It's been a while hasn't it?

I hope things are well for you all. I have a ton of things to worry about IRL, mostly work, writer's block, and just recently the Marine Corp Ball. But with NaNoWriMo, I think I can make up some things for those who are looking forward to updates. With that said, please have a happy Veterans Day!

Flicker Chapter 22: Hop, Skip, and Jump to Conclusions

Last time from Flicker:

"…What the…?!"

Pitch glared up at him, despite being in a chokehold.

"Go ahead and rip my throat out," He managed to speak out, hissing in air. "And see what happens!"

Now…

Bunny was confused. What in the name of MiM was Pitch doing here in his Warren!?

The last time he had seen him was when the Nightmares turned against him and dragged their former master underneath that abandoned rickety bed over the hole, never to be seen again. Although, he did have vague recollection on seeing him in the Workshop…and him being close to Jack…and why are his digits tightening around his thro-OH…

"Bunny!" His ears picked up at the familiar husky Russian voice and turned around. He was surprised to see North, Sandy, and Tooth here as well. And…is that pony supposed to be a Nightmare?

Wait, can Nightmares have foals? And why does it look like it wanted to kill him?

"ANYTIME NOW…" Pitch gritted out, grabbing Bunny's wrist.

Bunny blinked as he looked back at the Boogieman and instantly remembered that he still had him in his grip. He reluctantly released him before standing up to face his Guardians. All the while ignoring the glare that Pitch shot at him as he pulled himself up.

"Thank you VERY little for the intervention." Pitch grumbled while dusting off his robes. "You lot are truly worthy of your reputation."

"It was enjoyable while it lasted." Tooth muttered.

Sandy gave her a disapproving glare as he placed his fists on his hips.

"What?" She questioned.

Bunny watched between them before having enough of being on the sidelines for a brief moment and stepped forward.

"What the bloody fuck are you lot doin' in my home?! Especially THIS ink stain!?"

"Believe me, we're not happy about this as you are, Bunny," Tooth admitted begrudingly. "But with certain circumstances, we have to make a truce."

"I'm standing right here…" Pitch reminded them, crossing his thin arms over his lean chest.

"Good!" Tooth practically growled out, her wings were picking up speed a bit which caused her to make her fly a bit higher to give herself height.

The miniature Nightmare let out a snort as she trotted up next her master, but not before shooting Bunny a deadly glare. Which is kind of ironic considering her petite size. That is when he instantly recognized it as Onyx and all he could do was to stare at her in disbelief.

How did she…? Then he shook his head when Bunny realized something important.

The Guardians (and Pitch) are here.

In his Warren.

…And Jack was recovering from their last romp.

Now that he thought about it, there was Jack's staff in Tooth's hands.

…Bollocks, he had to get them outta here somehow before they find him.

"Anyway…" North spoke up, not wanting to escalate to a fight. "We're here so that we could…help you and Jack."

In other words, stop Bunny from taking Jack, in the most biblical sense.

Unfortunately for them- as well for Bunny - they're too late. And he had to think of some sort of excuse on how to get them to leave before finding a safe place for Jack to recuperate. And he had to do it fast.

"Help me and Jack?" Bunny asked, deciding that playing dumb would be his best bet.

"Bunny…did you remember what happened?" Tooth questioned, slowly fluttering forward a bit. Sandy nodded as he formed sand images of Flicker's silhouette, the flower, and a question mark over his head.

"Anything at all?" North offered in a rather careful tone.

Pitch said nothing, thankfully. Though, Bunny never liked the way his eyes can pierce through the inky darkness like a spear. Especially when it was directed at him. It was almost as if he could peer into his very soul. Less said about the little pony, the better.

"None at all, actually." He fibbed, hopefully didn't sound as forced as his ears have picked up. "Practically a blur. Did something happen? Not too bad, I hope?"

Who was he kidding? Of course something bad happened! He made it happened the moment that he ate that flower!

"Not…TOO bad…" North began. Bunny was about to release a sigh of relief until the latter followed it up. "But not yet worse."

Dear sweet MiM above, how was he going to get out of this one?!

"What did I do?" He knew what he had done. He knew what he did. But why does his mouth still gained a life of its own and sprout out the things that he might deeply regret more than necessary.

"Well, you kinda grabbed Jack and started to lick him…" Tooth began, in a rather bashful tone.

"…Oh…" was all Bunny could say, even though he could remember bits and pieces of it.

"And then…um…" North then stopped as he turned to Tooth for help, but even she seemed to be bashful about it. However the only clue that Sandy could provide were simply "xoxo" formed over his head. Pitch, on the other hand, was still keeping his condescending silence but seemed oddly interested.

