Secrets of Time & Ice
Summary: When the New Year is born, the countdown to the awakening of an ancient evil has begun and secrets that were hidden by time the darkness of the moon is revealed. And the secret is focused around Katherine and what happened to Jack’s sister after he died. But how are the two connected? Jack and North are determined to find out.
Notes: This is my reasoning behind why Katherine, Nightlight, and Ombric were not present in the movie AT ALL!! (They weren’t even mentioned!) I will do my best to tie together the movie and the book series.
*~Where things are finally Explained~*
Nicolette stumbled out of North’s sled with as much dignity as she could muster, but she had to admit to herself that it was quite difficult. The Sands of Time had no gravity, so coming to a world with gravity was difficult. While she managed the best she could, the way North drove merely added to that difficulty. Still, she had too much pride to start stumbling like a drunk, and so she gathered herself and stood as tall as her short stature would let her. Luckily, she had the time to do so for the guardians’ eyes were all on Katherine and Nightlight. Especially North’s.
“Katherine.” He breathed, his eyes filled with unfallen tears. The Mermaids moved out of the way as he stumbled over and fell to his knees at her side as he stared at her, watched her sleeping face.
Was this real? Was this real, or this his mind playing a cruel trick?
Slowly, he reached out to touch her face, but just as he neared his hand went through her like a ghost.
The pain on his face was obvious to everyone and each person who saw it gained a look of pity and slight confusion.
“Why…” Tooth started. Nicolette, standing as tall as she could, walked over to the group and with an expression of slight remorse.
“She’s an adult now.” She explained. “An adult who grew up in a day and age where adults can’t believe in you. I’m sorry.” Everyone went silent as sadness crossed their eyes, except Jack who was whipping his head back and forth to each and every person with a look of pity and confusion.
“Wait a minute!” he exclaimed. “She saw me! She talked to me, clung to me, I even carried her here! And who the heck are you?” He directed the last question at Nicolette who stared at him as if she were studying him, which she was.
“NicoletteofTime.TheFirstintheNicksofTimeClockworks. Andtoyourfirstiuiry,wasthisoreoraftrSirNigtlightelease?” Jack blinked at her, not catching a word she said. She spoke so fast the worlds were over lapping, and it was as if she was speaking another language, and he knew every language in the world! (Or at least most.)
“Uh, would you repeat that? A little slower this time.” Nicolette sighed impatiently.
“Apologies.” She said, forcing herself to speak slower, though it made her feel silly. “I am Nicolette of Time. The First in the Nicks of Time Clockworks. And to your first inquiry, was this before or after Sir Nightlight’s release?” Jack blinked again. She still spoke quickly, but at least he could understand her this time.
“Um, before? But I was still able to carry her here.” Nicolette took less than a second to run all the possible scenarios in her head. But before she could gain any more information, North stood.
“Not important right now.” He said in a low, almost broken tone. “We’ll figure it out later.” Then he turned to Nightlight, who stared at the tall man with much interest. “Nightlight, what happened? We thought you were dead.”
Nightlight looked away from those deep blue eyes that were inquiring information in shame. He didn’t remember exactly what had happened, but what he did remember made him feel ashamed. Everyone watched him, wanting, eyes demanding an answer. He glanced up to the moon for some sort of comfort from his oldest friend, but even the moon seemed to be sad.
Nicolette stepped forward to his rescue.
“It is complicated, but I will answer all questions you have for that is one of the reasons I am here.”
High in the sky, hidden on the dark side of the moon a figure sat cold and calculating. She tapped her staff in an irritated motion. She was becoming quite impatient and annoyed with everything. But then that was her nature. A nature that was only suppressed and contained by her brother. Her dear, sweet, loving brother.
She felt sorry for him. Sorry that even he would not be able to stop the darkness that was coming. As sad as it was however, the girl could not stop the curl of her lips at the thought of the fun to come.
“Let it begin.” She whispered, almost pleadingly.
Sandy led them to the tower of the isle leaving Katherine in the mermaid’s care, and Baby Tooth’s as well. Once there, everyone watched Nicolette expectantly, except for Nightlight, whom was trying to sink in the corner of the wall.
“Well, Sheila?” Bunnymund demanded. “Explain.” Nicolette frowned. Her name was not Sheila, it was Nicolette! He should know this as he helped build her! Was it perhaps an expression? She shook her head. She would inquire later.
“Everyone here is aware of the final battle with Pitch and the Snow Queen, correct?” Jack interrupted, raising his hand as he leaned on his staff.
