AN: Yo! This is the third book in the 'Don't Fear The Reaper' series. You'll probably need to read the other two to get what will be going on here! Still keeping with the naming tradition ;)
Started writing on September 2nd 2018
Started editing on September 18th 2018
Jack sighed putting his head in his hands. The Guardians were standing in front of him arguing as usual. He didn't bother trying to break them up, he didn't have the energy to. He hadn't had the energy to do much lately.
The winter spirit hadn't seen Matthew in almost two months. None of them had, not even a glimpse of him. The couple had had a fight the night before the Reaper disappeared. He thought they had made up and were fine, but Matthew wasn't there in the morning. Jack assumed he went to help a soul, but he didn't see him the whole day. He wasn't to worried, the Canadian might have a bunch to help. He started to worry after three days.
Jack looked for him, but couldn't find him. There was a Guardian meeting later in the week. He hoped he'd be there, Matthew hardly ever missed them. He didn't show. The Guardians noticed how down Jack was, but didn't ask. The Canadian occasionally missed the meetings so him not being there wasn't too unusual. A few days later, the winter spirit went back to the pole to find North. He needed someone to talk to and told the older Guardian about the fight and he couldn't find his husband. Jack was convinced that Matthew was angry and had left.
North tried to reassure him that the Reaper was probably just taking care of souls. There had been more and more waves over the last few years. The winter spirit seemed to believe him, but wasn't fully convinced. He stayed a while and North kept Jack busy to keep his mind off it. The Guardian of fun left later in the day to cause a storm.
The Russian didn't see him again until the next meeting. Jack didn't look too good, he looked like he hadn't slept in days. The Reaper didn't show up either. North was worried now as well. A wave had never lasted longer than two weeks before, it had been over a whole month. None of the other Guardians had seen him around either. They knew if Matthew didn't want to be seen he wouldn't be. They were worried that Pitch had gotten to him, but he hadn't been gaining power and they hadn't seen a new reaper around.
"Jack?" North asked pulling him from his thoughts. He looked up with a yawn raising an eyebrow. He hadn't realized the others had left. "There's a very important meeting coming up."
"Aren't all the meetings 'very important?'" The winter spirit said sarcastically. North cracked a small smile.
"Da, of course! But this is one that only happens every thousand years. It is required for all spirits to go." The Guardian of wonder said. Jack didn't seem like he was really paying attention. He sighed running a hand through his beard. "Matthew will have to be there as well."
"Birdie's not a spirit though." The younger Guardian grumbled resting his chin on his knee. North put a hand on his shoulder.
"No, but a reaper was there last time." He said reassuringly. "He'll be there."
"Fine." Jack sighed. He knew he had to go if there was a chance of even seeing the Canadian. He wanted to know what was going on and apologize or if he was even still alive. He was still convinced that Matthew was angry and left him. He would always find some time to come home even if it was just for a few minutes. He missed his husband so much.
"Oh, but we'll have to make you some kind of formal wear." North said looking him up and down.
"Excuse me?" The younger Guardian asked slightly offended. North laughed lightly.
"It's a very formal event. You can't wear a hoodie and leather pants. You'll have to wear shoes." The Russian said. Jack just groaned hopping off the railing kicking his staff over his shoulder. "I'll have the yetis make you something, da?"
"Okay." Jack mumbled.
"Don't worry, Jack." North said reassuringly. "Matthew will be there, I'm sure of it."
"Thanks, North." The winter spirit said with a small smile. He was glad to have his confidence. "I hope so."
-❄️"Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."❄️-
Matthew yawned loudly leaning against a tree. He was exhausted, but he was starting to get used to the constant sleepiness. He been chasing after souls for quite a while. He wasn't really sure how long anymore. He wanted to go home so badly. The Reaper needed to eat, sleep and preen. He decided to preen, his feathers were really bothering him and were the most important thing for him to get around. He hauled himself up into the tree and sat on a branch.
The Canadian started to move absentmindedly through the rows of feathers. He wondered how long his break would last. He hoped he'd have enough time to finally go home. He wanted nothing more than to be back with Jack. Matthew hissed as something cut his finger. He looked over wondering what was in his feathers that would have cut him. He blinked in surprise seeing they were shiny and metallic.
The Reaper's feathers always had a healthy shine, but they were never like this. His black feathers didn't look too different other than they were shinier while the yellow ones looked like they had been dipped in gold. He ran a finger over the edge of one and it easily broke the skin. He didn't know why his wings were like this, they didn't feel any heavier.
Matthew hopped out of the tree and spread one wing fully. He flexed it wondering how long they'd been like this. They seemed to work just fine. He flew into the sky towards Death's house hoping he'd know what was going on. He landed and knocked on the door. He heard the man yell for him to come in. The Canadian pushed in following his voice to the library.
"Ah, Matthew." Death smiled seeing him. He immediately noticed the feathers and stood up from where he was reading. "Your wings? What happened?"
"I don't know." The Reaper said. He was surprised his voice actually worked. It had been on and off over the last couple of months. He hadn't spoken since the last time he saw Jack. He didn't have a need too. "Why are they like this?"
"I'm not sure." Death's eyebrows furrowed as he stepped towards him. Matthew extended a wing for him to look at. He gently inspected them seeing they were hardened and had sharp edges. He curiously tapped on one hearing how it sounded, it sounded close to actual metal. "You're still able to fly?" He nodded and Death sighed in relief. "I don't know why they are like this. I'm going to talk with Tsar and see if he knows. In the meantime, I'd like you to stay here and rest."
Matthew nodded. He couldn't argue with him, he was tired. He was a bit slow to react. Death turned him around and lightly pushed him towards one of his spare bedrooms. He smiled tiredly walking in the direction he was pushed. He opened the door and immediately flopped onto the bed. He wasn't used to sleeping in an actual bed or without his husband. He closed his eyes trying to fall asleep. It took him a while, but exhaustion eventually took over.
AN: Will be posting a new chapter every Thursday accept next Thursday. I get my wisdom teeth removed so idk about posting… Have to see.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
The Reaper eventually woke up. He wasn't sure how long he'd been out. He was still tired, but he sat up. His feathers were still bothering him. Matthew looked to see they were still the same. He shrugged and started to move through the rows carefully. He still ended up cutting his fingers.
The Canadian sighed and stood up. He went into the joined bathroom to wash the blood off his hands. He was slightly annoyed seeing all the tiny cuts. He grumbled to himself and went to find Death. He easily found him in the library looking over books.
"Sleep well?" The man asked putting a hand on his shoulder and guiding him back towards the kitchen. He opened the fridge and grabbed a tub of yogurt and berries handing it to him. The Canadian thanked him. Death handed him a spoon as he ate quickly. "When was the last time you ate?"
"I don't know." The Reaper shrugged quickly finishing the yogurt. "Find anything?"
"Yes. We need to talk." Death said. Matthew was immediately nervous at his words. His tone didn't make it seem like it was anything bad. "Come, sit." The tall man lead him back into the living room. They both sat in their usual chairs. "Happy birthday, you're five hundred."
"Really?" The Canadian asked surprised. He didn't think he was that old yet, but he didn't really know how old he was.
"Yes, it explains your feathers. When a reaper turns five hundred they become an angel of death. No real big physical difference between the two other than age. You're still a reaper, but an 'upgraded' version. They gain the metallic feathers to show their age and status. You should be able to go between feather forms, but I'm not sure how." Death started to explain. Matthew nodded listening carefully. The man stood up and grabbed a sword and sheath carefully handing it to him. "I'm also supposed to give you this. Be very careful with it and how you use it. It is a sword now, but you can change it to any weapon with your magic and only your magic. No other spirit can use it or touch it."
"Okay?" The Reaper said confused. He tried it; the sword immediately changed into a dagger. The sheath changed with it as well. "That's pretty cool."
"That's not all. That weapon is very special, it makes wounds that will not heal. It's able to kill spirits." Death explained. The Canadian's eyes widened. "One of the main differences between a reaper and an angel of death is one responsibility. Every once in a while, you'll be given a name of a spirit from Manny. You'll have to kill who ever you're given."
"What if I don't?" The Reaper asked. He was thinking what if he was given Jack or one of the Guardians names. He couldn't hurt them. He didn't want to kill anyone.
"You'll be changed back to whatever you were before you became a reaper without any memories." Death said looking down. He seemed to be thinking the same thing. "I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do in this case. It's something Manny and I agreed on when the first reaper was made. I completely forgot about it, no reaper had made five hundred before. I didn't think one ever would and it wouldn't be used."
"How often will I be given a name?" Matthew asked biting his lip.
"Not often I imagine. It's out of my hands, whatever Manny decides." The man shook his head. The Reaper's eyebrows furrowed. "I doubt he'd ever give you someone important. He has given me your first name though, Pitch."
"I have to kill him?" Matthew looked down. He hated the man and how much pain he had caused him, but he didn't really want to kill him.
"Yes." Death sighed. The Canadian nodded slowly. He stood up and Matthew did as well. "I wish I could change this. I'm sorry."
"It's alright." The Reaper sighed. He knew Death couldn't do much when it came to Manny. He wasn't angry with him, but he wasn't very happy with the man in the moon. "I guess I should go do that now."
"Be careful, Matthew." Death warned. The Canadian gave him a small smile and nodded. He lead him to the door and told him to be careful again before he flew off.
