Warning: This chapter contains MINOR spoilers regarding the Rise of the Guardians movie!
You have no idea what to do.
Another Nightmare manifests from the dark, joining its companion at the window.
You can’t let the Nightmares make it back to Pitch and tell him of the Guardians’ compromised statuses.
But you can’t call out to Jack or Sandy, not wanting to alert them, either.
Plus, calling out would confuse the living daylights out of Jack, doing who-knows-what-kind of damage to him.
So you just stand there, completely immobile, staring at the Nightmares’ dark forms hovering by the window. They begin to clop their hooves on the air.
They’re getting ready to leave.
Come on, turn around, you think, hoping that somehow the Guardian or winter spirit will hear your projected thoughts.
It seems to work.
Jack takes notice of the being closest to him and whirls around. The Nightmares neigh and stand on their hind legs before shooting off down the street, with Jack in close pursuit.
“Sandy, come on! We can find Pitch!” you hear him cry back to the Sandman.
You see the small golden man hesitate, looking back at the sleeping forms of his friends.
But he leaps out of the window, his dreamsand cloud manifesting beneath him as he rushes to catch up with Jack, the two of them weaving between and over houses, soon disappearing from your field of vision as they chase after the Nightmares side-by-side.
Without a second thought, you run over to Jamie’s house.
You have to help, you have to wake up the Guardians. Jack and Sandy can’t take on Pitch all by themselves if he decides to show. And you feel compelled to check on Jamie, even though you know that the Guardians would never let anything bad happen to him.
Lucky for you, the front door is unlocked. Jamie’s mom must be preoccupied elsewhere in the house, because you don’t see her anywhere as you find your way up to the room.
You figure that she wouldn’t have heard all of the thumping around because those noises were associated with beings that she no longer believes in. She must think that Jamie is sound asleep, nothing out of place in his bedroom.
You fly up the stairs and face a narrow hallway. A flash of light that you know belongs to a magic portal comes from a slightly-opened door at the end of the hallway.
A million possibilities behind the opening of the portal running through your mind, you stumble over to the door just in time to see Jamie’s little sister, Sophie, through the crack as she steps into the swirling vortex, it closing behind her and taking her to a destination unbeknownst to you.
She must have somehow gotten her hands on North’s snowglobe, you think as you push open the door. North sits up suddenly, as if someone jolted him awake. A dreamy grin is spread across his face, his eyelids still half-shut. Perfect, didn’t have to wake him up myself so he could tell me how to go get Sophie so her mom won’t worry.
But he quickly plops back down to his place on Jamie’s bed, snoring happily, now laying on his side.
He just narrowly missed squishing Jamie, who is laying on the opposite side of him, closest to the window, his right side hanging over the edge because North takes up the most of the small twin bed. The dog—who is named Abbey, if memory serves you right—is sprawled out at the foot of the bed on the floor, tongue hanging out from the side of her mouth comically. Bunny is closest to the door, leaning on the wooden bedframe, his face tucked into his arms as he sleeps. His large foot twitches slightly with his dreams. You enter a bit further into the room, hearing Tooth’s sigh-snore but not seeing her. Standing slightly on your tiptoes and looking over North, you see her and Baby Tooth lying on the floor, the mini-fairy’s limbs resembling a star, Tooth resting comfortably on her side in a loose ball. Her folded wings shiver slightly with each exhale.
You find yourself chuckling at the entire scene.
Then you remember the task at hand.
Being careful as to not step on anyone, you make your way over to North. You shake his shoulder, calling his name.
He eventually stirs, propping himself up. “Haaaah?” he drowsily says, struggling to focus on you and stay awake.
Your heart racing, you inform him of the Nightmares and how Sandy and Jack left in pursuit of them, how they’re going to need help and so on, never pausing to take a breath.
He holds up a weary hand as he sits up a bit more, stopping you in your tracks. He then holds his fingers to his mouth and blows.
You can’t hear it, but you assume that he’s whistling, calling out to something.
A few moments and the soft ringing of sleigh bells later, his sleigh is hovering outside of Jamie’s window, the reindeer prancing on thin air, somewhat struggling at maintaining the still position.
“Help load onto sleigh,” North mumbles as he stands. He staggers a little and lets out a long yawn, then slings Bunny’s arm over his shoulder. You take the rabbit’s other arm. Together, the two of you manage to haul him outside of the window and into the seat of the sleigh. You do the same with Tooth, North falling back asleep standing up, forcing you to prod him with your foot to wake him back up. The entire time, North’s eyes never open more than halfway, his eyelids still heavy with sleep. You take up the task of scooping up Baby Tooth and gently laying her in the sleigh, out of the way of the others. Some more stumbling later, North topples into the sleigh, taking up the reigns.
With a tired whip of them, the sleigh darts off into the night.
You hope that North doesn’t fall asleep again while driving.
Turning back around, you face the calamity left behind by the Guardians’ mishap.
After a little tidying up, Jamie is tucked away in a more normal sleeping position on his bed, his posters realigned and trinkets put back into what you believe to be their proper places. His nightlight, you discover, is a robot with some modifications that no doubt Jamie made himself. It stands on the nearby bedside table, protecting its creator with its soft light.
Not wanting to risk another run through the house in case you run into Jamie’s mother, you figure you’d take common the exit of the night—the bedroom window.
You climb up onto the windowsill and look out at the leap before you.
It’s quite the jump, but you figure you can make it without maiming yourself too badly.
You don’t want to take too many risks, though.
Slowly, carefully, you turn around, your back now facing the outside world. You lower yourself down onto your knees, gripping onto the windowsill. You then brave slipping your legs out from underneath you, the ledge lining your upper arms as you hook them over it, holding onto it for dear life. You steal a final glance around Jamie’s room, a last-minute check to make sure nothing is too out of place.
Besides the lack of Sophie, all seems well.
You know that the search for the small girl will have to wait until you can come into contact with North again. You hope that they’ll end up finding her and bringing her back soon, before too much panic is caused.
With that thought, you allow yourself to slide down to where you’re only holding onto the windowsill by your fingers.
You look over your shoulder. The distance between you and the ground has decreased significantly. It’s still a bit of a jump, but now you’re absolutely sure that you’ll walk away with nothing more than perhaps a bruise or two.
So, with a deep breath, you close your eyes.
And let go.