuary, but it's a prison. That is not a fate I want you to suffer." Her eyes flickered down to his neck, extending her hand to draw out the golden locket from under his collar, Pitch watching her in silence as she smiled at the small charm. "The man I met at the beginning of this is not the man I want to be with for the rest of my life. It's the man I met the night you finally opened your heart to me. We both had locked our hearts in such impenetrable fortresses that not even love was allowed solace inside. That night, I saw the man that you told me you once were, the man you thought had been lost the day he was swallowed up in darkness. That is the man I want to stay with me in Arendelle, and remain by my side if he so wishes."
Pitch's mind was numb; his mouth could form no words as his eyes stared into Elsa's. He could only muster a nod for a response, allowing Elsa to draw him closer into an embrace. His hand rested gently against her hair, running it through his fingers like silk as his mind scrambled to process what was happening.
Anna raised a brow then, giving Wick an odd look as he seemed to not be able to contain himself any longer. Elsa noticed this then, chuckling lightly as she looked at Pitch. "I think he's waiting for your permission for something."
Pitch rolled his eyes, groaning as he rubbed his face. "Wick, you may now come and see-"
"ELSA!" Wick exclaimed, making Anna jump as he hugged Elsa close, nearly knocking her over. "I thought you were never coming back! I waited for Pitch to tell me when just like he said, I guess I could have asked but I was just so happy that I forgot to say something and- I'm so happy you're okay!"
Elsa chuckled, hugging him back. "I'm glad you're alright too." She broke the hug, taking Anna's hand to draw her near them. "Wick, this is my sister, Anna."
Wick gasped, looking between the two of them. "This is your sister?" He asked, and Elsa nodded. "The one you told me about?" Elsa laughed, nodding again. After a few moments, Wick beamed, surprising Anna when he hugged her. "Now I can have TWO sisters!"
Anna chuckled nervously, patting Wick's shoulder as she glanced over at Elsa. "He has a sweet heart." She said. "You'll learn that when you get to know him."
"I think you've been stuck in this dank place for far too long, Elsa…" Anna replied, but had to admit that Wick was pretty lighthearted, at least, to them.
Jack's lips poked into a smile, raising his brows as he felt happy for the Nightmare King despite his surprise. Just then, he turned as he heard a whooshing sound behind him. Bunny, North, Tooth and Sandy emerged from the snow globe portal, the four glancing around briefly before North spoke, his expression serious.
"Tooth, Sandy, collect the children and return them to their homes. Return the others to Alice's sanctuary." He glanced at Jack. "Don't worry, I instructed Phil to watch over Eliza while we were gone, I don't want to stay away long."
Tooth and Sandy gathered the children, ushering them through the portal where they would bring each one to their respective residences. Sandy shot Pitch a glare, pointing at his eyes before pointing at him, taking his leave with Tooth soon after.
Pitch grimaced at the dream guardian as he left, still harboring a particular disliking towards him. After the portal disappeared, North took a step towards Wick, taking a book out and drumming on it with his fingers. Wick's expression grew a bit fearful at this, gravitating closer to Elsa and Pitch.
"Wick, though it was not you who was responsible for what it took to resurrect you... just the same, you contain elements that do not belong to you. I'm sorry... but they must be returned." North said.
Elsa furrowed a brow at this. "What are you talking about? What are these 'elements' that you're-"
"My dragon's flame was taken to give him his power, the Queen came to my homeland and stole it from him." Hiccup said.
"And m' soul!" Merida exclaimed. "That horrible Bumby killed me, took a piece of it to make Wick and turned me into a Banshee!"
Elsa frowned, turning to North. "If he were to return these elements... can he... he will survive, won't he?"
North exhaled slowly, meeting Elsa's gaze with a regretful expression. At this, the young queen shook her head, standing in front of Wick. Before she could protest, she felt him turn her around gently.
"It's okay, Elsa." Wick started. "See... I always hated the guardians because I thought they didn't like me for who I was. But... I think I understand that they protect all the little children like I tried to protect you." He smiled sadly. "We've done some bad stuff, Elsa... I don't think any of us meant to be bad, but I guess that happens to people when they are treated badly themselves. That happened to you, to me, to Pitch... but we have to do the right thing now, Elsa. I think giving them back what was taken from them is doing the right thing."
Elsa shook her head, Anna taking her hand upon seeing her emotional reaction. She didn't know Wick well, but seeing how close they seemed to have become, she became upset at Elsa's distress. "No, Wick..." Elsa whimpered. "This isn't fair... I don't want to lose another loved one..."
