Disclaimer: I do not own Rise of the Guardians and make no money off this fic. Pre-slash.
Ch 1: Snow Bunny
Bunnymund stepped into the tub carefully, letting the warm water seep into his fur as he gazed down at the unconscious creature in his arms. Green eyes roamed over the white fur of the slender pooka breathing softly against his chest. The rabbit was still mesmerized at the realization that he was not the sole survivor of the Pooka species, an ancient race that had been almost completely wiped out eons ago by the Nightmare King himself. Ears drooping at the memories of centuries long past, E. Aster swore to protect the white bunny until his dying breath. Never again would Pitch have the opportunity to harm him.
The ancient pooka felt his thoughts drifting back to the battle only hours before. The team's desperate search for Jack Frost had led them straight into Pitch's dark fortress. Rather than find their missing frost child, the Guardians had stumbled upon the white rabbit's unconscious form, curled protectively around Jack's staff, at the foot of the Nightmare King's throne.
Without even consciously making a decision, the grey pooka had charged into the room and pulled the unresponsive body into his arms, glaring at Pitch who smirked back from his shadowy throne. The battle that followed had resulted in the group returning to North's workshop, crestfallen over having been unable to locate their youngest member, yet elated at the sight of the innocent they'd rescued from the Nightmare King's cruel hands.
E. Aster jolted from his thoughts as he felt the slender bunny in his arms twitch and curl closer, burying his pink nose deep into the grey pooka's chest fur. The movement brought a smile of relief to Bunnymund's face as he knelt to sit in the tub, slowly dipping his new charge into the water to warm up.
A splash of water, followed by a flash of white-gold, had the ancient pooka squeezing his eyes shut to avoid being temporarily blinded. The weight in his lap shifted as Bunnymund felt the texture of soft fur become smooth skin under his hands. Seconds later, a familiar yell rang in his ears. Green eyes popped open to focus on the naked body in his arms. Icy blue eyes, pale skin, white hair...
'I'm confused,' Tooth admitted, hovering in the air behind the couch where Jack Frost was sitting. The boy was wrapped warmly in a huge white towel, sipping at a mug of cocoa that the elves had made him.
'It appears that Pitch cast some kind of spell on him,' North explained, stroking his beard as he watched the youngest member of their team cradle the cup close to his pale lips with one hand. The boy's other arm was wrapped around his staff tightly.
Blue eyes darted to the silent pooka even as the other adults continued to drone on about evil magic and Pitch's twisted sense of humor. Bunnymund appeared to be deep in thought, his eyebrows furrowed in concentration as he stared at the fire in the hearth. Jack felt an unexpected surge of... something directed at the rabbit, but it was an unfamiliar something that sent a strange warmth through his veins. The frost child wasn't sure he liked the new feeling, especially toward his apparent savior.
Bunnymund's thoughts returned to reality the moment the boy rose from the couch and announced he was going to spend the night in the forest. Tooth and North protested loudly, which only caused the frost child to stubbornly float out of the blanket and dart toward the door.
North's voice rang out that Jack might at least put some clothes on first, but the suggestion came too late. In his haste, the boy's arm hit a table leg, sending a small fish bowl flying into the air, only to dump its contents directly onto the boy's bare lower body.
The white-gold flash half-blinded the older Guardians, but died away quickly, leaving a sopping wet pooka groaning on the carpet.
Bunnymund found himself slipping across the room and pulling the other rabbit gently to his feet. Jack swayed against him, clearly unused to having large Pookan feet rather than his dainty human ones. White ears perked up curiously at the sight of the awed group staring directly at him.
Raising an eyebrow, E. Aster had to hold in a chuckle as he felt the shorter pooka lean back into his chest for comfort. Jack's blue eyes darted up at him, his pink nose twitching adorably... No, he did not just think Jack Frost and adorable in the same sentence.
'So cute,' Tooth gasped in amazement, hovering next to Sandy. Even North looked amused at the sight of the two rabbits nearly cuddling in the middle of the room.