“Uh, no. Not all.” Nicolette glanced at him.
“Very well. I shall simplify this as much as I can. Do you at least know who the Snow Queen is?” Jack thought for a moment.
“I’ve heard bits and pieces.” He admitted. “She was like me, as far as ice powers go. I heard she had a kingdom and then there’s something about a mirror.” Nicolette blinked at him, as if genuinely surprised.
“That’s it?” Jack shifted slightly under her piercing golden gaze.
“Yeah…” Was he supposed to know more? Nicolette thought for a moment, and then looked away.
“That is for another time, I suppose.” She said. For some reason Jack could not gather, she started to pace back and forth as she spoke, continuing her story.
“Due to a series of…. ‘Events,’” Nightlight shifted uncomfortably in guilt. “Pitch and the Queen joined forces to take the guardians down. In their partnership, they had created a dangerous spell that would ensnare each every child in their own nightmares, trapped until they were changed into Fearlings. Naturally, this could not be allowed, so the guardians came up with a plan to stop them. However, Nightlight and I had also come up with a separate plan.” Toothiana frowned.
“And what plan was that?” she asked, eyes narrowing. Nicolette met them as she stopped, much to the relief of Jack and Sandy, both of which were becoming sleepy and dizzy with her metronome movements.
“Pitch was getting too strong in Nightlight’s opinion, and this spell was the last straw. So we devised the best way to stop him at the time; to seal him again, this time in Nightlight’s body.”
The guardians turned their gazes to the boy who didn’t even look at them. He knew their eyes would be filled with betrayal and he couldn’t face it. He just couldn’t. Sensing this, Nicolette sternly added,
“At my urging.” The looks turned to her now, but she didn’t mind. After all, why should it? She was a clockwork. She was not made to be liked, just to do her job.
Bunnymund was deathly still, his nose twitching only once in a while as his eyes narrowed. If the situation were different, he would have been impressed that Nicolette was trying to get them to pass all their blame onto her, as this was a trait he could not program in her, meaning she had learned it. On the other hand, she could be telling the truth as he wasn’t sure she understood blame.
It was finally Tooth who spoke, breaking the silence.
“Why?” she whispered. Despite their piercing gaze, Nicolette stood firm, a trait Nightlight wished he could have at the moment.
“Because Nightlight’s light neutralizes Pitch’s darkness.” She explained. “I was told that if we sealed Pitch inside Nightlight, we would finally be able to stop him.”
Nicolette was unsure why Nightlight had asked her to follow him that night all those years ago, but did not question. It was very rare Nicolette ever questioned an order given to her. In fact, back then she never did for honestly she never thought to.
Nightlight had led her to a dark room inside one of the Lunar Monk’s temples. Once there he closed the curtains to keep the moonlight out. This time Nightlight did not want his oldest friend to know what he was planning. In fact he didn’t want anyone to know what he was planning.
Nicolette waited as patiently as she could, but as a clockwork, Nicolette had to work every second of the day, or risk going crazy. So finally she asked,
“What is it you wish of me, Sir Nightlight?” Nightlight looked at her with one sad, glowing eye for the other was heavily bandaged. He started to speak in moon language to her, which Nicolette understood perfectly for Ombric and Bunnymund had programmed her to know every language they did.
“I am aware of the final battle tomorrow.”
They had only been discussing it with the other guardians for a week now to a make a plan to stop Pitch and the Snow Queen. So why was Sir Nightlight repeating what she already knew? Did he not know that unlike Mortals, Nicolette had an endless memory supply and could never forget a thing?
“Is the plan we made, unclear to you, Sir Nightlight?” Nightlight shook his head with a hallow smile.
Then in the language of the moon he explained that Pitch had caused enough pain and suffering and would have to be stopped permanently and the only time he was stopped was when Nightlight had sealed him with the moon dagger, so he had come up with a plan to stop Pitch forever.
“Nicolette,” he said in the common language. “Tomorrow, when I give the word, you are to slow time and then seal Pitch inside me. Once that is done you are to destroy the both of us. Is that clear?”
Back then Nicolette did not hear the sadness and bitterness in his voice, nor did she understand the result of this order. All she understood was that she had been given an order and she was to obey as her creators had told her to follow the orders of their companions. So she replied,
“Understood, Sir Nightlight.”
North turned back to Nightlight.
“You were going to sacrifice yourself?” he hissed. He appeared angry, but he was in fact hurt. A hurt that Nightlight finally understood. He still didn’t look at him, but slowly nodded. “And Man in--” Nicolette cut him off right away.