"Don't worry." Wick smiled softly, hugging Elsa close. "We'll always be siblings, even when I'm gone." He took a step back, holding his hands out as chocolates appeared in them. He placed the chocolates in Anna's hand. "Elsa told me chocolates are your favorites too. It always makes things better." He smiled sadly at them before turning to North, exhaling deeply as he waddled up to him. "Just... before you do this... can you tell me if it hurts?" He bit his lip, and North even began to feel pity for Wick at this. "The last time this happened, it was so long ago, so it's hard to remember."
North shook his head. "No, I don't think it hurts."
As Elsa squeezed Anna's hand, Pitch moved closer at Elsa's other side, rubbing her back comfortingly as he watched on with them.
"North..." Jack took a step forward. "... are you sure there's no other way?"
"I'm afraid not." North replied, furrowing his brows as he opened the book.
Hiccup and Merida stared in awe as North read the words, Wick closing his eyes as he began to glow lightly. The glow swirled around his form before whisking through the air, carrying a small glowing fragment. The glowing streams of light entered Toothless' chest, the small fragment entering through Merida's where her heart would be. As this happened, Wick began to diminish into the pumpkin around his waist, his body shrinking and disappearing inside it until his hat toppled over and fell to the ground, his scythe clattering down as well.
Everyone looked to Merida as her eerie glow began to disappear, gasping as her human features and appearance returned. She stumbled a bit as she dropped back down to the ground, no longer able to float, Hiccup taking her hand to steady her before she could fall. He stared at her then, taking in her fiery red hair and the color of her eyes.
Toothless pranced around, feeling like himself again as he chirped. He inhaled, blasting out one of his fireballs that blasted a part of the cavern on the other side, chunks of debris falling from the far end cavern wall. He glanced back at the others, smiling nervously.
Elsa however, was not celebrating as she lowered to her knees, taking the small, lone pumpkin into her hands. She began to sob, hugging the pumpkin to her chest mournfully. Anna knelt beside her, placing her hands on her shoulders.
As North sighed, quietly tucking the book away inside his coat, Jack approached Elsa, kneeling down on her other side.
"Elsa, I don't know how, but I'll talk to the guardians and we'll try to figure out if there is a way we can bring Wick back." Jack said.
Elsa inhaled sharply as she cried, looking over at Jack as she wiped her face. "Wick was the one who brought me joy... he made me remember what fun and laughter and warmth was again..."
Jack smiled lightly. "I did that for someone once, Elsa. If you remember everything that you learned from him, if you believe in him, he'll never really be gone."
Elsa bowed her head. "Of course I believe in him... he helped me to believe in myself." She whimpered, another batch of fresh tears rolling down her cheeks. Some fell onto the pumpkin, rolling down its exterior.
It was then that the tears began to twinkle and sparkle, Jack, Pitch, North and Bunny looking up through the opening from the bottom of Houndsditch. Moonlight began to pour in from the windows of the building, reaching down to them and resting upon Elsa.
"Manny...?" North whispered. "What is happening...?"
Elsa lifted her head when her palms suddenly felt warm, glancing down as she peeked inside the pumpkin. She gasped softly when she saw a soft glow, the light growing as the pumpkin began to tremble and shake in her hands. She placed it down, getting to her feet and taking a step back as her heart skipped a beat. Vines and thin branches begin to poke holes in two spots to grow outwards from inside, forming legs. From the top of the pumpkin, the vines and branches grew upwards, forming an upper body as Wick's hat and scythe began to swirl around the pumpkin, the gourd growing in size. Elsa's eyes widened with disbelief, a smile growing in her features when Wick fully formed before her. His hollow eyes opened slowly, looking around and blinking in confusion.
"Am I... in heaven?" Wick asked to himself.
"Wick!" Elsa exclaimed, her turn now to hug him tightly. "Y- You're alive!"
"I'm... alive...? How long has it been...? Are we all in heaven, Elsa? Oh wait, I wouldn't be alive if I was-"
"It was the moon..." Jack answered, shocked himself. "The moon brought him back!"
"Well, if the moon was just going to do that, why would he put Elsa through all that grief?" Pitch asked, putting his hand on his hip. "I don't appreciate that."
"I am so confused..." Anna whimpered, shaking her head.
North took out the book from his coat, flipping through it. When he flipped to the page of the spell he had just read out, he gasped lightly when he saw it was now blank. "This can only mean one thing..." He said, tucking the book back into his coat. "The Man in the Moon has chosen Wick to be a guardian."