The Reaper thought about Jack as he flew. He wanted to go home and talk to him. Tell him what was happening and what he had to do. The Guardian was his anchor. Matthew didn't know if he had a time restraint and didn't want to risk missing the deadline. He still wasn't sure how long he'd been gone for. He easily lost track of the days when he was flying all over the world.
Matthew easily found Pitch's lair. He'd moved a few times in the last decade, but had seemed to finally settle in Canada. He dropped into the dark cave immediately pulling the new weapon, he kept it as a dagger. It was what he was used to fighting with and it was easy to fly with.
Pitch appeared almost instantly. He looked confused, he didn't have any fearlings. "Hello, Reaper." He smiled showing his sharp teeth. "What are you doing here?"
The Canadian tried to answer him, but his voice didn't want to work. He bit his lip in frustration. It didn't work at the worst times. Pitch just smirked making a scythe out of his nightmare sand. He stepped forward and swung at him. Matthew jumped back raising the dagger defensively. He knew he needed to be aggressive and fight quickly. He wanted to get this over and done with.
The Reaper growled rushing forward and swiping at him. He managed to land a cut and the Nightmare King hissed sending a wave of nightmares at him. He easily cut through them with his dagger and sharpened feathers. Matthew kept advancing and backing Pitch into a corner. The spirit of darkness smirked disappearing into a shadow. He spun watching for him to reappear. He kept his wings out protecting his sides.
Pitch reappeared among the mares shooting a black sand arrow at him. He spun and blocked it with a force field. The Nightmare King disappeared and reformed again before he could react sending another arrow at him. He didn't have enough time to put up a force field and the arrow hit his wing. The sand just dissolved, it didn't do any damage.
Matthew smirked hiding his relief. The spirit of darkness blinked in surprise as he charged at him again. He quickly changed his scythe into a sword to block the dagger. The Reaper was keeping close. Pitch gasped as the blade cut through his wrist making him drop the sword. He slashed again, but the man jumped back.
The Canadian growled. He wanted to just finish him. Pitch seemed to notice the wounds weren't healing. He tried to pull away, but Matthew wasn't letting up. He kept attacking cornering him. He hissed trying to make another sword, but the Reaper just slashed it away. He finally had enough shadow to escape through. Matthew spun easily spotting him in the centre of the cavern. He could see the Nightmare King was struggling to stand as he moved towards him.
"What are you doing?" Pitch said holding his worst wounds. The Reaper could see the fear and pain in his eyes. He felt bad, he knew the spirit of darkness had probably never felt like this before. "H-how?" He stuttered. "Is it finally my time?"
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
Pitch stopped taking steps away from him as he slowly advanced. He wavered and fell to his knees with a small smile. He coughed and groaned seeing blood on his hands. The Nightmare King fell back on to his back with another groan. The Reaper felt terrible hearing him groan in pain. For the amount of pain this man had caused him and others he still didn't deserve to be killed. He knew he had to be though. He jumped on top of him pinning him to the ground.
"I'm sorry." Matthew managed to say sadly. He put the knife to his throat furrowing his eyebrows. Pitch looked up at him. He wasn't fighting anymore, he didn't look scared. His eyes were just dull as he tilted his head back exposing his throat for him. The Reaper quickly slit his throat and sat back.
Matthew stood up feeling like there was a huge weight on his shoulders. He put the dagger away. He pulled Pitch's soul forward as his body faded, it was black. He looked through his past making his judgement and his soul swirled away. A piece of it broke off and shot at him. The Canadian yelped in surprise as it went into his chest. It burned as he took a couple steps back. He suddenly fell backwards and kept falling. He landed in a heap on a cold floor.
"Matthew?" Death asked confused. He looked up at him confused as well. The man quickly came over and helped him up. Matthew looked down at his chest to see there was no mark. "Are you alright? How did you get here?"
"I'm fine. I don't know." Matthew said slowly. He felt weird, something was different. He could smell something sweet and he wanted more of that scent. "When I was sending Pitch's soul away, a piece broke off and when in me. I stepped back and fell here."
"None had ever done that before?" The man asked quickly checking him over for wounds.
"No." The Canadian shook his head. "They've given me energy, but none have broken and went in me before."
"Do you feel any different?" Death asked. He took a second to think about it and assess himself.
"Yeah, somethings off." The Reaper said slowly. "I don't know what, I feel weird. No pain though."
"We need to talk with the moon. I bet he's got something to do with it." The man said quickly. He waved for him to follow and lead him into the library. He had a huge skylight that aligned perfectly with the moon. "Tsar, I have more questions."
Matthew waited nervously. He could smell the sweet scent again, but it was faint. He almost never talked to Manny. He didn't particularly like him at all to say the least. He used to try to talk with him when he was younger, but almost never got an answer. He gave up after a few years and almost forgot he existed.
'Hello, Death, Reaper. What do you need?' Manny's voice asked popping into his head.
"What have you done to my reaper?" Death asked accusingly crossing his arms. Matthew tucked his wings tightly behind his back. He hated the scraping sound they made.
'Did I forget to tell you?' Manny asked slowly. Death raised an eyebrow at the moon. 'There was no replacement for Pitch. Your reaper will be the spirit of fear from now on.'
"Don't you think he's already got enough on his plate?" Death demanded. The Canadian hadn't seen him angry before. He almost always kept a stony face.
'He won't be taking on many new responsibilities. The mares can take care of them selves. He'll just be leading and be the face of it.' Manny started. Death didn't look convinced and Matthew wasn't too happy. 'He will also gain his powers.'
"We never went over that! This is crossing the line, Tsar." Death warned.
The moon seemed to dim slightly then got brighter again. It seemed like Manny was talking to the man, but not him. He didn't really care. The Reaper was still busy processing what the moon had said. He was angry and didn't want to be the spirit of fear. He did not want anything to do with Pitch now that he was gone. Matthew never wanted people to fear him, but it was his job now. He was the Guardians enemy now with his new job.
'Reaper?' Manny asked getting his attention. Matthew looked up breaking out of his thoughts. 'I'm going to offer you a chance to become fully immortal. Will you take it?'
The Reaper's eyebrows furrowed. He wondered what strings were attached. He knew Manny wouldn't just give it to him. He also thought about the Guardians. He didn't ever want to become like Pitch. He knew the man craved fear and power. Matthew was afraid that over time he would too and wanted to be able to be stopped.
"No, thank you." The Canadian said shaking his head. "I'll stay the way I am."
'Alright then.' The man in the moon said. He sounded surprised. The moon dimmed and brightened again. Matthew looked over to Death who was still fuming. He knew Manny must still be talking with him. He wasn't paying attention anymore again.
There was a sweet scent in the air. The Canadian didn't know what it was at first, but his instincts were telling him it was fear. He realized it was his own nerves and took a deep breath. The scent was gone as his fear was. He was broken out of his thoughts again as Death put a hand on his shoulder. He turned him away as a cloud covered the moon.
"I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do when it comes to him." The man said as they went back towards the living room. "He said maybe down the line, a new one will be picked and you'll be back to 'normal.' Unfortunately you'll have to deal with this for now."
"That's alright." Matthew sighed looking down.
"No, it's not alright. Manny shouldn't have done something like this without your permission." Death shook his head. He sighed. "I'd recommend going back to the cave and practicing your new powers. You'll probably need to build up trust with the mares."
"That'll probably take some time." Matthew sighed. He'd been fighting them for so long. He didn't know how'd they would take to him suddenly being their leader.
"Your workload of souls should be lower for a while. It looks like that wave is over." The man said.
"Well that's good news." The Canadian sighed in relief. Death smiled sadly leading him towards the door. He apologized again and Matthew shrugged.
The Reaper flew off back towards Pitch's cave, his new lair. He wanted to go home, but he knew Death was right and he needed to figure out his new powers. He went over the powers he knew Pitch had; shadow jumping and manipulation, nightmare sand and the nightmares, he knew everyone's worst fears. He had a lot to master.
Matthew sighed dropping into the cave and tucked his wings tightly behind his back. He walked slowly into the cavern. It seemed a lot brighter than before. He realized he could see in the dark. He felt eyes on him as he walked into the centre of the cave. The Reaper looked around and could see the nightmares moving in the shadows. One of the mares stepped out of the shadows towards him. He recognized her as the lead mare, Onyx.
"Hey girlie." The Canadian said gently. She stepped closer and he offered her his hand. She sniffed it before pushing her snout into it. Matthew smiled and carefully pet her. More of the mares started to come out of the shadows. Maybe this wasn't going to be as hard as he thought.
Chapter 4: Chapter Four
AN: Getting dressed with wings would be a pain. Especially when they're now sharp, but shhh. I honestly have no idea how he'd get a shirt on and off ¯\_( ツ )_/¯
Matthew sighed stepping through the shadows back into the cave. He had just gotten back from helping a soul. He'd been in and out the last couple of days or what he assumed was days. He was still getting used to being the spirit of fear. He still hadn't had time to go home. The Reaper wasn't sure how long he'd been away. He was a little bit nervous to go back. He missed Jack so much, but with his new job he was terrified that things would change between them. Every time the fear and nerves started to creep up on him he could smell a sweet scent.