“Man in Moon knew NOTHING.” Jack almost stumbled back in surprise at the defense in her tone. Forget the fact that was the first full on emotion he heard in her voice in all the time she spoke, other than impatience and slight guilt; the way she said that last word made Jack think she would actually rip off North’s head. It was the first time when she spoke she did not sound like a robot, but a human. “We made a plan. Just Nightlight and I. A plan that I take full responsibility for, along with everything that happened afterward.” Bunnymund’s nose twitched as he remained still. So still that it startled Jack when he spoke.
“And how did Katherine get involved?” he asked, voice short. Nicolette answered right away.
“We planned to do the sealment in the final battle, when we thought we would have the best opportunity, but then the unexpected happen.”
It was the final battle and all the old guardians plus Nicolette were fending off the fearlings as Pitch turned his dark gaze towards Nightlight with pure hatred.
“I have had ENOUGH of you!” the demon growled. He raised his arm and threw a spell at Nightlight, who floated in defiance, a look of sadness and determination on his face as he cast a quick look at Nicolette, who caught the signal.
She slowed time as much as she was currently able to and began chanting the spell Nightlight had given her. Using her two time cannons Nicolette focused one on Pitch and the other on Nightlight creating a chain of shadow and light, pulling the two together. Nicolette then started to bring her guns closer together, which in turn brought the Nightmare King and the Spectral boy closer.
The fearlings seemed to be the only ones to see what was happening and tried to pull their master away, in turn, pulling Nicolette from her stance. Remembering that Nightlight had given her an order, Nicolette slammed the two keys above her head, throwing the two towards each other and ripping Pitch out of the fearlings’ grip so they were only holding his shadow.
But then Nicolette saw something that she did not see before at she was too focused on Nightlight and Pitch.
Katherine, whom had been sitting by the Snow Queen’s side before Nicolette had slowed time, had somehow stood and in the time Nicolette had been casting the spell, had stood and ran in front of Nightlight. She didn’t see that Nicolette had cast a spell and was now binding the two. All Katherine was seeing was Pitch’s attack flying towards her most precious friend. She also didn’t see the Snow Queen stand in front of both to protect them.
Both of which Nicolette had missed because she was so focused on her task that she forgot to pay attention to anything else and before she knew it, Pitch had slammed into the Snow Queen and Nightlight into Katherine. Literally IN to them.
The moment this had been done, Nicolette froze time completely, her eyes as wide as the moon as a strange feeling tickled through her. She believed it was dread. This was not a part of the plan. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
She looked around at her companions. All their faces were twisted with grief, despair, shock, and fear. Even Bunnymund, who she had rarely seen emotion on, seemed filled with it. Nicolette didn’t understand those feelings, but she knew didn’t like to see them on their faces. And she didn’t like the fact that she was the one who put those feelings there.
She turned her gaze back to Katherine and the Snow Queen, both of whom were unconscious in a troubled sleep.
“Just for the record, this is what it means to ‘screwed up,’” Her Counterpart said from behind her, his copper gear eyes piercing. “And you really did it royally this time, Nicolette.”
And he was right.
In the present Nicolette had started pacing again.
“It was unexpected to say the least. I did not think that with their history, the Snow Queen would protect Katherine, but then I should have known that even frozen hearts can change as Katherine had explained the concept to me when I asked why she always spared Pitch.” She stated. “Getting back on track; after the sealment, I froze time and assessed the situation as best I could; Pitch was sealed inside the Snow Queen, and Nightlight was sealed inside Katherine with the key.”
“Wait, wait!” Jack interrupted, his head pounding as it spun with confusion at all the new information. “What you mean Pitch was sealed? News flash, Pitch is still here. I know. I fought him just a few hours ago.” Sandy tugged his sweatshirt and shook his head. Then images of Pitch spitting appeared to make two. “What? That was a clone?”
“A shadow.” Bunnymund explained. “A shadow of what was. Not as dangerous as the original, but still pretty dangerous as you know well enough. We thought he was something that was left after we defeated the original Pitch, but I guess we were wrong. On a lot of things.” Nicolette paced faster. “Oi! Stop ticking. You’re wearing a hole in the floor.” Indeed she was, for in the spot she paced was a foot deep trench.
“My apologies.” She said to Sandy, who waved it off. She hopped out of the hole, fighting the urge that made her want to tick as she continued.
“The shadow was pulled out by the fearlings when I sealed him. They wanted to use him to find the key and free the real Pitch. However, the Shadow… got his own plan.”
