North entered the room and noticed Jack sound asleep on Bunny, he smiled. "I guess Jack was willing to listen?"
Bunnymund nodded as he continued to stroke the young guardian's hair as he slept. North asked how Jack was doing and Bunny let him know he was still fine and there weren't any difficulties. The larger man went to check the various machines Jack was hooked up to just to make sure. When everything was okay he had a sudden realization. "Where is the boy's staff?" he asked with worry on the edge of his voice.
The other man's eyes widened, he didn't think to grab it when he brought Jack to the workshop. Last he saw it the staff was on the lake next to the hole Jack fell through. He slapped his forehead, "It must still be at his lake! Ah I can't believe I didn't grab it!" Bunny was about to get up but North put a hand on his shoulder. He said that he would go and find Jack's staff. The man tried to protest but North said that Jack needed him at the workshop with him as he pointed to Jack who was trying to curl up to Bunny. He sighed and let Santa go.
North used his crystal snow globe to get to Jack's lake faster; he brought some yetis to help in the search. It was dark out now and it would make searching for the staff more of a challenge. North was worried that Pitch may have stolen it since his hideout was somewhere not far from the lake. The spirit of fear had been following Jack since he was defeated by him and looked for any chance to take his staff or him. North was ready to panic at those thoughts but he heard one of his yetis cheering and held up Jack's staff in the air. North smiled and felt relieved to know nothing happened to the winter spirit's staff. He began to walk over to the yeti when he noticed a figure lurking in the shadows. The man squinted his eyes slightly to try and see it better and saw two yellow eyes glowing in the distance. He realized who the eyes belonged to and tried to run over to the yeti but slipped on a patch of ice and fell back, landing in a snow bank.
The figure swiftly emerged from the shadows and snatched Jack's staff right from the yeti's hands and fled before North even got up. "Oh no…" North thought, Pitch had Jack's staff; the only thing that gave the guardian his powers. North realized he had to get back and get help. As he pulled out his snow globe he saw Sandy flying in the distance and called to the dream bringer.
Sandy glided down and asked what was going on by making a question mark with his golden sand. North explained what Pitch had done and the Sandman responded by making various markings with the sand. The two agreed to try and find Pitch with Sandy taking to the sky and North the ground. They searched for hours and were not successful. Sandy had to go back to what he was doing and had to leave North to return to his workshop. The large man opened his portal and returned home with his yetis feeling defeated. He walked to the room Jack and Bunnymund were in and was slightly relieved to see Jack still sleeping. He stepped in and motioned for Bunny to follow him.
"You find it?" Bunny asked when out of the room. North shook his head to say no and Bunny got anxious. "We have to find it! It has to be there! What if Pitch has it?!" he beamed. Bunny was about to open a tunnel before North grabbed him by the shoulders.
He sighed, "Pitch has the staff, I slipped on some ice and he got it before I could and flew off somewhere. Sandy and I searched for him but came up with nothing…" North covered his face with his hand in frustration. He wanted to slam his fists against something but didn't want to wake Jack and worry him. The man couldn't simply tell Jack that Pitch stole his staff. He would get enraged and try to leave while in his current state. North thought about what he would tell Jack if he even questioned the location of his staff. "Stay with Jack. I will get Tooth and try again tomorrow…" he said tiredly and went off to his room.
Bunnymund went back to Jack and held him on the bed, careful not to wake his sleeping angel. He looked at Jack and couldn't help but feel guilty that his staff got stolen like that. Bunny wanted to tell Jack and apologize but Jack needed to get better. The man fell asleep with his love and didn't have the soundest dreams at all.
The corridor had doors on both sides and it was lit dimly. It seemed as though the hall would go on forever but in the distance something glowed. It was Jack's staff. Bunny hadn't realized that what was happening wasn't real and sprinted down the corridor. Doors opened at random as he ran and had to stop several times to not get hurt. After a while the doors vanished and were replaced with windows. Bunny didn't bother to even look inside them and just kept running. Soon though, noises started coming from the windows; sounds of pain and anguish. The man still ignored them until they became very familiar.
The screams belonged to Jack. Bunny stopped in his tracks and went to the window that produced the familiar sound. Looking in he nearly panicked when he saw Jack strapped to a chair and writhing in pain. His sweatshirt was off which revealed cuts and bruises all over his upper body. He had stopped screaming and his head hung down. Bunny tried calling out but the boy didn't seem to hear. Bunny started to bang on the window but stopped when he saw Jack's head shoot up and his screams started again. He was being shocked. At that point Bunnymund slammed on the glass and desperately wanted to break through and save his love. He started to cry and become anxious when he noticed there wasn't even a crack.
"I'm afraid that won't work," a familiar voice echoed.
Bunny stopped pounding on the window and turned to find the voice. "Come out and show yourself!" he exclaimed.
Pitch emerged from the shadows. Bunny sneered and took a step back and bumped against the window. "You can't break the window with brute force," he chided. "If you make the right choice however, only then can you save him."
Bunny clenched his fists and was ready to clock Pitch when he head Jack screaming again. He sighed and looked at Pitch in his yellow eyes. "What are my choices?"
The Nightmare King grinned menacingly and interlaced his fingers. "If you wake up before you make a decision I'll be sure to destroy the staff and the boy, those are the terms, you must agree to them or I'll kill Jack now," Bunny nodded in anger and let Pitch continue. "If you can reach the staff before Jack screams three times you save him and the staff, should you fail you only get the staff and the boy dies. Your other option is you choose between Jack and the staff. Choose Jack and he lives but I keep the staff unless I can be located and defeated. Choose the staff and Jack dies. You have two minutes by the way."
