Frost and Flame

Chapter 3- Taken

“Frost” Jaz spat.

“Flame” Jack replied, greeting her coldly. He knew he’d have to be smart about the situation and watch what he said. Jaz had a temper, a fiery one at that. If he was going to make it out of this without scorch marks he would have to be careful.

He lowered his staff slightly in an attempt to make her feel less threatened. He wasn’t looking for a fight and he tried to think of how to show her that. He stepped back, giving her some space, and leant on his staff.

“I’m not looking for trouble” he said calmly. Jaz didn’t seem to be any less enraged by his presence.

“Then why are you here” she growled.

“Why am I here? Why are you here? Snow isn’t exactly your thing” Jack reminded her, somewhat harshly. Jaz kept her eyes fixed on him.

“The children of Burgess might enjoy your snow in the daytime but at night people hate it. At night it’s heat they crave. The warmth of a fire, I give that to them.”

Jack smirked. “Oh please. You think you’re so important? When people want fire, they turn to matches, not you. See, real snow can’t be made. But fire? All someone needs is two halves of a stick.” His words cut deep into Jaz but she refused to let him see how much they hurt. She narrowed her eyes.

“Then how about I borrow your stick and test out that theory?” she hissed, eyeing his staff. Jack held it close to his body. He knew full well what she was thinking of doing but the fact that he knew she was capable of doing it, deliberately or not, that’s what really scared him. Jaz was well-known for two things: her temper and her habit of causing accidental devastation.

Unlike Jack, Jaz had always struggled to control all of her abilities. She could summon the wind easily and soar like an ember. Her fire powers were channelled through her dagger and while she could generally keep it at bay, more often than not, she would lose control.

A little to Jack’s surprise, Jaz didn’t make an attack. She even sheathed her dagger before using the wind to ascend higher in the tree. Jack looked down, noticing one of the two yetis North had sent with him gesturing for him to follow her. With a sigh of exasperation, he flew after her.

“Jaz wait!” he called out to her. Jaz looked back, gritting her teeth together when she saw that he was following her. He caught up quickly until he was right behind her. She pushed her way through the branches, drawing one back. As soon as she was through, she released it from her grip. It flung back, slapping Jack in the face. He clutched the side of his head in pain. He glared up at her, aiming his staff at the branch she was about to land on. Ice shot out of it to freeze the branch.

Jaz landed on it, loosing her footing on its now slippery surface. She free fell from the tree. She grabbed her dagger from her belt but before she could use her powers the back of her head slammed into a thick branch, knocking her unconscious. She lost her grip on the blade. She continued to fall, her limp body smashing through several more branches before landing on the ground below with a sickening thud that echoed through the clearing.

Jack winced. “Woops” he whispered. He watched as her dagger fell after her. It sliced through the firm ground, landing dangerously close to Jaz’s head. The yetis, who had witnessed the whole incident, covered their eyes. Jaz didn’t move.

Releasing the breath that he had been holding, Jack jumped down the tree. He walked over to her with the yetis right behind him. One of them mutter something in yetish. Jack looked at them, the frustration being clearly reflected on his face.

“Of course I know she’s unconscious!” he barked at them. He looked around in thought, running his fingers through his hair.

“Ok, we gotta go” he said as he turned to leave. The yetis spoke again, making Jack turn back.

“What do you mean ‘how do we get her back?’” he asked, irritated. “She weighs as much as an ash particle, just pick her up!” The yetis looked at each other, shrugging before one of them moved over to her body. She lay face-down with her hair splayed out, covering her eyes. The yeti shook her gently but she still didn’t wake. He placed his large paw underneath her waist, flipping her over and lifting her upper body off the ground. Her head hung limply. He picked her up gently, carrying her over to the where the other yeti waited.

Meanwhile Jack had been examining Jaz’s dagger. He crouched down, his head tipped to the side. He reached out to pull it out of the ground but as soon as he touched it a severe burning sensation shot through his hand. He pulled back instantly, trying not to scream. He had managed to remove it from the earth but dropped it from the shock of the pain. He grasped his hand, feeling the throbbing pain ebb away slowly. He looked up, realizing both yetis were staring at him. He felt embarrassed but he shook it off. When he opened his hand, the wound had already started to swell but a thin layer of frost had formed around it to cool the burn.