The Reaper was starting to get used to that scent. Going to help souls it was there. Even just flying around it was there. People were afraid of everything and anything so the scent was every where. He was trying to balance all the fear, he knew there had to be a healthy amount of fear in the world. He always wanted more of that scent. At first his cravings were a bit hard to control, but he was getting used to them.
Matthew snapped out of his thoughts knowing there was a raven trying to find him. He was able to feel the shadows and when something was in them. He hummed and stepped through one quickly finding the bird. It cawed at him and landed on his shoulder. He carefully untied the message on its foot and read it; Death wanted to see him. He hummed tiredly starting towards the cave exit with the raven on his shoulder. Onyx popped out of the shadows and neighed at him. He smiled gently and pet her.
"I'll be back later. Just pop in if you need me." Matthew said quietly as he went. The mare nudged his back pushing him forward. He laughed lightly and flew out of the cave. The raven flew from his shoulder and he followed. It didn't take them long to get to Death's door. He knocked and heard him call for him to come in. "You wanted to see me?" He asked finding him in the library.
"Yes, how are you?" The man asked seeing him enter.
"Pretty good. Starting to get a hang of the new stuff. Still haven't figured out the feathers yet." Matthew said with a small smile.
"You'll figure it out." Death said reassuringly. He sighed. "Anyways, I called you here because there's a very important meeting today. It only happens every thousand years. I unfortunately cannot go, but there has to be a representative from me, there."
"That's me?" The Reaper asked raising an eyebrow.
"Yes. You'll also be the peacekeeper, use what ever powers you need to keep the spirits from fighting. Only a reaper's magic will work during this event." Death explained. Matthew nodded slowly. "I'm sorry for the short notice. I completely forgot."
"That's okay." The Canadian shrugged. "Where is it?"
"Its close to Mother Nature's gardens. Only about a mile past it. There'll be a light." The man said. He waved for him to follow and lead him into his room. He dug through his closet pulling something out. "You'll also have to wear this. It's a formal event so a uniform is required."
"Great." Matthew grumbled sarcastically taking the clothes from him. He held it up to get a look at it. It was a stereotypical Grim Reaper robe, but had gold trim around the edges. It looked like the one he used to wear years ago. Death left him to get dressed. He hid the dagger in his robe and pulled the hood up. He came out and the man smiled.
"Have fun." Death said sarcastically. The Reaper rolled his eyes. He wasn't looking forward to this. He was glad he didn't get much notice, less time to worry about it. The man lead him to the door and gave him a pat on the back. "If you leave now, you'll get there a bit early."
Matthew sighed and nodded. He spread his wings and started to fly. He really didn't want to go, but he knew it was important. He wondered if Jack was going to be there. He hoped he was just to have a bit of an anchor. The Reaper had spent five centuries avoiding spirits and knew what they thought of him. He flew over Mother Nature's gardens and spotted a light not to far away. He flew for it and saw Mother Nature waiting out front.
"Hello, Miss Nature." Matthew greeted respectively. He'd met her as well as the older more influential spirits over the years. They visited Death when he was there occasionally.
"It's good to see you, Matthew." Mother Nature said with a smile. She pulled him into a hug. "No hoods here, sorry."
The Reaper just shrugged and pulled it down. Mother Nature moved the vines away and he stepped into the garden. Inside it looked like a regular ball room. He sighed in slight relief only seeing spirits he'd met before there. Faith, Time and Destiny were talking quietly in the corner. Matthew didn't feel like going to talk to them. He didn't want to have to try and explain if his voice gave out. He instead leaned against the wall. He had zoned out quickly closing his eyes and wasn't paying attention.
"Mattie?" Jack asked. The Reaper opened his eyes with a small smile. His eyebrows furrowed seeing the winter spirit looked like he was about to cry. He quickly pulled him into a hug. Jack clung to him. "I'm sorry, Birdie. I'm so sorry."
Matthew's eyebrows furrowed further. He could smell his husband's fear. It was sickeningly sweet and overwhelming. He hated that he was wanting more. He carefully wrapped his wings around them. The Canadian stepped back through a shadow pulling Jack with him. He took them through the shadow to one of the other empty back gardens.
"Jack? Are you okay?" The Reaper asked quietly hugging him tightly. The Guardian shook his head and buried his face in the crook of Matthew's neck. He carefully rubbed circles into Jack's back trying to calm him and chase the fear away. "What's going on?"
"Please don't leave. I'm sorry." Jack said quickly.
"I'm not going anywhere Jackie, I promise." Matthew said pressing a kiss into his hair. The winter spirit calmed at his words.
"Why did you leave? What did I do?" He asked looking up at him.
"You didn't do anything? I've only been gone a couple days." The Canadian said confused. He could still smell his fear. He didn't know why he was so scared. He knew they had fought the night before the wave, but they had made up and were fine.
"Birdie, it's been two months." Jack said slowly.
"W-what?" Matthew stuttered eyes wide. He knew he lost track of time, but he didn't think it was that long. "I'm sorry." He apologized.
"You're not mad at me?" The winter spirit asked hopefully.
"No! Not at all." The Reaper said. Jack sighed in relief hugging him tightly. "I love you. I'm sorry, I didn't know I was gone that long."
"Where have you been?" The Guardian asked pulling back slightly. He still kept a hold of him. Matthew did as well. He moved his wings and tucked them behind his back. He cringed slightly at the scraping sound. "What happened to your wings?"
"Well, there was another wave." The Reaper started. He didn't want to tell him here. He bit his lip nervously looking down. "Some other stuff happened too. I'll tell you and the Guardians together. I'd rather get it over with all at once."
"Okay." Jack said. Matthew could smell a bit more fear coming off of him, but it went away quickly. "I love you. I missed you so much."
"I missed you too." The Canadian hummed as he was pulled down for a kiss. "I love you."
Chapter 5: Chapter Five
The couple stayed quiet for a while. Matthew couldn't smell fear coming from Jack anymore and was relieved. It was his own fear he could smell. He was still nervous about telling the Guardians and his husband what he was now. The winter spirit kept peppering kisses all over him. He smiled happily enjoying his company. They pulled back holding hands.
"Are you wearing pants under that?" Jack asked raising an eyebrow. Matthew laughed lightly. "You look awesome!"
"Yeah, I've got my jeans." The Reaper smiled. He looked Jack over and smirked. He was wearing something that kind of reminded him of a French noble. "You're actually wearing shoes? It's a miracle!"
"Trust me, these are coming off as soon as we leave." Jack smiled kissing him again. He was making up for lost time. "How's your voice?"
"On and off." Matthew shrugged. "Haven't used it much."
"I guess we should go back. I hear this thing is important." The Guardian of fun said rolling his eyes.
"Yeah, I'm supposed to be the peacekeeper." The Reaper grumbled.
"That sounds fun." Jack mumbled. He looked around. "Uh, where are we?"
"Just behind the ball room." The Reaper said sheepishly.
Jack just shrugged and followed his husband back. They came in through a back door seeing a lot more spirits had shown up. They stayed close to each other and leaned against the wall. They didn't really care if the spirits knew they were together. Matthew could smell quite a bit of fear in the room. He knew how hostile most spirits were. It must be hard for them to be in the same room as people they've always fought. The sweet scent got stronger as they started to notice him. There were a lot of eyes on him.
The Canadian could hear them saying terrible things about him. He didn't really care, he knew what he was. Jack seemed to hear them as well and didn't look very happy. Matthew squeezed his hand lightly with a small smile. He looked back over the crowd spotting the Guardians and a few other familiar faces. Mostly summer spirits that had attacked him before.
The Reaper spotted a shiny object being thrown at him. He quickly realized it was a knife. He knew he could just block it with a forced field, but he spotted the spirit that threw it at him. He smirked and stepped closer to Jack and out of the knife's path. He mended the shadow behind him and a shadow behind her together. The knife moved through both and hit the woman on the back of the shoulder. She looked confused over her shoulder seeing the knife in it. She growled angrily and other spirits around her started to notice.
The black haired woman started to move towards him. She pushed a fall spirit out of her way who immediately jumped at her. Both seemed to quickly realize that their powers didn't work and started to punch each other. Matthew groaned slightly annoyed. Death said to use any power to stop spirits from fighting. He didn't really care anymore and started to sing.
"I've never seen the Northern Lights, I've never seen the snow, I never walked across the ice, I ignore the ocean's flow." The Reaper started directing his voice at the fighting spirits. They froze instantly. He picked them up with his magic. "Where I'm born is where I'll die. Where I live is where I cry." His voice shifted slightly becoming haunting. " At night I shiver and I try, to forget that I never cheated, hat I tried to be strong, no matter how wise I was, I feel wrong." He set the spirits down across the room from each other and fell silent.
The spirits looked around confused while others were looking fearful at him. He could smell their fear. The dark haired spirit that through the knife pulled it out of her shoulder glaring at him. Matthew didn't know who she was or what she was the spirit of, but she was annoying. It looked like she was about to attack again, but someone put a hand on his shoulder and the black haired spirit backed down.
"Thank you, Reaper." Mother Nature said with a smile. She cleared her throat walking into the crowd of spirits. She got everyone's attention and started to talk about nature and balance. The spirits listened respectively. She was one of the few spirits everyone respected and knew not to mess with. A few of the other old spirits gave small speeches as well. They ended up standing and listening for a few hours. Time seemed to loose track of himself when he talked.