Wick gasped, looking between them. "Did he... did he really? It's not pretend... like in the past?"
"No... no more pretending to be a guardian, Wick." Jack smiled lightly. "You're one of us now."
Wick's eyes widened, laughing as he whirled around in the air. "I'm a guardian, a real guardian!" He hugged Anna, making her squeak in surprise as he spun her around, before doing the same to Elsa. He saw Pitch in his vision as he spun, slowing to a stop as he gently placed Elsa down. He bit his lip, frowning then as he looked down. "Pitch... d- do you think that we can... still be friends? I hope you're not angry that I've been chosen... we'll always be brothers, right?"
Elsa looked up at Pitch, taking his hand. The Nightmare King smiled lightly at her before turnng his attention to Wick. "Well... my history with the guardians is quite shaky... it's going to be pretty tough..."
Wick frowned, hanging his head. "But... but siblings always stick together..."
Elsa tilted her head, nudging Pitch lightly. Pitch smirked lightly, looking back at Wick before stepping forward, placing a hand on his shoulder. "I'll tell you what. I have an obligation now to make Elsa happy." He nodded towards her. "And she would be quite upset if I sent you away, so for her sake... and because she is the queen of her land, you may visit us for as long as she allows, perhaps I will just become accustomed to your new purpose after some time."
Wick beamed then, almost knocking Pitch over upon hugging him. "You're the best brother ever, Pitch!" He exclaimed, Pitch rolling his eyes.
"Alright, alright, don't push it." Pitch groaned.
Bunny tugged his ears over his eyes, shaking his head. "I cannot believe this is happening... why couldn't it have been the Groundhog, why couldn't it have been him? We have to deal with this bloke now for the rest of time...?"
"Come on, Bunny, it won't be so bad..." Jack nudged him. "I grew on you, didn't I?"
"You're not helping, Jack!" Bunny exclaimed.
"So... would be okay for me to come visit Arendelle too...?" Wick asked.
"You can visit as often as you like." Elsa smiled.
"I guess I have to go with them now... I have to learn how to be a good guardian, if I'm going to be one for real from now on." He said.
"Yes... and I have to learn to be a good queen to my people." Elsa replied. Wick beamed, giving Elsa a short hug before waving. She turned to Anna then. "I think we can both agree that I've been away from home for far too long."
Anna approached Jack, Bunny, Hiccup and Merida, smiling lightly. "It's going to take a while to really understand what happened, but for everything you've done for Elsa and I, I don't know how to really say how thankful I am... we can be happy again because of you."
Jack nodded. "Get home safe, Anna. We'll make sure Olaf and Sven get back to Arendelle too."
When Elsa took Pitch's hand then, intending to leave with Anna and Kristoff, North noticed this and took a step forward.
"Wait just a minute!" North exclaimed. "We are just going to let Pitch go after what he has done?"
"So typical of you to kill a party, North, you're so quick to forgive Wick here for centuries of mischief but you just can't wait to get on my case, can you?" Pitch spat.
"You have always been a threat to us, you will always be a threat to us, your terrible deeds cannot go unpunished!" North exclaimed.
"Now hold on..." Elsa said, taking a step forward to stand between Pitch and North. "At the beginning of all of this, Pitch and I engaged in a verbal contract to complete a task for each other. So any punishment that you place on him, you must also place on me."
North was taken aback by this, not expecting this response.
"Are you crazy?!" Anna cried. "Nonono, I just got you back, we are going home!"
"OR..." Elsa spoke above her, holding her hand up. "... as Queen of Arendelle... I can take personal responsibility for my own and Pitch's actions under the terms of our verbal contract. As such, he will take residence in my kingdom and will be required to employ himself with tasks that will be both productive and educational in nature. The desired result will be beneficial for all parties in that the 'terrible deeds' he has committed can be accounted for."
Jack raised his brows, nodding his head a bit. "I think you've got a keeper, Pitch."
To all their surprise, Pitch smiled genuinely. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but for once, Jack, I believe I agree with you."
North blinked, his expression softening. "Could it be possible... that you've truly changed?" He asked.
"Anything can be possible if you believe hard enough." Jack smiled.
"If that got any cornier Jack, I'd have a pair of cobs sticking out of my ears, mate." Bunny said, Jack rolling his eyes in response.
"Ready to go home, bud?" Hiccup smiled, patting Toothless lightly. "But first, we have somewhere to visit."