Gazing back down at the dagger, he noticed a similar sort of ice start to form along the handle, streaking its way up the sharpened edge of the blade.

“Oh…no…” Jack whispered. He stood up, turning to the yeti that wasn’t holding Jaz.

“Well? Aren’t you going to pick it up?” he questioned. The yeti said something in yetish again.

“I can’t take it” Jack protested. “Did you not see what just happened?” The yeti continued to argue.

“Relax, it won’t burn you.” He was right. The blade had become ineffective thanks to his ice. The yeti grumbled but strode over and picked it up. Jack clasped his hands together.

“Alright, time to go.” The yetis took out a snow globe, smashing it to the ground and opening a portal. Carrying Jaz’s unconscious body with them, they jumped in. Jack followed, still clutching his injured hand.

Shadows streaked through the trees surrounding where the group had been moments ago. Black sand swarmed the area, bringing to life a nightmare. It grunted, its golden eyes glistening. Rearing up, it let out a loud cry. It raced through the trees until it reached a broken bed. Without even slowing its pace it dove into the hole beneath the wooden frame.

Through the narrow strip of darkness it fell. As soon as its hooves touched the ground, it galloped into a larger opening. A shadow rose from the ground beside it.

“What is news my fearling?” a dark voice asked. The nightmare neighed loudly. The shadow stepped into the light to reveal himself. Pitch Black.

“What? Jack Frost took Jaz Flame?” He was clearly confused by this knowledge. The fearling grunted. He put the pieces together in his mind. A grin grew across his pale features.

“Choosing her as a guardian?” A laugh escaped his lips. “Oh the Man in the Moon really must be desperate this time.” He turned to the nightmare, stroking its neck.

“Keep an eye on her” he ordered it. “Fear is returning to the world and each day I grow stronger.” As he spoke, he clenched his fist as a gesture of power.

“And this time the guardians will not stop me.”

The other side of the portal opened. Jack leapt out, landing lightly on his feet. The others had been pacing anxiously for his arrival, running over to him and the yetis. Jack examined his wound, still swollen and surrounded by the layer of frost. He pouted.

“Jack!” Tooth greeted him. She followed his gaze, looking at his palm.

“You’re hurt!” she exclaimed. Jack pulled his hand away, not wanting her to worry about it.

“I’m fine, just a little burn. Nothing to worry about” Tooth didn’t look convinced but she trusted him enough to not ask questions. The yetis caught his attention as they carefully placed Jaz’s body down on the ground. Bunny was first to react.

“When we said bring her back, we meant conscious!” he said angrily. His paw was raised and aimed at Jack. North stepped forward to Bunny’s side, lowering his arm. He turned to Jack.

“What happened?” he questioned. His tone was much calmer than Bunny’s but he was just as concerned as to why she had been knocked out. Bunny looked at him, his eyes narrowed in anger. Jack rolled his eyes at him.

“Relax, would you? It was an accident. Besides, I got her here didn’t I?” His rhetorical question seemed to only wind up Bunny more. He was attached to Jaz for a reason unknown to Jack, though he was determined to find out.

“Why do you care so much anyway?” he asked, not really expecting an answer. He got one.

“We have something in common” was Bunny’s response.

Jack scoffed. “And what’s that? The fact that you both don’t like me?” Bunny smirked.

“Good guess mate.” He turned away from Jack, heading over to Jaz’s body. Jack knew there was more to it than that but he figured it would be more than unlikely that he’d get the truth out of him.

It didn’t take long for Bunny to realize her receptacle was empty.

“Where’s her dagger?” he demanded. His gaze shifted. Sandy shrugged, wondering the same. Jack cocked his head in the direction of the yeti. The one holding it handed it over to Bunny. He examined it carefully, turning on Jack.

“You froze it?” he growled. Jack stood his ground.

“Another accident. And hey, I didn’t exactly enjoy touching it” he said, stroking two of his fingers over the burn on his palm. Sandy exchanged a worried glance with North, forming the same snowflake and explosion as he did before. North seized the dagger from Bunny, handing it back to the yetis.

“This needs to be thawed. Keep it warm, bring it back to its original state” he ordered. The yeti nodded, taking the blade and hurrying off to perform the task as instructed.

“Guys,” Tooth’s voice rose above everyone else’s. “She’s waking up.”

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