Matthew and Jack stayed close together as the speeches went on. After a while they ended and spirits started to leave. The winter spirit put an arm around his waist as the hall emptied out.
"Coming?" The Guardian of fun asked looking up at him. He could see the other Guardians were getting ready to leave as well. They had been distracted talking to a bunch of spirits and left them alone.
"I should stay until everyone's gone." Matthew sighed. "I'll meet you at the pole?"
"Promise?" Jack asked.
"Of course." The Reaper promised kissing his cheek. "I love you."
"I love you too, Birdie." The winter spirit hummed bringing him down for a proper kiss. "I'll see you soon." He said letting go of his husband.
Matthew sighed seeing him go. The other Guardians looked at him curiously. He gave them a small smile as they left. He spotted the black haired spirit again. She was still glaring at him as she left. Some of the spirits lingered for a while, but Mother Nature came along and kicked them out. She came over and thanked him again.
"Do you know who that spirit was?" The Reaper asked. His throat was starting to get a bit scratchy.
"I don't know her name. She's the spirit of hatred." Mother Nature said pinching the bridge of her nose. "She's new, I don't know what Manny was thinking." Matthew cracked a small smile at that. "Anyways, thank you for staying. You're free to leave now."
"Okay, thank you." The Reaper hummed starting to walk to the door. He pushed through the vines and took to the sky.
Matthew was nervous. He didn't know how Jack and the Guardians would react. He did want to get it over and done with. He could smell his own fear as he flew. He took a deep breath calming himself as he went. He sighed again feeling the cold. The Reaper got closer to the pole and saw Jack waiting for him on the roof.
"Hey, Birdie." The Guardian said pulling him into another kiss. Matthew hummed happily as his husband's arms snaked around his waist. He put his arms around his neck. "How are you?"
"I'm..." The Canadian thought about it. He wanted to be honest. "Nervous."
"What ever your so nervous about just know that I still love you." Jack said with a bright smile. Matthew just sighed looking down. The winter spirit knew something was different, that something happened. "No matter what. I just spent two months without you and it was hard. I don't want to do that ever again."
"I don't either." The Reaper said slowly.
Jack sighed carefully rubbing small circles into his hips with his thumbs. He suddenly smiled moving one hand and took Matthew's. He smiled as well moving his hand knowing what the Guardian was doing. The winter spirit slowly swayed them back and fourth as Matthew rested his head on his chest. Jack hummed pressing a kiss into his hair as they moved.
AN: Lyrics are from the song 'Where I Live' by Woodkid. Definitely worth a listen. ;) Moved the lyrics around a bit to fit some of my favourite parts in. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Also posting earlier tonight cuz I'll probs be playing fortnite around normal post time.
Chapter 6: Chapter Six
"Want to go in now?" Jack asked pausing. Matthew looked up and nodded nervously. He gave him a reassuring smile as they started to walk hand in hand towards the globe room. The Reaper tucked his wings tightly behind his back. He didn't want to cut or hit anyone.
"Hello Matthew!" Tooth greeted flying up to them. He pulled his hood down as the Guardian of memories pulled him into a hug. She noticed his wings. "Wow, your wings look beautiful."
"Ah, thanks." The Reaper said extending one for her to look at. Tooth reached out to touch it. "Careful, they're very sharp." He warned.
"They look like real gold." Tooth commented carefully running her fingers over flat of the feathers. Matthew cracked a small smile.
"Where have you been, Reaper?" Bunny asked. He sounded slightly annoyed. The Canadian bit his lip and tucked his wing behind his back again. His nerves fluttered and the sweet scent was there again.
"Well," Matthew started nervously. Jack put an arm around his waist squeezing him reassuringly. "There was another wave. I'm not sure how long that was, but I noticed my feathers had changed to like this. I went to see Death. He didn't know what was going on and talked to Manny." The Canadian paused. He wanted to keep it short and sweet and just get to the point. "Death told me that when a reaper turns five hundred they become an angel of death. There's no physical difference other than the feathers. The main thing is we're given a special weapon. It makes wounds that don't heal, it can kill spirits." Matthew stopped again looking over the Guardians reaction. He could smell a bit of fear from them. "Every so often I'll be given a spirit's name from Manny. I'm expected to kill them."
"What would happen if you do not do it?" North asked with his eyebrows furrowed. He could smell the fear coming off him. It wasn't of him, but for him.
"I'd be changed back to whatever I was before I was a reaper with no memories." The Reaper explained looking down. Jack's arm tightened around his waist. He could smell fear coming off of him as well. "I was given my first name then. It was Pitch."
"That's why he wasn't there." Bunny said and the Reaper nodded. The Guardian's seemed to gloss over the fact that he killed someone.
"Yeah. When I killed him," Matthew looked down. He hated saying it out loud, it made it real. "When I killed him a piece of his soul broke off and went in me. I stepped back and fell through a shadow. I ended up back at Death's. I didn't know how I got there, he didn't know what was going on. We went and talked with Manny. He said that I'm the spirit of fear now. I had to take over Pitch's job."
The Reaper looked down. He lowered his wings and slumped his shoulders trying to look the least intimidating as possible. He didn't want them to be scared of him. He could smell some fear from the Guardians, but it was mostly his own. There wasn't any fear coming from Jack. His husband just held him tighter.
"Death just let this happen?" Bunny demanded. The older Guardians never talked bad about or blamed the man in the moon.
"Manny didn't tell him, he just did it. Death was angry, but he can't do much when it comes to him." Matthew explained with a slight growl. He looked back down at the floor with a sigh. "I'm sorry. I know I'm pretty much the Guardians enemy now."
"Matthew, the only reason Pitch was our enemy was because he constantly craved fear and power." North said walking over and putting a big hand on his shoulder.
"You're nothing like him. You're not our enemy." Tooth said with a gentle smile.
"We trust you, mate." Bunny said firmly. Sandy popped out giving him two thumbs up.
"This doesn't change anything." Jack said kissing his cheek. "I'm still in love with you."
"Thanks guys." Matthew said with a small smile. All his nerves were gone. He couldn't smell a hint of fear coming off the Guardians. He was relieved they had taken it so well. He had been terrified they would have attacked him. The Reaper should have known better. "I'm still trying to figure things out a little. The mares take care of it mostly, but they're still getting used to the balance."
"You don't have to cause nightmares?" North asked.
"No, I don't. The mares do it themselves. Pitch probably did it because he like to and it accelerated his growth. I don't have nightmare sand either. I guess he had it because he caused nightmares himself." Matthew explained. His throat was starting to ache. "I can jump through and manipulate shadows. I can smell and know people's fears."
"The nightmares listen to you?" Bunny asked.
"Mostly, they're still getting used to me." The Reaper said. He tried to hide his yawn. The worrying had taken a lot out of him. "I have to watch them a bit. They're used to causing the most fear as possible or being hurt. I know I need to keep some fear in the world or people will do stupid things, but not to much that they don't want to do anything."
"That's something Pitch never understood." Sandy signed with his sand. The other Guardians nodded.
"Oh! Matthew." Tooth started with a bright smile. "You're voice is beautiful."
"Thank you." The Canadian said with a nervous smile. Jack smiled proudly. Matthew yawned loudly and the winter spirit caught it yawning as well.
"Maybe it's time to go home?" The Guardian of fun asked. The Reaper nodded tiredly.
"You'll be coming around again now?" Bunny asked.
"Yeah, I'll be around." Matthew said. "I'm sorry I was gone so long. I didn't realize it was two months."
"We all loose track of time." North said with a small smile.
The Canadian smiled back as the other Guardians started to leave as well. Jack smiled taking his hand as they started on their way home. As soon as they landed, the winter spirit pulled him into a kiss. Matthew hummed melting into his touch. He easily picked up the Reaper carrying him over to their blanket pile. The pair laid down together. Jack wrapped his arms around Matthew's waist as they tangled their legs together.
"I have one more..." The Reaper trailed off as his voice finally gave out. He sighed in annoyance. The winter spirit smiled reassuringly. He moved his hand up to the back of Jack's neck to tap his message. 'I have one more thing to tell you.'
"Alright." The Guardian of fun said kissing his forehead.
'Manny offered me full immortality.' Matthew tapped slowly. Jack looked surprised. A hopeful smile spread across his face, but he shook his head. He didn't want his husband to be mad. 'I didn't take it. I didn't know if there were strings attached. I'm also terrified of becoming like Pitch. I wanted there to be a way to stop me if I do.'
"You'll never be like him, Mattie." Jack shook his head arms tightening around his waist. "I do understand your decision. It's okay." The Reaper gave him a small smile. The winter spirit smiled back playfully kissing his nose. He laughed silently. "Birdie! Your wings!"
Matthew raised one looking over his shoulder. His feathers looked normal again. He wondered what he did to change them. He realized that he was happy and completely calm. The Reaper wondered if they were tied to his emotions.
"They're normal?" Jack asked raising an eyebrow.
'Death said they should go between forms.' The Canadian tapped. 'I prefer them this way, less dangerous.'
AN: Was going to do the whole theyd hate him thing, but I didn't really know where I'd go with it…
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
Jack was the first awake in the morning. He yawned quietly looking down at Matthew. He looked so peaceful using the Guardian's stomach as a pillow. His wings were relaxed at his sides still looking like they used to. He knew the Canadian hadn't like the sharp feathers. He was nervous to hurt anyone with them by accident.