“His own plan?”
“Right. He gave up on finding the key and tried to take Pitch’s role, however the Fearlings refused to listen as they could not control him.”
“Wait, what?” Jack interrupted.
“They could not control him so they refused to follow him.” Nicolette stated as if it was obvious. Seeing that Jack did not understand still, she tried to simplify it. “The fearlings follow Pitch because they can manipulate him into turning people into fearlings like them. Feed them you could say. The shadow didn’t do that so they stopped following him, until now that is and that’s only because they finally have the opportunity to get their true master back.” Jack did a mock nod of understanding.
“Uh-huh. Alright and Fearlings are…” Seeing that Nicolette was getting ready to rip off his head, Toothiana answered.
“Fearling are monsters. They bring chaos, madness; they destroy hopes, and dreams. Mainly of children.” She explained.
“Uh-huh. So they’re nightmares?”
“No.” Nicolette interrupted. “They’re fear. Nightmares are merely a single form of them. Fearlings are the very essence of fear and hate. Nightmares are made to teach lessons, Fearlings seek one thing; to corrupt everything and devour. They see into the very depths of your soul and use your weakness to bring you down. To turn you into one of them. They have no love, hope, wonder; all they have is anger and madness. Even reason seems to be beyond them.”
“I… Okay, so those things I saw earlier. The ones with the horrible voices, they were Fearlings?”
Jack shivered as he remembered the fight from earlier. He thought there was something odd about them and a thousand times more threatening. His grip tightened on his staff as he focused sorely of the ground, his heart beating faster as he pressed his lips into a thin line. Just thinking about those horrible, horrible voices, made him scared. Not that he would ever admit it aloud.
Seeing this, Sandy offered a hand of comfort, but before he could “say” anything, North spoke.
“Since your plan failed, why didn’t you tell us about it?” he asked. “We could have helped.”
“Because Nicolas of Time informed me that this, all of it, was meant to happen. And before we are anything else, we are servants of time. As that was the reason we were made.” North growled inwardly. He should have known that would come back to bite him eventually. “We then agreed that this was for the best, and since I could not kill the Snow Queen or Katherine, I entrusted Katherine to the flow of time and left the Queen for you all to find.” Nicolette explained. “Then I returned and unfroze time and let you all come to your own conclusions as to what had happened.” Jack noted that while she stood her ground against the guardians, she avoided the moon light as she spoke.
“How?” North asked, looking between Nightlight and Nicolette. “How could you all do that to us? How could you have let us think that they--- you!” He turned to Nightlight. “Were dead? Do you know what that did to us? To Ombric. Ombric! Does he know?” Nicolette hesitated but nodded.
“After… it happened, I told Man in Moon. He told me that he disapproved and that the plan… shouldn’t have been done. That it was cruel.” Jack was honestly surprised to see the guilt that appeared on her face and Nightlight’s own guilt grew. “But it had been done. And I could not go back and change it, for it was as time wanted it. So we… I convinced Man in Moon not to tell you all. If you all knew the truth, you never would have stopped looking for Katherine and you would forget your duties to the rest of the children.
‘Besides, I had turned her over to the flow of Time, so even if we wanted to, we couldn’t find her and you all might rip it apart if you tried. He did say that Ombric at the very least had to know the truth. So I told him. After hours of conversing, we agreed to keep the secret to protect you all and look for Katherine in the time stream on our own.” She clenched her fists behind her back as she stood as tall as she could, unwilling to let the heaviness inside her bring her pride down.
“I understand what I did was… painful to you all. I won’t make excuses as to why I did it and I won’t ask for forgiveness as I do not deserve it. But I hope you will at least prepare for the upcoming disaster.”
“Disaster?” Tooth frowned, wings flapping worriedly. “What disaster?” North decided to be the one to break the news to them this time.
“Apparently, in the coming New Year, Pitch returns.” He said, earning a worried gasp from everyone in the room except for Jack, whose head was still spinning from all the new information.
“That can’t be!” Tooth exclaimed.
“We have to stop it!” Nicolette fixed Bunnymund with a stern glare.
“Time wishes him to be freed. Whatever the consequences, it is my job to serve time, nothing else.” Bunnymund’s fists tighten. He admitted that he had more than changed over the years, but he still knew the importance of time and how its’ will must always be carried out, or the consequences were more than dire.
“But if that happens…” Tooth started. Sandy made a figure of a nuclear explosion.