Bunny was angry, he knew he wouldn't just pick the staff and let Jack die; he wouldn't forgive himself. He also knew he was extremely good at running but also figured Pitch would do anything to hinder his chances. He then remembered that spring was only a week away; Jack wouldn't need his staff that much in the first place. Still, the small guardian needed it to use his powers. With Christmas and Easter out of the way Bunny and North would have plenty of time to search for Pitch. Bunnymund looked right at Pitch with confidence burning in his eyes. "I choose to save Jack," he said with a smile.
Pitch raised an eyebrow, he was surprised. "The proud Easter spirit takes the easy way out?" he teased but sounded angry.
Bunny nodded proudly. Pitch had tried to egg the man on to have him changed his decision. Though Bunny's will was much greater and did not fall for the Nightmare King's trick. Pitch was furious but a man of his word. He waved a hand in the air and Bunny was released from the nightmare.
He woke with a jolt and panted heavily. Bunny looked to Jack who was still sound asleep and put sighed from relief. It was only a nightmare but Pitch himself rarely, if ever, showed up in his own nightmares. Bunnymund went back to sleep and this time had much better dreams.
The next morning Jack woke up to someone nudging him. His eyes fluttered open and he was happy to see it was Bunny that was nudging him gently. "Hey Kangaroo," he said sleepily. The older smiled and ruffled Jack's white hair.
"How ya feelin' Frostbite?" he said softly. Jack said he was okay but still in a bit of pain, though he felt a bit better knowing that Bunny was there with him. They both blushed and Bunny placed a soft kiss on the top of Jack's head. He said he had to go talk to North for a bit and left the room. Bunny went to North's office expecting him there but no such luck. He checked the globe room and the jolly man wasn't there either, nor was he checking on Jack. Bunny decided to go outside, not really to look for North but to get some air. He felt bad leaving Jack alone but he didn't want to seem worried around him.
Jack sat on his bed wondering what North and Bunny were talking about. Probably ways to make sure he didn't fall in the lake again, he knew his lake wasn't frozen that well. It was frozen enough that he could skate around on it. Jack promised himself to freeze the lake much better next winter though, he may have liked skating on it but he hated being in it. The small spirit couldn't swim at all so skating was the next best thing for him.
The spirit lay in his bed and stared at the ceiling, he was getting incredibly bored and wanted to do something. He wanted his staff which he thought North was hiding from him so he didn't get hurt again. Jack wanted to make some snow and fly around but he was hooked up to oxygen and his ribs were broken. Though he made attempts at sitting up because the ceiling was getting boring to look at. After several failed attempts the boy managed to sit himself up and position himself so he was looking out the window. A sort of melancholy came over him as he looked at the snow outside, snow he couldn't play in or create while he was stuck inside. Jack sighed out of boredom which caused the mask to fog up a lot. Out of anger he yanked it off his face and left it on his bed. The spirit felt he didn't need it after being hooked up to it all night then saw everything else that was attached to him and pulled them off as well. All he left on was the bandages for his ribs, those did hurt. His movements were slow but he looked around for his sweatshirt and spotted it on a chair in the corner.
Carefully, Jack shifted himself off of his bed and slowly made his way to the chair. He picked up the hoodie and put it on, cringing in pain from stretching his torso a bit. Once the sweatshirt was on he slowly opened the door to the room and peaked outside to make sure North or Bunny weren't there. With neither in sight he slipped out and made his way to the door that led outside. The winter spirit peaked out of the window and didn't notice anyone and then slipped out of the workshop.
Jack was happy to be back in his element; he smiled with joy and welcomed the cold air and snow. The guardian felt so much happier outside in the cold. He placed his hands in the pocket of his sweatshirt and walked around. Jack smiled when his feet made contact with the cold crisp feeling of the snow. He may have only been away from it for about a day but he missed it. The small guardian kept close to the wall of the huge building so he could lean on it for support. Jack saw a perfect patch of snow that glistened brilliantly in the sun and decided to sit himself down and just watch the light reflect off the white surface.
The guardian could tell he wasn't breathing right but didn't care; he wanted to be outside where he belonged. Jack set aside the issue and continued to gaze at the snow as he sat. He felt at ease, not a care in the world. That is, until Bunnymund showed up and nearly blew a gasket. He walked around a corner and noticed Frost sitting down in the snow; he ran to him. Bunny was nearly about to panic seeing Jack outside of the infirmary and spoke too fast for Jack to understand anything. The smaller of the two said he was bored and wanted to stay outside. However Jack started coughing and wheezed out his breathing hurt, which didn't help his ribs any. Bunny sighed heavily and carefully scooped Jack up in his arms and brought him back inside.
When they were back in the infirmary room Bunnymund put the oxygen mask back on Jack and had one of the yetis hook Jack up to everything else. Jack wasn't happy in the slightest; he just lay in his bed and breathed deeply. He hated being constrained and being told he couldn't have fun, the one thing he was meant to do. The boy finally calmed down and sat himself up so he could look at Bunnymund.
"Can I have my staff please?" he asked his voice a bit muffled from the mask. If he couldn't be outside in the snow he would make the snow inside.