The Guardian raised his head to look down at his feet. He felt a weight, something that was pulling at the blanket. The winter spirits eyes widened seen a nightmare curled up at his feet. The mare raised her head looking at him. Her eyes weren't gold anymore, but a light violet. They matched Matthew's eyes. She looked nervous lowering her ears. Jack gave her a sheepish smile and she just snorted lowering her head again. She didn't seem like she was going to attack so he wasn't going to either.
After a while, the Reaper woke up. He yawned loudly moving up closer to his husband. He hummed pressing warm kisses to his neck. He still looked half asleep.
"Morning Birdie." Jack said. Matthew just grunted in response. "We've got a visitor."
The Canadian look down where he was looking and smiled. The mare stood up and walked closer to them. She lowered her head and Matthew petted her. He could smell a bit of fear coming from Jack and the mare. She relaxed at his touch, but the Guardian was still nervous. Jack shifted slightly and the mare took a step back.
"It's okay Onyx." Matthew said calmly. His voice was still scratchy. The mare lowered her head again cautiously. "The mares are pretty skittish. Pitch manipulated and abused them. They won't hurt a fly."
"She seems a lot more mellow." Jack commented. Onyx moved and sniffed him. He stayed still and let her. The mare licked his face and hair. "Hey!" Onyx just snorted in his face moving back to Matthew. He laughed lightly petting her again. "I'm not a popsicle you know."
"She must think you're pretty cool." Matthew teased. The winter spirit sighed and rolled his eyes. Onyx pushed her snout into his hand again wanting more pets. "They do like attention though."
"I can see that." Jack grumbled. He sounded jealous. The Reaper smiled and leaned up to kiss him. "You know, I do too."
"Of course." Matthew hummed pressing more kisses to his neck and jaw. Onyx moved and licked him again. The winter spirit groaned pushing her away. He laughed as the mare just licked his hand instead. "I love you." He hummed kissing the Guardian again.
"I love you too, Birdie." Jack smiled. Matthew rolled on top of him as the winter spirit pulled him down for a proper kiss.
Onyx huffed and whinnied gaining both their attention. The Reaper laughed lightly sitting back. Jack sat up as well with a slightly annoyed smile. The mare used her snout to push him back down. Matthew laughed as she kept licking the Guardian's face. He squirmed and tried to get Onyx to stop licking him.
"She's mean." Jack said after he finally managed to wiggle his way out from under the Reaper to hide behind him. He peaked out looking at the mare. "And slobbery."
"They still need a bit of work on attention I guess. They're so touch starved they want a lot." Matthew smiled petting her again. "They'll calm down."
"I hope so." Jack smiled kissing his cheek. He reached out petting Onyx again. The mare leaned into their touch. He was still surprised how calm and gentle the nightmare was being. It seemed like they had adopted Matthew's personality.
"I'll probably be hanging around Pitch's lair for a while. Just to make sure they're okay." The Canadian said. He didn't want to be away from Jack again already, but he had to watch the mares. The winter spirit seemed to share the same feeling.
"Pitch's lair? Why don't we make it our cave?" Jack suggested with a small smile. The Reaper looked at him surprised. "Well, that way you're not traveling between the two. Besides, I think this place is getting a bit small."
"It is big, but it's a maze and really dark." Matthew said hesitantly.
"I can figure it out. I want to be close to you, if you're working there then I don't mind being there." The winter spirit said. "Could always get lights."
"If you want we can move there I guess. It's closer to the pole too and it's cooler for most of the year then here." Matthew said. "All of Pitch's stuff is still there. I haven't touched it."
"It seems like a good idea. I don't think the mares will fit here so we can go there." Jack smiled kissing him again. "We can get rid of Pitch's stuff and make it our own."
"Okay." The Reaper agreed with a smile. The winter spirit smiled brightly back putting an arm around his waist.
Matthew was happy that nothing was different between them and Jack wasn't scared of him or the mares. He was the most important person to him and he should have known he didn't need to worry. He felt some tears coming into his eyes as he thought about it.
"Birdie?" The Guardian of fun asked seeing them as well. Matthew carefully crawled into his lap and wrapped his wings around them. Onyx curled up around them as well.
"Sorry." The Reaper mumbled. Jack just rubbed circles into his back. "I put off coming back for a bit. I was terrified you'd hate me. I killed someone and became the spirit of fear."
"I could never hate you." Jack sighed holding him tightly. "You had no say in it. The only one I hate is Manny. He's just as bad as Pitch in my opinion. He shouldn't have done that to you, but it doesn't change anything. I still love you. I will always love you."
"I know I shouldn't have worried. Thank you." Matthew said kissing his jaw. "I love you."
"You don't ever need to worry." The Guardian said. "When I said I was going to follow you around forever I wasn't lying."
"I'm also worried Manny'll give me your name or one of the Guardians names." The Reaper shook his head. He needed to get the thoughts out of his head. "I can't hurt you or them. I don't know what I'd do."
"We'll have to deal with it if it happens." Jack said with his eyebrows furrowed. He wouldn't put it past the man in the moon to do that. He seemed to enjoy testing them. The winter spirit wanted to take both their minds off the thoughts. "Do you want to start moving today? We don't have much to take."
"Yeah. More time for you to figure out the maze." Matthew teased standing up. He offered the winter spirit his hand and he took it.
The Reaper pulled him up and Onyx got up as well. Jack smiled putting his hands on Matthew's hips. The mare nudged the Guardian of fun's back pushing him closer. She snorted and disappeared as he smiled. The Canadian intertwined his fingers behind Jack's neck looking into his bright blue eyes. He blushed slightly realizing he was looking back. The winter spirit smiled and leaned in. He quickly closed the distance between them.
AN: I have started a Ko-Fi! If you like my writing and would like to support me, I'd love a coffee! Link in my profile or just find Fave101 on Ko-Fi explore tab. Nothing will be changing rn for my post schedule, but with college soon updates could slow a bit.
Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
A month later...
Matthew hummed quietly over looking the city. It was a beautiful winter day out. It had been a while since he had time to sit and watch people. He'd been pretty busy with the souls and mares. It had been getting easier, the nightmares pretty much did everything themselves now. He only really had to keep tabs on what they were doing.
Jack and him had moved into the cave. They had kept some of Pitch's furniture, but they got rid of everything else. The Reaper had felt a bit guilty doing it. The only other things they had kept was the huge library. Jack had a bit of trouble finding his way around. It was a maze of dark tunnels. He had got some lights and put them in, but the Guardian still had trouble. Most of the time Matthew was there and helped him, but Jack was to stubborn to call a mare.
The Reaper was pulled out of his thoughts as the sweet scent caught his attention. He had felt drawn to this city over the last few days. There had been a shooting and there was a lot of fear. He hated that he wanted that fear, but there had also been souls that needed him here.
The Canadian grumbled taking flight again. He swooped down to a park and landed in a tree. He sat and started to preen. He had figured out how his feathers shifted. He had to feel calm to keep his old feathers. If he was threatened or stressed they'd change to metallic. They had only changed to metallic a few times. The spirit of hate kept trying to attack him. Matthew didn't bother staying to fight. He always just dropped into a shadow and popped up somewhere else.
"Mattie!" Someone called. He looked down from the branch seeing a man looking right at him. His eyes widened realizing he could see him. His feathers had already changed to metallic. "Where have you been bro?"
"Who are you?" Matthew asked shifting carefully on the branch. He was ready to fly at any second. The man looked slightly sad that he didn't recognize him. He had blond hair and blue eyes. He knew he'd seen this guy before, but it didn't explain how he knew his name. "How do you know me?"
"Matthew, I'm your brother." The man said looking up at him. "I'm Alfred. You don't remember me?"
"Alfred?" The Reaper asked slowly. His eyebrows furrowed. He looked and sounded so familiar. He suddenly remembered being a child and a kid that looked like the American was there. "I knew you?"
"Yeah!" Alfred said. He walked over to the tree trunk and looked like he was going to climb up. The Canadian dropped down instead. He was immediately pulled into a hug. Matthew hesitantly hugged back. "I missed you so much bro! Where have you been?"
"I don't understand how you can be my brother. You're human. I'm over five hundred." The Reaper mumbled as they stepped back. Alfred looked even more concerned.
"You really don't know." He said slowly looking him over. "What happened to you?" He quickly shook his head. "Why don't you come back to my house and I can explain everything? It's not the best thing to say in public."
Matthew was suspicious of the man. He knew he could easily fly away or jump through a shadow if he tried anything. He wanted to know if this guy was telling the truth. He couldn't smell any fear coming from him. People were normally nervous when they were lying.
The Reaper nodded and Alfred smiled. He walked along beside him. He tried to avoid other people in the streets, but a few ended up walking through him. The American seemed to notice them go through him. The pair got to Alfred's house quickly. It looked like the stereotypical American Dream house.
"Do you want some coffee?" Alfred asked gesturing for him to sit down. Matthew sat at the kitchen table.
"Yes please." The Reaper said. He was still a little nervous. Alfred made two cups of coffee and sat across from him. "Thank you."
"Do you remember anything about me?" The American asked hopefully.
"Not really. I don't remember much about before." Matthew shook his head. "I do remember being younger and there was another child with me. He kinda looked like you. How could it be you?"