“That’s why I came here. To give you a little time to prepare for whatever comes.” Nicolette said. Then under her breath she whispered, “Hopefully, it will be enough.”
“Wait, wait!” Jack interrupting. Nicolette resisted the urge to role her eyes.
“What now?” he ignored her rude tone.
“Two things; if you went through so much to seal him, then why are you letting him be released? And if you knew he was going to be released then why didn’t you come earlier?”
“Because at the time we had to seal him. Now he has to be freed. Why? Because nothing lasts forever and it is time for change to come to the world. Why didn’t I go back further to give you more ‘time’ to prepare? Because time won’t allow me to interfere any further.” She explained. “I am a ‘Nick of Time.’ I appear at the last possible moment.”
“Well, time is just a bitch, isn’t it?” Jack muttered, throwing his hands into the air as he turned away.
“You do not know the half of it. It’s worse than fate.” Nicolette said with a sigh. “Look, hate me all you want. You may even take me apart if you wish. But what will happen, will happen, no matter what you say, so I suggest you use the time gifted to you to prepare best you can. You’re going to need it.”
Everyone went silent at that, letting everything that had been said sink in, which was difficult, especially if you added the emotional impact.
Finally North spoke;
“Well, I don’t know about ‘taking you apart,’” he muttered. “But I will think about installing a moral compass later.” He walked over to Nightlight who stared up at him with wide, remorseful eyes. For a chilling few seconds, nether said anything, and then out of nowhere, he cuffed the boy hard across the face, making him stumble back. Then with a kinder expression he bent down and embraced him as one would their child.
“You stupid boy.” He whispered, a few tears escaping his eyes. Nightlight was in shock for a moment, but then returned the embrace crying slightly as well. He caught the tears as they fell for he knew the power they held. They were soon joined by everybody, but Jack who, while he felt a little out of place and lonely, smiled at the scene, and Nicolette, who watched them without saying a word.
After a while they finally pulled away. They had to get down to business.
“What now?” Tooth asked. Bunnymund walked over to a window and stared out it at the sleeping form of Katherine. It was still so hard for him to believe that the little girl he had met so long ago was now a young woman. Even so, she seemed so fragile.
“….Before we do anything,” he said. “We should probably find Katherine’s new home and leave her there for now.”
“What?!” North stepped forward, looking as if Bunnymund had told him to throw her off a cliff. “We spent years thinking she was dead! And now she’s here--!”
“And she doesn’t remember us.” Bunnymund interrupted the bitterness and sorrow clear in his tone. “She can’t even see us.”
Everyone went quiet and Jack could feel his heart break with each face he looked to, except Nicolette whose face was like stone.
Jack hated to see his friends like this. He hated to see them in such pain. He wanted to say something, anything to make them forget their troubles and make them laugh, but years of living told him that this wasn’t the time. So he shuffled back against the wall and kept quiet, entertaining himself by watching the little seashells running around.
“Look, I know how ya feel, North. We all do. But, we need to be logical now.” Bunnymund continued, his personality returning to the way it was years ago. “Pitch’s shadow has the fearlings on his side now and is going to looking for a way to find his body. We have to prevent that. And it’s going to be hard enough to do all that and watch over Katherine without trying to convince her we are real.”
“But if we just return her home, Pitch may kidnap her and try to use her against us.” Toothiana pointed out.
“And if we take her to one our places, she may have a mental break down.” Bunnymund stated.
“Or it could convince her that we are real!” North said. “And maybe she’ll be able to see us again.”
“Do we really want that right now?” North frowned in confusion, so Bunnymund continued. “If Katherine remembers us, she’ll want to fight with us. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wanna risk that. I can’t risk losin’ her. Not again.” North looked away, his fists tightening until they were white. It wasn’t fair. Katherine was so close, yet she had never been further. Bunny continued on.
“One of us will go with Katherine and guard her while the rest of us take care of Pitch. Once everything is settled, we’ll work on getting Katherine to see us again.”
“You can use her teeth!” Jack said helpfully. Then his face fell at the sight of Tooth’s face. “…Right?” Tooth shook her head.
“Pitch, the real Pitch, destroyed her teeth long ago.” She explained. “After stealing the memories inside them so she could never remember her parents.” Jack looked away. That was just horrible.
He looked away when he noticed something;
“Hey, where did Miss Stone face go?”
*~End of Chapter~*
Not a good sign if the writer is slightly confused by everything. O.o Well, I hoped I explained what needed to be explained. Let me know whether or not I kept everyone in character. If I didn’t, please explain why and I’ll do my best to fix it.