Frost and Flame

Chapter 10- A Way to Help

“There has to be some way to save Christmas” Tooth’s voice had only a glimpse of hope left within it. The guardians paced through the damaged workshop. Jack dashed ahead to walk by North’s side. They all knew that if Christmas stood any chance of redemption, North would need all the help they could get.

“Where would Pitch have taken the yetis?” he asked. Before North could respond, a loud crash sounded from the other side of the Pole. Exchanging a glance, they ran over to the source of the sound. The five of them skidded to a halt. They could hardly believe their eyes. In front of them, entering through numerous portals, were the yetis and elves. The sight of their return made North smile a smile larger than ever before. He ran forward, shouting with glee. The elves jumped up and down, their bells jingling. The yetis exclaimed something in their language.

“What did they say?” Tooth murmured to the others. Jack listened, doing his best to translate. He didn’t have to. North turned back to his fellow guardians.

“Pitch had been keeping them in his lair. They finally managed to escape” North explained to the rest of them. His smile somehow became bigger.

“Christmas is saved!”

“Quick!” North barked instructions to the yetis, elves and other guardians. “We must work quickly.” More materials had been located. Jack used his staff to create lively ice toys in which the yetis hastily made copies of. Sandy helped the yetis with the repair work of toys that could be salvaged. Bunny had been tunnel-jumping between the Pole and his Warren, bringing colourful water from his river to paint the toys with. Tooth meanwhile, had been directing a handful of the elves who had volunteered to help her with her fairies. Things were looking up but it was still a race against time.

Bunny appeared from one of his tunnels. He had been gone for a much lengthier amount of time than the others had expected.

“What took you so long?” North questioned. Bunny hopped out of the hole.

“I brought some help” He spoke, as he reached down into the tunnel, pulling out several children. The guardians recognized them at once: Monty, Cupcake and the twins, Claude and Caleb. Bunny lifted the last child out; his favourite ankle-biter, Sophie. The excited children ran through the workshop. Whether they effectively built the toys or not, just having them there made everything seem a little better off. Tooth flew over to Bunny.

“What a great surprise” she said to him, smiling brightly. Bunny shrugged, keeping his eye on Sophie.

“Figured we could use the help.” Jack had joined them. Bunny noticed him looking around at the children. He was happy to see them but not completely content.

“I looked for Jamie” he clarified with the winter spirit. Jack stared at him. “The others told me they hadn’t seen him or Pippa.” Jack’s head lowered as a soft sigh left his lips. His eyes grew large in sudden realization. He had forgotten all about his plans with Jamie. He gazed around at the workshop. He couldn’t leave now, North still needed his help. Jamie would understand, right?

Pippa sat on Jamie’s Christmas decorated fence, her head resting on her hands in a gesture of her boredom. Jamie waited below as he kept a look out for his friend.

“He’ll be here soon,” he assured the girl in his company, still not giving up hope that the spirit would arrive. Pippa let out another sigh, lifting her head off her palms.

“That’s what you said an hour ago” she retorted. Jamie ignored her comment, keeping his back to her. Rolling her eyes, Pippa jumped down off the fence.

“I’m done” she declared. Jamie turned back around as she started to walk off.

“Where are you going?” he called after her. Pippa looked over her shoulder with an annoyed expression on her face.

“Home” she responded bitterly. “I’m not waiting around for someone who’s not coming with someone who wouldn’t notice if I was even here.” Her words stung Jamie hard. She was her best friend, aside from Jack. They had known each other pretty much all their lives. Seeing her walk away from him like this made him feel confused and hurt, and more alone than ever before.

It was a long and stressful process but together, they had managed. Christmas had been revived from the ashes of defeat and was ready to spread its wonder to the world. Jack was determined to be there this time. He had let the guardians down once before; never again. There was a high chance that the nightmares would attack but they would be ready for them.

Though Christmas was back on schedule, there was still unease in Jack’s mind. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t shake the thoughts of what Pitch had done to Jaz. His mind searched for a way to help her. His eyes were drawn to Bunny, who held a sleeping Sophie in his arms. He made his way over to him.

“Cute little ankle-biter, aint she?” he commented as he came over. Jack smiled in agreement. Bunny turned his gaze to Jack. Seriousness grew in his eyes.

“Something’s on your mind.” His observation was accurate, though Jack wasn’t entirely sure how to bring up his concerns about Jaz.

“When we were fighting Pitch,” he began. “I noticed something different about Jaz.” Bunny gave him a stern look.

“I’m aware of that, mate. She was helping Pitch, in case you hadn’t realized.”

Jack shook his head. “That’s not what I meant. There was something odd about her appearance. Her streaks were silver, not red.” He paused, remembering the desire for his suffering being reflected so clearly in her eyes.

“You know her, Bunny. She wouldn’t just give herself over to Pitch like that. He’s done something to her, I know it.” Bunny didn’t respond straight away. There was a lot of pain in the green depths of his eyes. His head slowly but steadily nodded.

“Pitch will pay for whatever it is he’s done to her” he hissed. Jack barely heard him. He leant in closer.

“We have to find a way to help her first” he reminded him. He added, more to himself than to Bunny, “There has to be someway to clear her mind.” His own mind searched for an idea, recalling back to what she had said before she attacked him.

“If I’m going to be accused of causing destruction, I might as well actually cause it.”

Jack knew those words were that of Pitch. He had managed to twist her mind to his liking, tricking her into thinking that was all she was.

“Something goes wrong,” she had sneered. “Blame the fire spirit, blame Pyro!”

That was it. Jaz felt betrayed by the guardians, accusing her for what had happened. They should have known better. The nightmares were not under her control, they were under Pitch’s. They had all been so caught up in the mess of the situation they had forgotten who they could trust.

“Now it’s your turn to feel stabbed in the back, alone and helpless.”

They had done this to her. They had practically handed her right to Pitch. She was vulnerable to his mind manipulation, the same way he had been. Jack had been strong enough to resist but the rage she had been feeling at the time blinded her judgement. She was his puppet, nothing more than a fearling. He could control her as he wished. The revenge she felt was but a reflection of Pitch’s vengeance towards the guardians.

There had to be someway to free her mind from his grasp, before they made their next attack.

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