"Well, I'm not human." Alfred said. "I'm a nation. We represent a country as a personification. I'm America. You were Canada. You're still my brother, but I don't know if you're still Canada."
"Nation?" Matthew asked confused. He had no idea what he was talking about. He always did feel a connection to Canada, maybe being a nation explained it. "What does that mean?"
"We're in tune with our land and people, there's like a connection. We feel what our people do and our health depends on them too. We live as long as our country does." Alfred explained. The Reaper nodded slowly. He believed him. He was starting to really think this man was his brother. "We were 'born' together. Nations aren't exactly born, we just show up."
Matthew's eyebrows furrowed trying to remember. A few memories started to come back. He was playing in a forest with his brother. There was a woman there watching them as well. She kept yelling at them. The Canadian didn't know what she was saying, but assumed it was to be careful.
"I remember a woman. Tan skin with long dark hair. We were little and she was older. Who was she?" The Reaper asked wondering if they were real memories.
"Yes! That was Native America, our Mom." Alfred said excitedly. "You remember?"
"A little bit. Small pieces are coming back." The Canadian said. America smiled and bounced excitedly.
"Do you believe me bro?" Alfred asked.
"Yes, I believe you. I've always felt a connection to Canada and being a nation would explain that." Matthew said. His wings had shifted back. "You're really my brother. I hope I can remember more eventually."
"I've been trying to get your attention forever. I've seen you around, other nations have seen you, but you always ignored us." Alfred said.
"Sorry, I wasn't ignoring you intentionally. Most people don't see me, they walk through me." Matthew apologized.
"I noticed that." The American said sadly. "Where have you been? You've got wings!"
"I guess I was changed from a nation to a reaper. I've been doing that for the last five hundred years." The Canadian explained.
"Reaper? As in Grim Reaper?" Alfred asked excitedly. Matthew nodded slowly wondering why he was so excited. "So you have super powers? What do you do?"
"Yeah I have powers." The Reaper said. Alfred looked like an excited kid. He was glad the man wasn't scared of him. "It's a bit of a list now. I can fly cuz wings. The wings shift between two forms, metallic and this. I can also make spectres and bring forward people from the dead. My singing voice paralyzes people if it's directed at them. I can jump through and manipulate shadows. And I can feel people's fear and what they are scared of."
"That is a list. That's amazing though! You're like a super hero!" Alfred bounced with a smile. "What do you do as the Grim Reaper?"
"I judge souls on where they're going. Some souls need more help than others." Matthew explained.
The American asked more and more questions. He happily answered. Alfred told him some stories of when they were little. He was able to remember some of them and fill in the blanks. The pair had caught up five hundred years of history in a few hours. Matthew had left Jack out. He wanted to give him the same privacy he had given him with the Guardians.
The Reaper had to leave after a while to help a soul. He didn't really want to leave, he wanted to get to know his brother better. Alfred made him promise to come back before he left. He promised without hesitation.
Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
Later in the day the Reaper landed in their cave. He immediately knew Jack was lost in the maze. Onyx popped up and whinnied at him before trotting over to a group of mares. Matthew smiled and jumped through the shadows instantly finding his husband.
"Hey Birdie." Jack smiled sheepishly as he stepped out of the shadow.
"Hello Jackie." Matthew hummed snaking an arm around his waist and kissing his cheek. "Lost?"
"Yup, we really should make some signs." The winter spirit said.
"Or you could just ask a mare. They'll help you." The Reaper said as they started to walk. Jack put an arm around his waist and he leaned into him. Matthew knew the Guardian was to stubborn to ask for help. It was something they both did.
The Canadian hummed quietly as they walked. He always knew exactly where he was going down in the caves. He was able to navigate with the shadows. They quickly made it to their blanket pile and Jack laid down. Matthew smiled and laid on top of him. He relaxed his wings at his sides as the winter spirit pulled a big fluffy blanket over them. Jack smiled feeling his warmth. He only ever liked his warmth.
"So," The Canadian started. "This sounds weird, but I met my brother today."
"What?" The Guardian asked confused.
"Yeah, his names Alfred. He's a nation." Matthew quickly explained what the American told him. He told him about what he was starting to remember about before. Jack listened carefully and asked a few questions. He loved seeing the Reaper excited, but he was suspicious.
"You really think he's your brother?" The winter spirit asked. Matthew nodded.
"I can tell he's not lying. There was no fear coming from him." The Canadian sighed. "I believe him. It would make sense with the nation thing and why I'm so drawn to Canada. Maybe you're the same?"
"Well, I've always been connected to Germany." Jack muttered. He was still suspicious, but he was curious. He wanted to meet him and decide for himself. "I want to meet him."
"Really?" Matthew asked excitedly. The Guardian nodded with a gentle smile. "I didn't tell him about you. He'll be surprised."
"I love you." The winter spirit smiled kissing his forehead. He smiled shifting up giving him a proper kiss. The Reaper yelped as his husband switched their positions. He laughed and wrapped his wings around them. He wrapped his legs around Jack's hips. The winter spirit hummed hands sneaking under his sweater. "You're so cute."
-❄️"I am a part of everything that I have read."❄️-
A few days later...
"Ready?" Matthew asked as they landed in front of Alfred's house. Jack looked a little nervous.
"What if he doesn't see me?" The winter spirit asked with his eyebrows furrowed. The Reaper took his hand and kissed his cheek. He could smell how nervous he was.
"He will." Matthew said confidently knocking at the door. Jack just bit his lip as they waited. They heard some stomping before the door opened.
"Mattie!" The American smiled pulling him into a hug. He pulled back and noticed the Guardian standing awkwardly. He was looking between the two blonds. He had to admit they looked a lot alike. "Who'd you bring?"
"Al, this is my husband Jack." The Reaper said with a smile. The winter spirit was slightly intimidated by the tall American.
"Oh! It's nice to meet you dude." America said pulling Jack into a hug. The winter spirit hugged back awkwardly. "Come in guys. Want anything to drink?"
"No, we're okay." They said in unison. Alfred laughed hearing them. They went in and sat in his living room.
"So how long have you been married? Treating my brother well?" Alfred asked raising an eyebrow. "And Jack? I'm assuming Jack Frost?"
"Yeah." The Guardian said with a small smile. He didn't expect him to know. "And of course! I think we've been married for like forty years or so. We've lost track."
"Wow. I don't think I could do that, too much commitment." Alfred smiled shaking his head. "How long have you actually known each other?"
"Probably about four hundred and fifty years." Matthew said. "We were friends a couple years before dating."
"Holy cow." The American shook his head again. His mood shifted to excited. "Oh! I forgot to ask you last time, are ghosts real?"
"Ghosts? Yeah, they are." The Reaper said. "Some people leave behind their best or worst memories. That's what ghosts are."
"That's so cool! Are you friends with any ghosts?" Alfred asked.
"A few yeah. Some are friendly and others aren't. It takes a while for them to actually remember you, but once they do, they won't forget." The Canadian smiled.
"Any creepy kids?" The American asked.
"I don't find them creepy." Matthew shrugged.
"So you can like, see them all the time?" Alfred asked. "Even if their hiding?"
"Yeah, they can't hide from me." The Reaper smiled. Alfred looked excited. "Don't go after them. Don't get any ideas."
"Too late!" America laughed. Matthew just rolled his eyes. He had already figured out his brother was impulsive.
"So about the nation thing?" Jack asked slowly.
Alfred smiled and started to explain, both listened intently. The more the two brothers talked the more convinced Jack was they were related. And the more Alfred explained the more convinced he was that they were nations. He didn't know if they still were. He hoped Matthew was, he'd be immortal than. They would have to ask Manny to confirm.
"Do you know if there are any other missing nations?" The Canadian asked.
"Yeah, Prussia. He was over here visiting about four hundred years ago and just disappeared." Alfred said. His eyebrows furrowed. "He actually looked a lot like you, Jack. He had red eyes though." Matthew and Jack looked at each other. "What?"
"I've always had a connection to eastern Germany." Jack said slowly.
"Dude." The American said simply. "The time line works out. You look just like him. You've got to be Prussia!"
"Or was. I don't know if I still am." The winter spirit said. "I don't know if either of us are."
"We'd have to ask Manny." Matthew said. He knew they probably wouldn't get a straight answer from him.
"Manny?" Alfred asked confused.
"The man in the moon. He's our boss. Well, Jack's boss and my boss's boss." The Reaper explained. "He's the one who made us or changed us I guess."
"The spirit world sounds complicated." America sighed.
"You've got no idea." Jack laughed. The Canadian was happy his husband and brother were getting along.
"Wait. Do you know Santa?" Alfred asked excitedly. The couple both looked at each other and laughed. They ended up talking about different spirits and mythology for a few hours. Matthew's throat was starting to get sore. A little while after, his voice gave out completely. "You okay bro?"
The Reaper looked over to Jack trusting him to talk for him. The Guardian smiled sadly. He took Matthew's hand and squeezed gently.
"His voice is a bit on and off. A spirit attacked him a couple years ago and damaged his throat." Jack explained as the Canadian shifted closer to him. Alfred's eyes narrowed.
"I'll beat who ever hurt my brother." The American said confidently.
"Don't worry, already taken care of." The Guardian said with a small smile. Matthew looked down and away. He still felt pretty bad about killing Pitch. Jack leaned over and gave him a kiss on his forehead. Alfred sighed and smiled watching them.
