"So, what we need to do is get the children to at least try and believe those nightmares aren't real." Gai said.
"Yeah, because you need all of your skills to keep the children from being afraid of a giant bunny." Jack said sarcastically.
"Jack, remember what we talked about." Tooth flew in front of Gai.
"How hard do you think it'll be to beat Pitch this time?"
"I'm not sure. But-" Tooth opened Gai's mouth, looking at her teeth.
"Tooth, remember what we talked about." North said.
"Oh, sorry. I've just never had a tooth from her before." She admitted quietly, blushing.
"Why not?" Jack asked.
"Don't know." Gai shrugged and continued walking.
"So, what do you do as Mother Nature?" Jack asked, leaving a trail of ice behind him with the staff.
"Everything." She answered nonchalantly.
"What do you mean everything?"
"I mean I grow the trees, make the snow, bring the sun up, make the flowers, everything."
"You mean plant the trees, right?"
"No, I mean grow the trees. I'm Mother Nature not Mother Planter."
"So, if you're Mother Nature, that means you also create the animals, right?"
"I guess. My favorite animal is the butterfly."
"That's an insect."
"If I make it, it's either an animal or plant."
"Anyway, so, if you make all the animals, do you name them?"
"Why are you asking so many questions?"
"Because this is the first time I've seen you and I'd like to know a little about our little gang leader."
"My name is Gai, I create everything you see here, and you're lucky I don't cancel your snow days."
"What's so bad about snow days?"
"Not snow days in general, just yours."
"All snow days are mine."
"That's what you think." He stopped as a small laugh was heard. Bunnymund walked past him, chuckling.
"She showed you." He mocked. Jack furrowed his eyebrows and continued walking. It was then that he noticed the trees around him.
"These trees don't look so well. I mean, they all look like they're dying." Everyone stopped, looking at the trees. North breathed in, as if he were taking in the smell of his surroundings.
"Something's here. Not natural." Gai tensed up and looked around.
"Uh, when you said that he was planning to make their nightmares real, what exactly did you mean?" Jack asked. Gai was about to answer when something landed in a tree.
"That's what I meant." His jaw dropped. An exact copy of Jack, save for the pitch black skin and jet black hair and glowing red eyes, was crouching in a tree.
"Oh. That's bad." The anti-Jack smirked as the tip of his staff touched the tree, decaying it from the inside. Gai grunted as she fell to her knees, gripping the necklace around her neck. North rolled up his sleeves and growled. Bunnymund smirked and pulled out a couple of egg bombs.
"I'm going to enjoy this." He said. The anti-Jack jumped at them, swinging his staff. North pulled Gai to the side and set her by Tooth. Bunnymund threw egg bombs at the anti-Jack, knocking him to the ground.
"Stay away from the staff!" Gai exclaimed. The two Jacks were fighting each other. Jack shot a beam out of his staff, only to have it rebounded by the anti-Jack's staff. Gai held out her hand, sending vines after him. He zapped them, sending them to the ground, withered. Once more, she held her necklace. North laughed and pulled out his swords.
"Bring it on, you copy!" He shouted. The anti-Jack performed a roundhouse kick to North and knocked him back.
"Oh, so it's kicking you want? Bring it on, mate." Bunnymund challenged. Anti-Jack swung the staff and narrowly missed him by mere inches. "Too slow for a rabbit." Tooth screamed as she was dragged away through a tunnel.
"Tooth!" Jack shouted. "Bunny, go after her!"
"Right." He went to follow, but North shook his head.
"We go after her later. There's a bigger problem here." North pointed to Gai, who was nearly unconscious.
"Crikey." Bunnymund picked Gai up and ran off.
"Come on, Jack!" North grabbed Jack and followed after Bunnymund.
"Let me go! We need to go back for Tooth!" He grunted.
"No. Now we need to make sure Mother Nature does not die." Jack watched as the anti-Jack faded into the distance.
When they got back to the North Pole, Jack slammed his fist into the door. "It's not fair! We have to go back for her!"