"R-really? That actually happened?" YES.

"Da…" North answered hesitantly. "We came over to make sure that nothing happened."

"No, no, nothing happened!"

Ok, that response sounded a bit too quick on the timing right there. His only hope was that none of them notice and pick up on it.

"Really, now?" Pitch finally spoke up, raising a nonexistent eyebrow. "Because you seemed to be skilled at dancing around the question despite having exceptionally large feet."

Bunny could feel one of his eyes twitch and almost gave into the urge of actually thinking that mauling Pitch into a bloody pulp sounds like a good idea. Tempting even, however he had a strong enough will to hold that urge back. Right now, he had to keep them from finding Jack in a compromising position. And for him to have the chance to see his future children. Swallowing down his pride, both figuratively and literally, Bunny steeled himself as he tried to think of something.

"I'm sure of it…PITCH." He managed to reply through gritted teeth. Although his stomping of his foot was stronger than normal, enough to make a sound against the ground. "Nothing. Happened."

"Somehow I don't feel convinced." Pitch remarked sarcastically, rolling his eyes.

The urge…to maim Pitch…rising…

"For once I agree with you, Pitch." North spoke up, which made Bunny do a double take. Did he hear that correctly? Did Nicholas St. North, the Santa Claus and Guardian of Wonder, JUST agree with Pitch Black?!

"I feel that something is wrong. My belly never failed me!"

"I long accepted as your way of saying "trusting your gut"." Then Pitch paused as he thought for a moment. "That is what humans were describing their instincts nowadays. But regardless of my past skepticism of your over-reliance upon your stomach, I have to believe in your…belly."

Oh this day was going so wrong so fast…

Why can't Bunny dig himself to the very center of the earth and throw himself into the magma core?

"Aster…" Tooth spoke up, fluttering towards him a bit, her purple eyes were filled with a pleading hope. "Please, tell us the truth. We can't help you if you don't let us."

Bunny let out a groan as he pinched the bridge of his nose. Of course, she would use his real name if the situation is serious. Not to mention enough to guilt trip him into confessing. Excluding out Pitch, he didn't like lying to his friends. Even like this. However, the situation was more complicated than either of them have anticipated.

Not to mention how awkward and horrifying it would be if they actually find out.

While Bunny was trying to think of another excuse, he didn't notice the damned pony's ears perking up as it trotted to one direction. The small equine creature sniffed the air before looking back, tapping her hoof to the ground and let out a neigh to her master. This got Pitch's attention as he looked over to her.

"What is it, girl?" He asked in a curious tone.

This also caught the Guardians' attention as Onyx pointed at the certain direction with her head.

The direction that would lead to where Jack was.

If Bunny have a humanoid form, he would be paler than a ghost. Or rather paler than Jack, but that was not the point. He had to find some way to deter them away from that direction…and get rid of that little pony…

Pitch let out a hum as he walked up next to Onyx.

"I take it that you might have find something interesting…" Oh Bunny didn't like the way he was speaking. Does he know what she was saying? Does he speak horse?! Wait, that would be ridiculous, even for him. Enough about that, he had to do something!

"Eh, she might have smelled some flowers or somethin'!"

Ok, that is good. They'll believe it, right?

…Right?

"I'm sure that she would pick up something more stronger than your colorful weeds, Bunnymund." Pitch deadpanned, waving it off. "Besides, her nose would rival a bloodhound. Never underestimate the nose of a nightmare."

And you shouldn't insult my flowers! But Bunny held himself back.

Besides, he's fast.

But so is Tooth when she is at her serious mode. North is still nimble, despite his true age. Sandy, well, he can fly too.

Though Pitch and his Nightmare…they can use the shadows and be at their destination in a blink of an eye.

THAT is what he was worried the most.

Before he could even do anything, the small Nightmare trotted over to the patch of shadows before melting down into it. That seemed to alarm the Guardians, since they might have lost their only lead to Jack. Pitch, on the other hand, wasn't worried.

"Oh do calm yourselves," He spoke smoothly. "I know where she is. You can say that we have a…connection."

Of course. What was he thinking?

She is HIS creation.

Bunny had no other choice but to go along with his fellow Guardians to follow their former enemy turned possible ally. His only hope that Jack would finally recover and get himself dressed. When that happened, they would explain to the Guardians (and Pitch) the best they could and maybe get out of this with his jewels attached.

That sounded like a plan.

What could go wrong?

"Are those…Jack's clothes?"

…Oh shit.

Jack let out a groan as he felt around the ground beneath him.