"You guys are so cute together." The American squealed. Matthew laughed silently with a blush across his face.
"We know." The winter spirit said with a smirk. The Reaper lightly elbowed him in the ribs. "What? It's true!"
'You don't have to be so cocky about it.' Matthew tapped into the back of his hand. The Guardian smiled sweetly and kissed his cheek. The Canadian just sighed with a smile.
Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
The couple sat and talked with Alfred for hours. Jack always waited to see if Matthew wanted to tap anything before replying himself. They had talked even more about ghosts. Alfred was so fascinated by them. The Reaper tried to talk him away from ghost hunting, but he seemed set on it. He instead promised to take him to meet some ghosts.
"The Easter Bunny is Australian? And he's an alien? Santa is Russian? The spirit world is weird." America said. The couple both smiled. Suddenly, Onyx popped up out of a shadow. She whinnied and snorted as Alfred jumped up in surprise. "Oh my god! What is that?"
Matthew laughed silently and stood up. He put a hand on the mare's neck easily calming her. She leaned into his touch looking between him and Alfred. They could smell his brothers fear.
"That's just Onyx." The winter spirit said. "She won't hurt you."
"What is she?" The American asked. The mare looked slightly offended. She neighed and stomped a foot. "She's terrifying, but kinda pretty."
"She's a nightmare. She's skittish, but pretty friendly." The Guardian explained.
Onyx was still looking between the two. Alfred stepped a bit closer and offered her his hand to sniff. She sniffed his hand then snorted nudging Matthew. Alfred looked offended while the couple laughed lightly. Onyx stomped around for a while sniffing Alfred's stuff. They watched her move around and explore.
"She's kind of cute." The American said as she came back over and nudged the Reaper's side.
Matthew smiled and petted her. He was used to her popping up randomly and hanging around. He didn't mind her being around, but she knew enough to give him space. She was able to understand him, but the Canadian didn't always understand her. Jack had been getting used to her as well. The pair enjoyed playing tag. He had had a talk with the mare about privacy though. She would pop up at odd times.
"Maybe its time we go home." Jack said noticing Matthew yawn. The Canadian nodded sleepily. Alfred sighed and nodded. They all stood up again and the American lead them to the door.
"It was nice to meet you Jack. And it was good to see you again Mattie." Alfred said hugging them both. He carefully pet Onyx. She begrudgingly let him. "You guys better come back."
"We will." Jack promised as the Reaper nodded. "And we'll ask Manny about us. He probably won't say anything, but we'll try."
"I don't think he could just take the nation out of you. You both still have the connection so I think it's still there." America said with a small smile. "I'll see you later guys."
Both of them nodded while Onyx just snorted. Alfred watched them fly off with a smile before shutting the door.
-❄️"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."❄️-
"Come on Manny! What do you have to hide?" Jack called at the moon. The Reaper sighed shaking his head. They had been trying to get answers from him for the last few weeks. "We're not mad. We just want to know."
"We're not getting anywhere." Matthew said taking the Guardian's hand. His husband turned to face him resting his head on his shoulder. The Reaper hugged him tightly wrapping his wings around them. Jack wanted to know so bad, he felt defeated that he couldn't get any answers. He didn't really believe the memories he had of his 'sister' anymore. The winter spirit sighed and hugged him back. "He'll have to answer eventually. Just have to pester him enough I guess."
"Yeah, hopefully." The winter spirit sighed. Matthew pressed a kiss into his hair. They both stood quietly for a while. He knew how bad his husband wanted to know. He wanted to know too, but not near as bad as he did. Knowing who he was before and that he had a brother was enough for him. The Reaper knew the winter spirit wanted to know if he was actually immortal. It would probably take a lot off his mind. "I love you, Birdie."
"I love you too." The Canadian hummed.
Jack carefully reached up and cupped his jaw. He leaned into his touch. He moved his hands from his jaw and interlaced them behind his neck. Matthew smiled and wrapped his arms around his husband's waist bringing him closer. He kissed him gently. The Canadian melted into his touch. They only broke apart for breath.
"You're adorable." The winter spirit said after they pulled back. He smiled seeing his blush and kissed his cheek. "Just perfect."
"I'm far from perfect." The Reaper said rolling his eyes. Jack smiled again and kissed his nose making him laugh.
"You're perfect for me." The Guardian of fun hummed pulling him in for another kiss. Matthew smiled gently as his husband peppered more kisses all over his face and neck. He pulled back with a sigh. "We should go. We're already late for the meeting."
"When are we not late?" The Reaper joked.
Jack rolled his eyes as the wind picked him up and ruffled Matthew's feathers. He laughed and flew after him easily catching up. They made it to the pole quickly and pushed in the window. The couple crawled into the rafters and looked down. The Guardians were already there and arguing. The winter spirit sighed as Matthew laughed. He turned and walked through a shadow appearing back by the other Guardians. Jack flew down and landed beside him.
"Thought I felt a draft." Bunny said. The winter spirit smiled brightly. The Guardians started to talk. It was mostly just catching up about what happened the last few weeks. They didn't have Pitch to talk or worry about anymore. The couple hadn't told them about Alfred. They didn't really need to know.
"So, guys." Jack started casually. "How do you get Manny to talk to you?"
"He'll talk if he wants to." North sighed. "He's a very busy spirit."
"What does he have to do way up there?" The Guardian asked rolling his eyes.
"He looks out for every spirit, mate. He's always doing something." Bunny said scratching his ear with his foot.
"'Looks out for every spirit,' that's far from true. He doesn't do much to help anyone. He's an asshole." Jack huffed angrily. The room seemed to get colder.
Matthew was at his side and leaned into him. He put a hand on his arm as the winter spirit sighed. He easily calmed under the Reaper's touch. He could smell how nervous the Guardians were. They never spoke bad about the man in the moon. They always seemed to find a way around it. Even when he made him the spirit of fear they pushed the blame on Death. The Canadian didn't understand their loyalty to him, but he knew that they had been friends or at least colleagues for centuries.
"He'll answer in time." Tooth said gently. She wondered why the couple wanted to talk to Manny.
"He doesn't neglect anyone intentionally." Sandy signed with his sand. The Guardian of fun rolled his eyes.
"I don't know about that." Jack grumbled leaning into the Reaper's side. He sighed and dropped the topic. The Guardians talked for a little while longer. After a while Sandy fell asleep. North tried to wake him up, but Sandy some how managed to stay asleep. Bunny had grabbed some paint and tried to pain on his face, but it just absorbed in. Matthew and Jack looked at each other before quietly slipping off to go home.
Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
Matthew hummed quietly as they flew home. He was mostly gliding, the wind was carrying him along. Jack was next to him chattering along about more pranks he and Jamie had pulled. He could barely hear him over the wind, but the Guardian didn't seem to notice. He just smiled trying to listen to him.
The Canadian caught a glimpse of something shiny being thrown at him. He already knew what it was as his wings turned metallic. He moved one up deflecting the knife as the spirit of hate appeared.
Matthew growled putting up a force field between them and her. Jack was already ready for a fight, but the Reaper grabbed his hand and pulled him close. He carefully wrapped his wings around them so the Guardian was protected and only his own back was exposed. He let them fall through the air in between two buildings. He used the shadow to jump through taking Jack with him. They reappeared in their cave. He moved his wings and tucked them behind his back. The winter spirit groaned holding his head. He looked like he was going to be sick.
"Sorry." Matthew quickly apologized. He knew shadow jumping was disorienting for everyone, but him. Especially when they jumped far, small distances weren't a big problem. The Canadian was fine jumping short distances. It took almost no energy, but longer distances took a lot out of him.
Jack swayed slightly and the Reaper hugged him tightly. He groaned closing his eyes and leaned into him. He used him as an anchor as the nausea went away.
"Are you okay?" The Canadian asked worriedly.
"Yeah. Isn't that the spirit from the meeting?" The Guardian asked looking up a him. Matthew nodded. "That happen often?"
"Its been more often the last couple weeks." The Canadian shrugged. He bent down and picked his husband up. Jack held onto him tightly as he carried him to bed. "She's more of an annoyance than a threat."
"I'm going after her." The winter spirit said trying to get out of Matthew's arms. He just shook his head.
"It's okay. I'm getting tired of her anyways." The Reaper sighed. "I'll probably just scare her off next time."
"Are you sure? I can go after her." Jack said as Matthew set him down in their pile of blankets.
"It's alright. I can take care of it." The Canadian yawned. He looked over his shoulder knowing there was a raven in the caves. The Guardian looked up at him as he sighed. "Death must need me. There's a raven."
"Awww. Birdie." Jack whined. Matthew smiled sadly leaning down and giving him a kiss.
"I'll be back. Don't wait up." The Reaper said kissing his forehead. He held onto him for a moment before stepping through a shadow to the Raven. It landed on his shoulder and he took the message from the bird's foot. Death did want to see him. He sighed and flew off after the raven. He landed at Death's door and knocked. The man called for him to come in. "You wanted to see me?"
"Yes." Death said looking up from his book. Matthew sat down across from him. "Manny's given me another name to tell you."
"Why doesn't Manny tell me himself?" The Reaper grumbled.