"I wish we could have, but Mother Nature needs to live." North said.
"Pitch is literally making the nightmares come true. No doubt that he's going to do the same thing to the rest of us." Bunnymund commented, setting Gai down.
"But why would Pitch want to take Tooth hostage?" Jack asked.
"I don't know, mate, but right now, we need to focus on one thing." Jack looked at Gai. The jewel around her neck; she had been gripping it when the anti-Jack had sucked the life out of that tree. Gai sat up, instantly smiling.
"Why are you smiling?"
"Because I have to smile." She answered. Bunnymund helped her up and she crossed her arms. "Now, all we need to do is make the children laugh again. Laughter leads to happiness and happiness leads to good dreams and good dreams beat nightmares."
"How do you suggest we do that?" Bunnymund asked skeptically.
"We make it snow. Enough snow to where there's no school for them."
"Snow?" They asked in unison. Jack laughed and gently tapped her head with his staff.
"Then make it snow, Mother Nature."
"We have to go to my workshop first."
"How do we get there?"
"Simple." She opened a magic portal. North hopped through, followed by Jack and Sandy. Bunnymund shook his head.
"I'll take my tunnels." He said. She laughed and pulled him through by his ear. "Ow!" When everyone was through the portal, it shut with a snap. Bunnymund yanked his ear back and mut-tered something. What caught his attention was everyone taking in a gasp of awe. A giant factory with white marble walls and virtually every element in each corner surrounded them. Jack chuckled quietly when he saw a thundercloud.
"Cool." He said. Gai took in a breath and smiled. "You live here?"
"No, I work here. My home is much more cheerful. This is where all the weather is made. Ooh! I'm late for a rainstorm in Minnesota!" She ran over to an orb and zapped it. The orb sud-denly filled with grey clouds. With a sigh of relief, she turned to them. "Now, to the snow."
"So, tell me exactly how making it snow will fix everything." Bunnymund stated sarcastical-ly.
"If children have snow, they'll be happy. If they're happy, they have fun and forget about their nightmares. If they forget about their nightmares, you guys are no longer haunting their dreams. And if you're no longer haunting their dreams, they start to like you guys again and for-get all about their terrifying dreams. Simple."
"And what happens when Pitch gives them more nightmares about us? Are you gonna make it snow all year?"
"Of course not. Then snow would be boring." He rolled his eyes. "Now, let's see how many snowflakes I have." Jack gently tapped a snowflake with his staff. "Be careful with the snow-flakes. They're very delicate. They shatter with the slightest touch." Innocently, Jack walked away whistling as the snowflake shattered. She smiled as she pulled out a giant ice block.
"What's that for?" North asked.
"To make snowflakes." She answered, taking out a drill. "My favorite is the snow day. Not being in one, but making one."
"I like snow days." Jack said.
"Well, this snow day has to be the biggest. Not big enough to be a snow storm, just one to make school cancelled."
"If you say so. I'm gonna go down there and have fun in the snow while furball and the oth-ers stay up here watching snowflakes fall." Gai handed him a hammer. "What's this for?"
"So you guys can make the pieces of hail."
"Didn't you hear-wait, make hail?"
"Yeah. Smash up that ice cube until it's smashed into tiny pieces."
"ůOkay, one time, but that's it." Gai laughed as she handed the other three hammers. North laughed and started smashing the ice.
"This is fun, no?" He asked.
"Oh, yeah, smashing ice. Loads of fun." Bunnymund said sarcastically.
"It's the best part of having cold weather. Do you know how hard it is to make a billion dif-ferent snowflakes every day? Each snowflake has to be different from each other. It's enough to drive someone insane!"
"That explains a lot about you, actually." Jack said. Gai snatched his staff from him and threw it to the side.
"Get smashing." A fleck of ice hit Jack in the face. Bunnymund smirked, resting the hammer on his shoulder.
