Frost and Flame

Chapter 19- Healing

Jaz had been in the heater-like infirmary for almost three days. She had not yet regained consciousness. All the guardians were growing very anxious by this knowledge. They checked up on her in short but frequent visits. The room had become too hot for any of them to stay in there too long. They took turns tending to her; stabilizing her body temperature, changing the dressings on her wounds and keeping them clean.

North had sent yetis to change her clothing over to new ones that were not torn or soaked in her own blood. They didn’t seem to enjoy doing that chore at all but they didn’t question his orders. North had set the task of making her new clothes to a group of yetis the day she had been brought back to the Pole by Jack. They had dressed her in her new clothes, consisting of a dark ginger shirt and brown pants. Her belt hadn’t had any major adjustments done to it but she no longer wore it. It rested on the table opposite her bed. North had also given them the job of mending her old clothing, including replacing the missing fabric on her lower half of her shirt. Most of them weren’t used to sewing, and found it a challenge.

The yetis that had changed her reported back to him when they saw the scars on her back. North, in disbelief, stormed into the infirmary. He looked down at the sleeping spirit. Her skin tone was slowly but surely returning to its normal colour. Carefully, he put his hand underneath her, turning her over enough for him to see her back. He drew the top of her shirt back, away from her shoulders. He almost dropped her, startled. Jagged letters were written in her skin. The blood was dry and mixed with the nightmare residue, creating a horrid murky colour. The infected wound spelt out Pitch Black. North quickly pulled her shirt back up and placed her down on her back just as Bunny walked in.

“How is she?” he asked, concerned. North felt her hand. He was thankful as warmth spread through him by her touch.

“Is slow,” he informed Bunny. “But she is getting there.” Bunny gave him an approved nod, walking over to the side of her bed. North stepped back, giving him some room.

He knew just how much Bunny cared for the girl. It was a bond that he had only ever seen him show similarity towards Sophie Bennett. He did everything he could to protect the misunderstood fire spirit. He was distraught when she arrived. Cold, on the verge of dying, covered in blood and scars. He had stayed by her side almost the entire time she had been recovering, despite the discomfort the exposure from the extreme heat was causing him. His eyes gave away how tired he was. He hadn’t slept pretty much the whole three days. Tooth had already tried to convince him to rest but Bunny had made it clear that he wouldn’t until he was sure Jaz was alright.

North had to make sure he didn’t see what was written. He came up to his side.

“Where is Jack?” he asked him. Bunny turned to look at him, unbelieving of what he had just asked.

“How should I know where the frozen ratbag has gotten to?” He moved his attention back on Jaz.

“Bunny,” North’s voice was firm. “You must settle this score you have with Jack. Do not forget, it was he who brought Jaz here.”

Bunny crossed his arms. “It was also him who drove her away in the first place” he retorted angrily. North exhaled deeply, his eyes closing for a moment.

“End this rivalry, Bunny. For her sake.” His gaze fell on Jaz. Bunny’s eyes softened when he looked at her. His ears folded back and he couldn’t help but sigh.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked North quietly.

He placed his hand on Bunny’s shoulder. “Find Jack. Talk to him.”

Suppressing a groan, he hopped over towards the door.

“If there’s any change” he began.

North chuckled. “I’ll call for you, don’t worry. Now go.” Still cautious, Bunny left the room. North, hands on his waist, shook his head with a smile.

“Always so nervous” he said to himself. His attention was drawn to Jaz when a soft moaning came from her sleeping figure. At first he thought she might have been waking up. He leant over her anticipating her awakening. But his excited grin vanished when he realized she wasn’t at all arousing. She was having a nightmare. He stepped back from her.

“Dingle” he called to one of the elves that stood in the doorway. Several of them looked at each other, confused as to which one of them he was talking to. One of them stepped forward, pushing the others out of the way and pointed to himself.

“Find Sandy, bring him here.” North directed. They were still confused as to who should complete the task given. The little elves ran around in circles, as if trying to work out which way was which.

“Now!” North’s voice made them all jump. They scampered across the ground, their bells tinkling loudly as they ran. They hurried through the workshop, tripping over their own feet and getting other the feet of others. They eventually found Sandy. They darted over to him, jumping up and down to get his attention. They waved their hands up in the air in front of him. Sandy looked at them in confusion. They started to point to the infirmary. Sandy gaze moved to where they were pointing. He formed a fire above his hair. The elves nodded. Quickly, Sandy glided through the workshop, into the infirmary. He wiped his forehead when he entered, making a silent statement about the warm temperature. North noticed his arrival.

