"FROST!" North flinched as Bunny's voice cascaded through the halls of his workshop.
"Why all of the guardian meetings must be held at Pole, I will never know." He mumbled to himself.
North sat in his office, using his miniscule hammer to etch a face into the ice-doll's smooth head. It was the only way he could keep himself calm at a time like this. Manny had signaled him to call the guardians for a reason still unknown. North couldn't help but be unnerved. Had Pitch returned? It had only been a year since they had defeated him, surely he couldn't have gathered his strength already. Could he?
The large man let out a sigh of exasperation and marveled at his work.
The doll's face was beautiful (like most of North's work) and glimmered under the overhanging light of the room. Icy curls ran to her chin and her eyes were open wide with wonder, much like his own.
He didn't know why he had decided on this design, sometimes ideas just hit him like that, like he had to get the image out of his head. North set the doll aside and fiddled with another piece of ice which he had earlier made a train out of, a replicate of the one his Yeti had once smashed the year before near Easter.
"Jabbakubra!" Phil slammed the door open.
North had not been expecting the explosion of noise and dropped the train to the floor. Ice shattered everywhere. "Gah!" North exclaimed, gesturing at the broken toy.
"AAAH!" The Yeti screamed, his mouth hanging open in an 'O' shape. "Gabbajubaru!" He began blabbering.
"You must learn to knock!" North reminded him for the umpteenth time just that week. Phil retorted with another burst of blubbers, waving his arms around and gesturing to the workshop. "Guardians are all here?" North translated. The Yeti nodded exasperated. "Well why did you not say so!" North shouted, jumping from his desk, almost knocking the glass doll off in the process.
Phil watched as North beamed and strutted out of the room with no care in the world. "Ungh!" He groaned.
"North!" Tooth called as the large man walked into the room where the others sat. Sandman materialized a question mark above his head out of some of his dream sand and raised a gold eyebrow. Tooth fluttered around, directing multiple fairies to different parts of the world. Jack and Bunny looked to be arguing on the other side of the room. North couldn't hear them but he could tell by Jack's smirk and Bunny's furrowed eyebrows that they were not conversing in a friendly way.
"Guardians!" North shouted, raising his arms to get everyone's attention. Jack stuck his tongue out at Bunny quickly before winking and taking off to join the other guardians in the center of the room. Bunnymund simply rolled his eyes and hopped over as well.
"North, what's this about? Not all of us work only one day a year. Am I right Sandy?" Tooth said. Sandy gave a shy shrug and a face that said basically the same thing.
"Hey!" Jack, the newest recruit, exclaimed.
"Oh yes, and Jack." Tooth added, giggling lightly as she added this. Jack smirked and leaned back against his staff.
"Yeah, what's goin' on mate?" Bunny asked.
Everyone seemed to have been thinking the same thing because they all nodded and stared at North as if searching for the answers written on his tattooed arms. North took a deep breath before giving his answer.
"I… do not know… Cookie?" North offered, grabbing the large plate of treats from one of his elves. The rest of the guardians simply stared at him as he nonchalantly grabbed a large chocolate-chip cookie and made it disappear inside his beard where his mouth had spontaneously appeared.
"You don't know?" Bunny asked. North was sure he saw an eye twitch with that one. "Waddaya mean ya don't know?"
"I do not know." North stated simply. "Man in moon told me to call you all here. He did not, however tell me why."
"Manny told you to call us?" Tooth asked softly. A twinge of guilt hit everybody as Jack shifted uncomfortably to the side, pretending to take a sudden interest in his staff. They all knew the Man in the moon hadn't spoken to the winter spirit ever since he was reborn as Jack Frost. Even after Jack had become a guardian, he still seemed distant with the others. Sure he visited from time to time, but he had never truly connected with anyone, especially MIM. But three-hundred years tends to have that impact on a person, he would warm up to the others eventually.
"Yer tellin' me we're here because Manny, for some unexplained reason called us all together in this bone chillin' place o' yours? No offence." Bunny stated blankly, the cold and waiting finally getting on his last nerves.
"Why would I be offended? It's not my fault it is cold in pole." North said, offering a new distraction.
All eyes turned to Jack who paused mid bite into a cookie which was probably covered in elf slobber. "You don't think that's my fault do you? I control snow, not temperature. You all can go yell at Mother Nature for that… or physics…" Jack seemed to fall into a state of deep confusion before snapping himself out of it. "So when are we going to find out why we're here anyway?" He asked, unnaturally floating up and perching himself atop the crook of his staff as if it were the most normal thing in the world for him to do (which, in Jack's case, was not surprising.)
A loud jingle sounded from behind everyone. All eyes darted to an annoyed Sandy who held a now discombobulated elf in his small hand. Silently sighing as is saying 'finally!' a yellow arrow appeared above his head pointing upward.
North followed the arrow's direction when he saw the moon shining through one of his large windows. "Ah! Man in moon! Sandy, why did you not mention before?" He asked playfully receiving an overly stressed eye roll and a sarcastic look from the little man.
Jack looked up at the mention of MIM as if he wasn't expecting him to actually 'show up.'
"Finally." Bunny grumbled.