He noted that the ground was warm and soft, strangely like grass and fur, not the cold and powdery snow. Jack blinked himself awake and found himself in an unfamiliar surrounding. It took him a while to realize that he was within Bunny's Burrow, not out in the open of the Warren. He tried to sit up but winced at the aching muscles and joints.

Jack looked around and saw that he was lying on top of what seemed like a nest, interlaced with grass and what seemed like fur, probably from Bunny's. Somehow made it soft and warm, which kind of explains it. He looked around and saw that it seemed roomier than it looked from the outside. Completely reminding him of that one British show about a strange man with a blue box that Jamie showed him one time.

Jamie…

It has been a while since he gently let him down.

Maybe when this Flicker fiasco was over, he could visit him.

Watch films that he deemed dumb but quite entertaining regardless, maybe announce that he and Bunny are more or less together when the time is right. Who knows? Perhaps he can help Jamie find his own true love.

Yeah…that sounded like a plan.

Then he blinked when he heard whistling outside.

That could only mean one thing…

Looking around, Jack then noticed that there were some blankets nearby. He gingerly stood up, momentarily noticed that the den was roomier than he thought before making his way to the sheets. They were soft to the touch, probably cotton, and a bit thin. However, he doesn't care. He had seen the old pictures of the Guardians back in the old days and was amazed at the fact that Bunny used to wear clothes compared to this day.

Jack picked up one of the sheets and wrapped it around himself like a makeshift robe before navigating out of the Burrow. He managed to make his way to the entrance, squinting his eyes a bit from the brightness of the sunlight. It took him a while for his eyes to adjust as soon as he heard the familiar whistling in his ear, feeling his hair swayed from the breeze.

"Wind, what's wrong?" He asked, feeling concerned.

There were different tones of whistling within the air. To normal ears, both human and otherwordly, it was nothing. But with Jack being a winter spirit, he understood it as clear as the ice that he created. That was what kept him sane after all these centuries, among other beings. Sure there are seasonal spirits that were older than him (and possibly older than the Guardians) but contrary to his belief on the first time of running into them, they're not as antagonistic nor callous as he thought. While they cannot comprehend the need to be believed in-most get by assimilating along the time- they do sympathize with Jack's plight and tried their best to ease his loneliness. But like everyone else, they have the duty of balance to uphold.

But Wind, it stayed with him.

And right now, it was telling him something was really wrong.

From what he was hearing, it wasn't good.

"Take me to them." was all Jack could say.

He went into one direction thanks to his eldest friend's guidance, since he cannot fly with only a blanket as a means of modesty.

He just hoped that he wasn't too late.

"Easy, easy, I can explain!"

Bunny backed himself against the tree and raised practically on the tips of his toes just to get his jugular away from the tip of Tooth's shamshir. He knew that her wings were sharp but her sword skills were better and fiercer than North's. Not to mention how vicious she would be if any of her tooth fairies- as well as Jack for inclusion- were harmed in some way.

And honestly, he didn't like the odds of his favor.

"Start. Talking." Tooth gritted out each word, pushing her blade forward.

Bunny felt his ears go limp as he repressed a whimper. He had to choose his words carefully and hopefully he would live long enough to keep the precious jewels.

"Well, you see…um…"

Damn you, Brain! Why do you choose now to fail me?!

As he racked his brains for any words to form something that at least resemble a sentence, Pitch and Onyx watched on the sidelines while North and Sandy stood behind Tooth. Both of them looked ready to try to restrain Tooth…all the while debating on whether or not one of them should take her place and get answers out of Bunny.

"This is the most entertaining thing that I have ever seen." Pitch mused.

Sandy looked up to Pitch and made a slicing motion across his throat with his hand, a universal sign of shut your mouth.

"It's kind of a funny story…" Bunny began before backing further against the trunk when he had to cross his eyes just to keep focus on the tip of the blade. Ok, now that he thought about it, that was a bad way to start an explanation.

"What I mean is that, you see…"

Just as he was about to speak, Bunny was somehow saved by an intervention when his ears picked up some rustling in the bushes, as well as the familiar scent wafting to his nostrils.

…Oh, you have got to be kidding.

"BUNNY!"

Everyone's attention all turned to the source of the familiar voice as soon as Jack rushed out of the bushes.

Dressed in a thin blanket.

If Bunny were human, he would have been stark white as silence fell uncomfortably around them.

The Guardians stared at Jack.

Jack stared back at them.

Pitch simply glanced from side to side.

The youngest guardian fidget a bit, now feeling self-conscious at the fact that he practically went out in his birthday suit with only a blanket as a means of modesty. He could see his clothing and staff by Sandy's feet as well as Tooth holding up a sword against Bunny's nose. After a moment of silence, he finally found the words to speak.

"…It's…not what you think."