“Ah Sandy!” he exclaimed. The two guardians looked at Jaz, restless in her sleep. Sandy formed the shape of a nightmare.

North nodded. “Can you help her?” Sandy nodded in return, producing a handful of dreamsand. He bound them into tight streams, allowing them to flow above her head. They attacked the nightmares, and before long, had completely engulfed the darkness. He then shaped the golden sand into various things. A dreamsand tiger leapt playfully into the air, sending grains of what looked to be fire flying from its paws. After everything she had been through, including loosing her dagger, Sandy could presume that seeing Blaze in her dreams would help her rest easy. The fiery feline crouched down, its tail straight in the air. Then it pounced on its imaginary prey. It started to roll around on it back, playfully kicking up with his hind legs. Both Sandy and North watched as Jaz’s sleeping expression changed from fear to reassurance and delight. She smiled in her sleep.

North looked to the golden man, smiling in satisfaction at what he had done.

“Thank you, Sandy” he whispered instinctively. Sandy gave him a thumbs up as a response. He continued to control her dreams, ensuring that no nightmares disturbed her slumber. North was starting to look quite flushed from the heat. Sandy gestured to the door, making a snowflake above his head. Thought he felt as though he needed to stay with her, North knew that Sandy was right. Staying in this heat for so long was not healthy unless you were the spirit of fire. He had other business that needed attending; finding Jack and talking to him. He had been in there for much longer than he should have been anyway. He trusted Sandy to watch over her until it was the next of the guardians turn to do so. Giving him and Jaz a final glance, he left the infirmary.

As soon as he was out, he inhaled a deep breath of the fresh cool air. It was only when he was outside that he recognized just have suffocating being in there actually was. Not only physically but mentally too. His head seemed to be much clearer now that he could breathe properly.

Tooth was next to look after Jaz. The moment she entered the infirmary, she wanted to fly straight out again. It was so hot it made her feathers ruffle. Sandy looked exhausted. Tooth wasn’t sure whether it was due to the heat or because he had been fighting off the nightmares.

She hovered over the sleeping girl’s bed. She turned her head as Bunny ran in.

“What are you doing in here?” she questioned him. Bunny made his way over to the bedside.

“North promised to inform me if anything changed” he explained. “When he told me about the nightmares she was having, I came straight here.” He went on to explain that he had spoken to Jack about putting aside their differences, at least until Jaz had healed. Tooth was pleasantly surprised to hear that the two of them had decided to get along. For them, it was a pretty big deal.

Jaz’s eyelids started to twitch. Tooth landed back down on the ground, unsure what was going on. Her amber eyes suddenly opened. She gasped for air, making Tooth jump. Jaz’s limbs started to flail. She had no idea where she was or what was going on. Bunny hurried to her side, doing his best to comfort her. He held her close, restraining her thrashing arms. His eyes reflected a feeling of protection. When she looked into them, she began to calm down.

“Bunny?” she whispered hoarsely. He nodded slowly, giving her a small smile. Sighing in relief, Jaz lay her head back down on the pillow it had been resting on. She looked around, seeing Tooth there as well.

“What’s going on?” She gazed down at herself, confused as to why she was in different clothes.

Tooth flew closer to her. “Do you remember anything of what happened?” she asked her softly. Jaz thought about the question.
“I remember…I remember it was cold” she murmured, thinking hard as she tried to recall the events of a few days ago. “We were trapped. And, my memories…” She held her hand to her head, brushing her streaked hair from her eyes.

“My memories…” Her sentence trailed off again. Tooth stroked her forearm comfortingly.

“It’s ok” her voice was affectionate. “You’ll remember.” Being the guardian of memories, she was certain Jaz’s memory of what had occurred would return to her given time.

The two girls only just noticed Bunny was no longer with them. Tooth looked around, spotting him standing on the other side of the room with his back to them. He spun back around, holding a mug filled with liquid. He walked back over and held it to Jaz’s lips.