"Oh, he's here! Girls, girls, shh I need to listen!" Tooth cried, struggling to keep the chirping of her fairies subdued. Unfortunately, her requests did nothing to quiet the flittering fairies. "Uhh… Baby Tooth!" The fairy, which had been perched on Jack's shoulder, looked up at the sound of her name. "You're in charge!" Tooth finished quickly before releasing herself from the mob of color to join North at the window.
Baby Tooth squeaked as the mob darted at her and Jack, causing the boy to fall off of his perch and crumple to the ground, forgetting his ability to float. "Gah!" He exclaimed, being caught off guard when bombarded by the minis."Sorry Baby Tooth!" Jack apologized as he made to join the others, leaving an alarmed Baby Tooth behind in the swarm of vicious tooth fairies. The fairy let out one last squeal of discontent before being overtaken by the army of hummingbird people.
Approaching the others, who had surrounded themselves around the Guardian symbol etched on the floor, Jack realized just how serious this situation was. Everyone was facing the moon, each face basked in the pale moonlight.
All eyes focused on the man in the moon as the rays slowly lit the rest of the room. Jack stepped back, almost uncomfortable by the instant silence and light of the ones who had ignored him so many years before. The rays of the moon passed Jack reluctantly as if Manny had been offended by the teen's rejection of his light, but slowly, they passed him and made their way to the symbol.
Upon reaching the large circle on the floor, the rays of the moon seemed to grow brighter as well as the metal plaque everyone had been surrounding before. After several seconds of nothing, North turned to face the window once again. "Manny! What is it you are trying to tell us?" There was no answer.
"So… what now?" Jack asked, breaking the awkward silence.
Bunny shot him an annoyed look. "Listen Frostbite, Manny may not always have answered your pleas for attention, but when it comes to something important enough to signal us all here, he'll come through." He snapped.
Jack lifted his eyebrows in shock before scoffing and floating over to one of the smaller windows, perching himself on the ledge and staring out at the snow. Still, even with North's constant questioning, the moon had not answered. Jack could hear Tooth scolding Bunny in the corner of the room and the fairies were still chirping loudly, even the silence was getting to Jack.
Pulling up his hood, Jack closed his eyes, trying to tune out everything and everyone in the room. Tapping his staff to the cool glass, spindly webs of floral frost covered the pane and overflowed onto the ledge on which the boy sat.
Jack turned to look at the others. Sandy had joined in on the bickering between Tooth and Bunny as golden figures began popping above his head at a furious rate while North was pacing back and forth talking to himself, trying to figure out what the Man in the moon was trying to tell them.
Suddenly, Jack felt a jolt from beneath him. "Uh, guys?" He began, but they were all too caught up in their own problems to notice the slow rumble that was emanating from the floor. Jack stood up and pulled his hood off, deciding that he had nothing better to do than investigate.
Another rumble shook the ground with subtle force. Jack turned to see a stray moonbeam lingering to his right. As if noticing that Jack had seen it, the beam slowly moved to North's large fireplace which was now unnaturally sputtering flame and sparks.
"Guys!" Jack shouted, not taking his eyes from the growing fire.
"Jack, what is it?" Tooth asked in her motherly voice.
"The fireplace." He answered flatly, pointing the crook of his staff at the sputtering flame.
"Of course!" North exclaimed. "Manny, why did you not just say something?" Sandy rolled his eyes at the oblivious man as the other guardians began to crowd around the fire place.
Jack backed away, allowing the cool air to wash over him again, he could not stand the heat of the fire. In fact, he was secretly afraid that too much heat might cause him to melt.
As soon as the last guardian had situated himself, the fire burst out, swirling about the room before settling in the center of the guardians and slowly shifting into the shape of what looked to Jack like a lizard with wings. "What is it?" Jack asked just as the monster let out a dangerous snarl.
"That's a dragon mate." Bunny responded.
"But they're extinct! Aren't they?" Tooth asked, her purple eyes wide with fear and confusion.
The picture shifted so that there were now two figures standing around the dragon. One was Jack. The creature reared and snarled before darting at the guardian and enveloping the hooded boy with a curved stick in hand in flame. The Creature looked up from the floor and roared before turning and racing back to the fire place where it had come from, leaving only the calm fire that had once been there before.
Shocked looks were plastered upon everyone's face as they shared looks of confusion and fear before turning to face Jack. The silence and empty stares creeping on him like a spider, Jack simply gave his signature cocky look. "Wellthat was emotionally scarring." He said, receiving no more than an awkward cough from one of the Yetis in the background.
"Ya Gumby (A/N)! Do ya know what this means?!" Bunny shouted, breaking the lingering silence. Jack shook his head.
"Jack." The teen turned to face North. "I want you to go with Phil to the guest room. Get some sleep."
"But what about the-"He started, only to be cut off by North's serious scowl. Phil walked over, placing a furry hand on the young guardian's shoulder before leading him from the room. Jack was reluctant, but turned to follow the Yeti out of the room.
As soon as the door closed and Jack was sure to be out of hearing range, North turned back to the surprised faces of the other guardians. "Jack's in trouble."