"Oh, so it's a challenge you want, is it? Whoever smashes the most ice wins?" Gai rolled her eyes and laughed as the two started making hail. Whistling innocently, Jack froze a ball of water that had been floating in the air and threw it against the ground, shattering it to bits. Gai didn't seem to notice. By the time all the hail was made, she gathered it and threw it into a large bin.
"Now that the hail is made, we can check to see how the children are doing with the snow." A large screen appeared before them, showing kids playing in the snow. "See? Mother knows best." Happily she crossed her arms, grinning.
"Uh-huh." North said."Told you; Mother Nature solves everything."
"You said nothing of the sort. You said 'if Mother Nature here, we in big trouble." Jack mi-micked.
"So, what are you gonna be for Halloween?" One of the children asked that was playing in the snow.
"I'm gonna be a princess!" The girl said, flaunting her curly hair.
"Well I'm gonna be a superhero." The first boy said, putting his thumb to his chest. The two children looked at their friend. He didn't answer. "What about you?"
"I'm too old for trick-or-treating. But if you ask me, I'm going to trick a lot more than get treats. Ha!" He stood on a rock. "I'm gonna be the one scaring the daylights out of children." Gai raised an eyebrow.
"I think I know who to visit next."
"You mean there's another Guardian that I haven't met? First Mother Nature and now anoth-er one?" Jack asked.
"Oh, I'm not a Guardian." Gai said, preparing another magic portal. Bunnymund shook his head.
"I'll take the tunnels, mate. Magic portals ain't my style." He said nervously. She laughed and pinched his cheek.
"Is the wittle bunny afwaid of portals?"
"Not afraid, just prefer tunnels." He muttered, blushing.
"But he is afraid of North's sleigh and greyhounds." Jack said. "Or any dog in general." Gai laughed and looked over at Sandy.
"Wanna help out here?" Sandy nodded and prepared his dream sand.
"What? You're not-" Before Bunnymund could finish objecting, Sandy threw the dream sand at him, sending him asleep in seconds.
"Thanks. Now, someone pick him up while we go through the portal." She hopped through the portal, followed by North and Sandy. Jack grunted as he dragged Bunnymund through the portal.
"No need to help, guys. He's only the size of a full-grown man." He said sarcastically. When he got through, he dropped Bunnymund and dusted himself off.
"You realize he's going to feel that when he wakes up, right?"
"Meh, he deserves it." She flicked him in the forehead. "Ow! That hurt." North looked around.
"Uh, where are we?"
"Halloween where? Why did we come here?"
"To make sure that Hallie hasn't been visited by Pitch yet."
A figured looked out the window of the old house that Gai was walking toward. "Who?"
Jack spotted a Cerberus lying on the ground. "Whoa, where can I get one of THOSE?" It looked at Jack and growled. "You can eat the bunny later."
"Trust me, getting one is much harder than it seems." Three extra large chucks of meat fell in front of the Cerberus. Gai scratched Cerberus behind his head. "Good boy."
"You're really good with animals..."
A young girl with jet black hair walked out and door and walked over to Cerberus. "Hey Gai."
"You haven't been visited by Pitch, have you?"
"Nope." The Cerberus licked her face.
"He's been going around giving children nightmares about the Guardians and since it's so close to Halloween, we thought that maybe he'd try to get you on his side."
"Yeah I haven't seen him." She looked at Jack.
"What? Hey, is there any way I can leave him here just so he can get a scare out of this giant puppy?" He motioned to the unconscious rabbit. Hallie looked at Bunnymund. Sandy waved in-nocently.
"Long story." Gai said.
Hallie laughed a little. "Would you guys like to come inside?"
"Are there cookies?" North asked.
"Just got them out of the oven." Hallie said kindly.
"Yes!" He ran inside.
Hallie opened the door to her house. "Everyone, welcome to Halloween Corner."
Sandy followed quietly as everyone entered.
"You've really cleaned this place up." Gai said.
Jack looked at the cobwebs on the walls. "Yeah...cleaned." He said quietly.
"Yep it just wasn't Halloween-like enough, so I fixed it up to my liking." Hallie said.