"Honestly, I have no idea." Death sighed shaking his head. Matthew sat back and rolled his eyes. The man had noticed he'd been getting impatient with the man in the moon lately. "Anyway, Megan Drake or the spirit of hate. She's very young, but it seems like Manny realizes his mistake."
"No kidding she was a mistake." The Reaper sighed. "Do I have a time limit or a deadline on this stuff?"
"Not a hard deadline. Get it done before the end of the week." The man said. Matthew nodded. "And while you're here; your work load will be normal."
"That's a relief." The Canadian smiled tiredly. Death gave him a small smile as well. He tried to hide a yawn, but the man noticed.
"How have you been?" Death asked.
"Alright. I'm used to the fear and cravings for it now. I seem to have more energy too." Matthew said. "The mares take care of most of the Pitch stuff. I don't have to watch them as much."
"That's good." The man sighed in relief. The Reaper yawned loudly unable to keep it in. He told him to go home and sleep before trying to attack the spirit. Matthew hummed tiredly and agreed standing up. Death lead him to the door.
"I won't be taking her job, too will I?" The Canadian paused at the door.
"No. It was a mistake to make a spirit of hate. No one will be taking her job." The man said shaking his head. "You won't be taking any more jobs. Ever. I made sure of it with Tsar."
"Thank you." The Reaper said gratefully. He didn't think he could handle another job or title. Death gave him a soft smile as he flew off. Matthew flew home and landed in the dim cave. He stepped through a shadow to their room. Jack was still awake and smiled seeing him. "You didn't have to wait for me."
"I know, but I wanted too." The winter spirit yawned as the Canadian settled down next to him. He shifted closer and wrapped his arms around Matthew's waist. The Reaper hummed happily tangling their legs together and putting one wing over them.
"Manny gave Death another name." Matthew said. Jack immediately looked worried. He could smell his fear. "It's the spirit of hate."
"That's convenient." The winter spirit said. All his fear was gone. "Be careful, Birdie."
"I know. I will be, I promise." Matthew said reassuringly. "At least I probably won't have to hunt her down.
"Yeah." Jack hummed looking down at him. He leaned in and kissed him gently unable to stop himself. He was adorable. "You're an angel." He hummed kissing his forehead.
"I'm the farthest thing from an angel." Matthew said shaking his head. The Guardian of fun hummed and rubbed small circles with his thumbs into his hips.
"You can't really deny it anymore. You are an angel." The winter spirit laughed lightly as he rolled his eyes. He pressed a kiss into his hair. Matthew sighed happily snuggling into his chest and kissed his collar bone. "I love you."
"I love you too, Jackie." The Reaper said through a yawn. Jack smile down at him seeing how adorable he was. He could never get over how cute his husband was.
"I'm so lucky to have you." The Guardian said with a sigh holding him tightly.
"No, I'm lucky to have you." Matthew argued. "You're my anchor, my best friend, my husband. I don't know what I'd do or where I'd be without you."
"I love you so much." Jack said kissing him again. He smiled into it as the Reaper rolled on top of him. He looked up at him as they broke apart for breath. "You're beautiful inside and out."
"Thank you." The Canadian blushed hiding his face in the crook of the winter spirit's neck. Jack laughed lightly knowing his husband always got flustered when he complimented him. He wrapped his arms around Matthew's waist again pulling him down flush against him. The Reaper relaxed his wings at his sides and tried to hide a yawn.
"Sleep, Birdie." The Guardian hummed. Matthew nodded snuggling happily into his chest closing his eyes.
Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
Matthew sighed crouching down next to the body. She had been killed by her soon to be husband. She had tried to get away from him because he was abusive, but it didn't work. The Reaper pulled her soul forward and it swirled away. He stood up and yawned.
It was pretty early in the morning for his normal time zone even though it was later in the day where he was. He heard a rustle behind him and turned wings already metallic. He spotted the spirit of hate, Megan, and growled. She just smiled sweetly at him.
"Hello!" Megan greeted. "Not going to run this time?"
"Not this time." Matthew said drawing his weapon. He still kept it as a dagger. She already had her throwing knives in hand.
"Why do other spirits hate you so much?" The black haired woman asked raising an eyebrow. "You're the only spirit that didn't attack me, but they still hate you."
"They don't know me. Reaper's tend to have a reputation, but you're probably to young to know that." Matthew said stepping forward. He knew this was his opportunity to kill her. He knew he could sing and paralyze her than easily kill her, but he wanted to give her a chance to escape. The Canadian wouldn't just let her escape, but wanted to have a fair fight. He could smell her fear at his advancement. She stepped back readying her knives.
"I guess I'm about to know that reputation." Megan said a wicked smile spreading across her face.
The spirit of hate quickly threw a knife at him. He just blocked it with his wing. He wasn't used to stopping stuff with his wings yet. It scared him a bit. He stepped back through a shadow and appeared behind the woman. She spun quickly and slashed at him. He growled and blocked it with his dagger. He pushed her back which was a mistake.
Megan threw a pair of knives at him. He blocked the first two with force fields, but she threw another pair. These two lodged into his shoulder and side. The Reaper growled and rushed forward ignoring his pain. He swiped at her. The blade easily cut through her shoulder, she cried out in pain. The spirit of hate quickly stepped back and threw more knives at him. He could smell how terrified she was. He wanted more of that fear.
The Reaper smiled and stepped back through another shadow. He watched her from there for a moment. Megan spun around looking for him with even more knives drawn. She started to throw the knives into the shadows. He smiled and mended them together so the knives would fly back at her. The spirit of hate growled in frustration.
"Get back out here and fight me!" Megan yelled.
Matthew shrugged and stepped out of the shadow. She growled and threw more knives at him. He wondered how many she had and where she was keeping them. He rushed forward again and slashed at her stomach. She screamed in pain as the fear started to overwhelm the Reaper. He had to step back away from her. She was terrified of him and he was starting to push that craving to the back of his mind. He didn't want to kill her, but he knew he had to.
The woman started to run. Matthew knew he couldn't let her get away. He jumped through a shadow in front of her. She ran right into him and fell back. The Reaper pounced on top of her and immediately slit her throat not wanting to put it off. He didn't want to cause her more pain than he already did.
"I'm sorry." Matthew said regretfully as he stood up. He pulled her soul forward as her body disappeared. He looked through her past. He knew she was young, but not just two years. He quickly judged her and her soul swirled away. The Reaper felt horrible for killing her. He took a deep breath and turned to walk away.
The Canadian swayed slightly and put a hand on the alley wall to steady himself. He groaned starting to feel pain. He looked down eyes widening seeing how many knives were in him. He didn't realize how many times she managed to hit him. He could only remember two.
Matthew knew he needed help. He didn't have enough energy to jump to the pole. He didn't think he could fly there either. He thought about going home, but he didn't know if they had supplies or if Jack was home. He didn't know if he could take care of his own wounds. The Reaper thought about Alfred. His house was close, he could easily jump there. He didn't want to put to much on his brother, but he didn't have a better option.
Matthew turned and stumbled through a shadow. He landed in the American's house on top of something warm and squishy. He bit his lip to keep from crying out in pain.
"Mattie?" Alfred asked worriedly from under him. He had a piece of toast in his mouth. The Canadian looked up with a nervous smile. America could see the pain in his eyes as he moved to stand. "Jeez, did you get into a fight with the spirit of porcupines or something?" He asked standing up and looking Matthew over. He could tell the Reaper was a bit out of it. He took his arm and put it around his shoulders helping him to the bathroom. "Let's get those taken care of."
"Thank you." The Reaper said leaning on his brother. Alfred gave him a bright smile. He carefully set him on the edge of the bathtub and grabbed his medical supplies. "I'm sorry for dropping in on you."
"Literally." Alfred laughed lightly. He quickly assessed his wounds. He prioritized the knives starting with the ones in his chest. "It's alright though, bro. Don't worry about it."
The American gently pulled out the first knife and Matthew bit his lip. He quickly put pressure on the wound before disinfecting and stitching it closed. It was a bit awkward doing it with his sweater still on, but he managed. He didn't want him to take off his sweater because he would have had to take out all the knives first. He didn't want his brother to bleed out. He did it too all the wounds setting each knife in the sink. He had the Canadian take off his sweater once all the knives were out to check over all of his stitches. Alfred sighed in relief seeing they were all okay. It was a miracle none had hit anything major.
"I have some pain killers if you want them?" The American suggested. He knew the Reaper was in pain.
"No thank you. I'm alright." Matthew said with a grateful smile. He tried to hold in a yawn, but it hurt. He was weak and tired from blood loss and how much magic he used.
"Okay." The American said with his eyebrows furrowed. The Reaper went to grab his sweater, but he stopped him. "You can't ware that! It's covered in blood and filled with holes. You can have one of mine."
"Oh, thank you." Matthew said. Alfred carefully helped his brother up and they walked together to his closet. He showed him his huge collection of hoodies and told him to pick one. "What ever you least favourite one is. I don't really care."
Alfred grabbed one that looked the closest to the Canadian's old one and handed it to him. "I guess you have to cut it for your wings?" He asked and Matthew nodded. The American helped him back out to the kitchen again. He let him cut and do what he needed to it for it to work. He slipped it over his head hissing slightly at the pain. "Are you sure you don't want some pain pills bro?"
"Nah, I'm okay." The Reaper said. "I've had worse."