“Blow” he instructed her gently. She did so with questioning him. As soon as the air she had breathed made contact with the water, steam started rising from the cup. Bunny forced himself to keep hold of the now searing glass. He tilted the mug whilst supporting her head. The hot water poured down her throat. He made sure she had consumed the entire thing. She coughed and spluttered once he was done but licked her lips, enjoying the extra warmth it had brought her. She rested her head back down, her eyelids heavy.

“Thank you” she mumbled to Bunny. He placed the glass back down on the bench her had found it on. Tooth placed her hand to her forehead, nodding at Bunny. The heat of her body was on the increase. At this rate, she’d be back to normal in mere hours, provided that she got plenty more rest and hot fluids.

“Good news,” Tooth said to her. “You’ll soon be back to your normal self.” Jaz didn’t seem at all thrilled by this news.

“What’s wrong?” she asked. Jaz’s eyes flickered to Bunny, then to Tooth. If Tooth was to know, she didn’t want Bunny to hear. Tooth understood. She faced Bunny.

“I think you should let me speak to her alone” she murmured to him. Bunny looked as though he weren’t planning on going anywhere.

“I’m not leaving her, Tooth” he protested. Tooth didn’t give him the choice. She practically pushed him out the door, closing and locking it behind him.

“Tooth!” Bunny’s muffled voice came from outside as he banged his paws up against the door.

“Open the bloody door!” Tooth ignored him. She turned back to Jaz, seeing that she had rolled over. Tooth noticed something underneath the fabric of her shirt. It was a hard to work out what it was, and could only see very little of what it was. She cautiously reached out for the ginger shirt. She pulled it down over her shoulders. She gasped when she caught sight of the writing.

“Do the others know about this?” she asked once she had recovered from the shock of it. Jaz twisted her neck to look at her. Her eyes were filled with the tears she was so desperately trying to stop from falling.

She sniffed. “Only Jack, I think” she responded. “Please Tooth,” she begged. “Promise me you won’t tell Bunny. I can’t let him see it. I just can’t.” Tooth looked down at her, feeling sorry for the poor girl. Even though she hated the idea of keeping this from the others, she understood why she was so disinclined towards Bunny finding out about it.

“I won’t tell him” Tooth promised. “But the others need to know; at least North.” Jaz stayed quiet for a few moments but nodded reluctantly. Tooth gave her a courteous look before letting Bunny back inside. Jaz pulled her shirt back up just before he entered.

“Keep resting” Tooth told her. “You need it.” Feeling the affects of the heat, she flew out of the room. Bunny was left alone with her.

“I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me what went on just then, are you?” Jaz shook her head as a simple reply. Bunny sighed, knowing that was the answer he was going to receive.

“Worth a shot” he commented, taking a seat next to her bed.

“Are you hungry?” he asked her. Jaz casted him a look of disbelief. He stroked his paw across her forehead, brushing her hair away from her eyes and caressing her chin and neck. She closed her eyes momentarily while he did so, relishing his touch.

“I don’t eat. I’m a spirit, remember?”

Bunny smirked at her attitude. “Maybe so but food will help you recover faster. Isn’t that what you want?” Jaz wasn’t sure if he was telling the truth or not. One thing was certain though; she wanted to regain her strength as quick as possible. She gave him a look of approval towards his suggestion. She couldn’t remember the last time she had voluntarily eaten.

He went back over to the table he had gotten the water from. Since his body was in the way, she couldn’t make out what he was doing. He came back over, handing her another mug. She looked inside and saw a thick substance of a similar colour to her shirt. Like he had done before, Bunny held her head back and forced it down. It was disgusting! Vile tasting pulp sliding down her throat, getting stuck halfway. She couldn’t tell whether it was a liquid or a solid, or somewhere in between. This so-called food Bunny was feeding her made her want to vomit. She gagged, trying to cough it back up. Just when she thought it was over, the aftertaste kicked in. Bitter, pasty, and just downright nasty. Bunny kept her head slanted back to help it flow down into her system.

“What was that?!” she exclaimed, spitting up chunks of orange.

“Carrot purée” he responded with a smile. Jaz held her tongue, trying to rub the repulsive taste off it with the back of her hand.

“I’m not a rabbit. You do realize that, don’t you?

Bunny smirked. “Of course. But it’s good for you.” Jaz shuddered.

“If that’s good for me,” she scoffed, “I think I’ll stick with not eating.”

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