Merida blinked, beaming then. "Really? You're going to meet m' family?"
"Well, after everything we've been through, I don't think it'll be all that scary." Hiccup chuckled.
Before she could respond, something stirred at the other end of the cavern; the Queen groaned, sitting up and rubbing her head. When she became fully aware again, she seethed with anger as she stormed towards the group. Everyone turned, some of them wielding weapons, some panicking a bit. "How dare you reduce me and my beautiful army to shambles?! The blasphemy you have all committed today shall not be taken lightly; you shall all suffer greatly for your folly against me!" Hiccup, Merida and Toothless exchanged knowing smirks, the dragon trotting up to the Queen as she ranted. "Prepare yourselves to suffer, your downfall shall consist of your consummation by both my blood and fire-!"
Her sentence was cut off when Toothless inhaled, violet colored light glowing inside his mouth before he shot a fireball, making a direct hit. This sent the Queen flying off the platform, the light illuminating the walls as she fell down to the lowest level of the cavern, a plume of fire rising when she hit the bottom. Toothless blew a raspberry in her direction before smiling proudly, everyone in the background laughing.
"Good to have you back, Toothless." Hiccup smiled.
"Now that, was bloody brilliant, my friend!" Bunny exclaimed, patting Toothless.
"Are we quite finished with this goodbye tour? I think the sooner I become acquainted with my new residence, the better." Pitch said.
"We'll keep in touch, right?" Anna asked Jack.
"Definitely… let me know if he gives you any problems." He replied, nodding his head towards Pitch.
"Absolutely." Anna smiled, joining her sister as a snow globe was cast to open a portal to Arendelle. The sisters, Pitch, and Kristoff all went through to head home.
"I don't trust him." North frowned.
"Who cares? At least the bloke is finally out of OUR hair…" Bunny said as he crouched down, scratching the back of his ear with his foot.
North turned to Hiccup and Merida then, the two smiling lightly. "There is something I want you both to have. I never thought I would actually be able to give these to anyone, they were something I invented years ago." He said as he took two necklaces out of his pocket, each having a crystal. "You may use these to return to the workshop anytime. You may not be guardians by the moon's standards, but you will always be known as great protectors, warriors, and our dearest friends."
Hiccup nodded to North in thanks, the two taking their necklaces with gratitude. "We'll never forget you guys."
"I hope you stop by Dun' Broch someday, we'll have to prepare a great feast!" Merida exclaimed.
"Well, maybe we'll find time in our schedule." Bunny smiled, he and Merida sharing a warm hug.
"Thank ye, lad… for everything. I hope you find your other half too, ye ken?" Merida smiled warmly.
"Someday, Mer… someday. I am the guardian of hope after all, so that's what I'll do." Bunny replied.
As Hiccup, Toothless and Merida entered their own portal after a snow globe was cast, only the guardians remained.
"Alright, are we going to get out of this depressing place, or what?" Jack asked.
"Yes, Tooth and Sandy should be finishing up now." North said.
"And we have to get Olaf back to Arendelle; I can't imagine what sort of trouble he and Eliza are getting into…" Bunny said.
"Hey, that's my sister you're talking about, watch it." Jack said, casting a snow globe so that he and Bunny chased each other through it.
As Wick was about to enter, he stopped when North placed a hand on his shoulder, turning him around so he could face him. "I want to say something to you." North started. "Back when you wanted to aspire to be like us… I realize now that it was my harshness and my brass nature towards you that further drove you to idolize Pitch. You are right in that you cannot change who you are… but you can now use your abilities for the better, and I am going to help you to do that. You have much to learn… but if I know anything about guardians in needing of catching up… I'll enlist someone who was once like you to help me. He was carefree, irresponsible, lost in the world as you were." North smiled. "But he found his way, and so will you."
Wick blinked, tilting his head. "Really…? Who was that… the one you said who was like me once?"
North chuckled. "Jack Frost. Jack Frost is the one who founded the kinship of heroes, and he is the one who found a way to help all of us from his place in the future; a future that will now prove to be a brighter one."
"Oh… but wait, if he came from the future, and you're here, how do you know that the future will be better?" Wick asked.
"I can feel it in my gut." North raised his brows as he chuckled, patting his belly. "Now come, we have much to show you!"
Wick smiled softly, a warmth growing inside that wasn't just from his fire ability. It was the warmth of acceptance, something he had wanted for many centuries. Like Jack Frost, he had wandered the landscape searching for a family, a purpose; now, he had both, and for that he never felt more content in his entire existence.