"If you see Pitch, don't listen to him. Since it's so close to your holiday, he'll be trying to use you." Gai said.
"Alright I won't. Take a seat ill go get the cookies and don't touch the little jack-o-lanterns or the ghosts!"
Jack looked at one of the jack-o-lanterns and froze it. Sandy gently laid Bunnymund on the floor. Hallie came back with a plate of cookies. "Hey, where do you keep the meat for your dog?" Jack asked.
"Upstairs in an extra room." Hallie answered. Jack went upstairs and came back downstairs, dragging a slab of meat.
"....It's probably best for me NOT to ask." Gai said.
"So North, how are the cookies?" Hallie asked, changing the subject.
North shrugged. "Not Elf-made, but pretty good." He answered. She smiled.
"Well, we should get going. Come on, guys-Jack, what are you doing?" Gai asked.
Jack was laying pieces of meat on Bunnymund's sleeping body. "Just doing an experiment."
Hallie sighed. "They're probably asleep."
"They just need to be seen."
"This...is not gonna end well." Gai said, innocently sipping tea
"Okay, I'm done."
"He's gonna be one mad bunny when he wakes up."
"Yep." Hallie answered, picking up a jack-o-lantern.
"Okay, bye." The group left. "Bye." She said quietly as she looked out her window and set the jack-o-lantern down. She heard something outside. Quickly, she went outside, holding her staff.
"Ah, hello, Hallie..." Pitch said.
"Uhn? Crikey, my head..." Bunnymund sat up, rubbing his head. He spotted the Cerberus. "AH!" He covered his mouth as not to wake up the sleeping dog.
"Pitch?!" Hallie exclaimed and held her staff up.
Bunnymund snuck past the Cerberus. "I'll kill Jack, what the? Pitch?" He hid in a bush, lis-tening to the conversation.
"I just wanted to talk. Nightmare-to-nightmare." Pitch said to Hallie.
"I'm not just nightmare you fool I'm nightmare and fun!" She put the top of the staff closer to his face.
"But I just want what you want, for people to appreciate what I do. I'm only doing my job. You know that you've got an evil side to you. Like me, people know what you do, they just don't believe that you exist, do they?" She shook her head slowly and lowered her staff.
"But if you join me, I can help you. You know, Mother Nature was the one who decided what you would do. She's the one who made you what you are; a freak."
"This is bad." Bunnymund muttered.
"You bring joy and nightmares, what is that? All the other Guardians just bring joy!" His face softened as he caressed her face. "Hallie, you know that you can do better than this." She looked away from him. Pitch forced her to look at him. "You know that I have always loved you. Why must we quarrel?" Hallie said nothing. Bunnymund readied his boomerang, but anti-Jack appeared behind him, touching the tip of his staff between his shoulder blades. With a flash of light, his soul became trapped in the orb.
Pitch sneered, as if he knew what had just happened. "What do you say?" She still said noth-ing and stared at him. Pitch leaned in and kissed her. "Why only have your work one day a year? We should be celebrating your day 24/7. If you join me, that is what we shall do."
Her eyes widened "...You....you...."
"I have always loved you." She pulled out of his grip and backed away. "You know this is your destiny." She tripped over her feet as she continued backing away. Calmly, Pitch helped her up. She blushed as she took his hand. "I ask you as a friend and partner to join me. We shall have your holiday of terror everyday!" Hallie hugged him tightly. Sneering, he hugged her back.
"What aboutůmy powers?" She asked nervously.
"They can be used." The young Spirit buried her face into his chest. "Come now, we must go back to my lair." We don't want any more Guardians eavesdropping and ruining my plans. Hallie na´vely nodded.
"Can Cerberus come, too? He's very loyal." Pitch smiled at her with his razor sharp teeth showing.
"Of course, anything for you, my sweet pumpkin pie." Putting a strand of hair behind her ear, she blushed and whistled for her dog. Cerberus woke up and licked her face.
"Hehe, good boy." Pitch wrapped his arm around her and they disappeared.