'I think it would be best if you stayed close until we can find a way to reverse your transformation. A Pookan body cannot withstand extreme cold like you are normally able to. At least, not without a great deal of training,' Bunnymund commented, one arm still wrapped gently around the white rabbit's shoulders.
A stubborn look crossed over the shorter pooka's face, nearly bringing an amused smile to E. Aster's lips. The boy was certainly a handful, no matter what body he was in.
'Bunnymund is right. What if you were to turn into a rabbit out in the wilderness? There wouldn't be any hot water for you to turn back with and you might freeze to death,' Tooth chided in a motherly tone.
White ears drooped as Jack stomped his feet, pouting like a child. Blue eyes darted toward the door, and E. Aster felt the young pooka's muscles tense under his paw.
'I'll make you a deal, Jack. I'll go outside with you for one hour, and if you can last that long without needing to come back inside to warm up, then you can change back into your spirit form and do whatever you want,' Bunnymund announced, holding the white rabbit at arms' length so he could make eye contact with him.
'Then let's get going, you old kangaroo. I don't have all night to hang out with you,' Jack half walked, half hopped toward the door.
Shaking his head, the ancient pooka followed the bobbing white tail out into the frosty winter morning.
A sneeze echoed the workshop 45 minutes later, catching North's immediate attention. Sulking in the doorway was a rather depressed-looking white pooka. Pale ears twitched as the rabbit let out another sneeze, arms wrapped around his chilled body miserably.
'Come on in, Jack. Let's get you warmed up,' the old wizard announced, pulling his favorite red coat from where it hung next to his desk. Within minutes, the petite pooka was wrapped in the warm fabric and curled on the couch next to the fireplace.
'It's not fair,' the boy-turned-rabbit grumbled under his breath, refusing to meet North's eyes.
'Life generally isn't. But it could be worse. Pitch could have turned you into a fearling and forced you to be his slave for eternity,' North stated, taking the chair across from the couch.
'I guess...' Jack mumbled, burrowing his head into the coat until only his long white ears were visible.
'So how's the little nipper doing?' Bunnymund asked, plopping down next to Jack on the couch. The smirk on his face told North that the pair's rivalry was far from being settled.
'You dunked me in a snowbank!' Jack growled, uncurling himself so he could glare fiercely at the rabbit next to him.
'I thought you liked the snow,' the Easter Bunny grinned broadly, poking the other guardian with his foot.
'That doesn't mean I want to be buried in it!' the white pooka argued, smacking the Easter Bunny's foot away.
'Bunnymund, you do realize that Jack will need to be trained in his new body...' North commented, letting the words hang in the air as the pair turned to look at him.
'Absolutely not! I am far too busy to take care of him,' E. Aster protested immediately, his thoughts already drifting to the preparations for the upcoming Easter.
'There is no one else that could possible teach him what he needs to know. He's always welcome here, of course, but I'm sure he'd be much more comfortable underground with you. There's plenty of space for him to run around without the risk of freezing to death,' the wizard stated, staring Bunnymund down.
'Fine. But if he messes up my Easter preparations, then he'll be back here for good,' E. Aster finally conceded, throwing a glare at the white pooka.
Jack's protests were silenced by North, as well as the arrival of Sandy and Tooth. A quick splash of warm water from the bucket in the tooth fairy's hands had the boy back to his regular form. Then Sandy held up an outfit identical to the clothes that Jack had once worn, bringing an immediate smile to the young man's face.
'Then it's settled. Jack will stay with Bunnymund until we find a way to break the spell,' North announced proudly.
'Or until he messes something up and gets his little white butt kicked back here,' Bunnymund stated, getting to his feet.
'Oh, I'm definitely going to mess stuff up,' Jack snapped back, taking a moment to fix his clothes before following the pooka toward the door.
Silence echoed the workshop as the three Guardians became accustomed to the quiet once more.
'Are you sure this is a good idea,' Tooth finally asked, slipping closer to North.
'They'll be fine. I'm almost 100% positive that the old rabbit won't strangle Jack in his sleep...' North trailed off, stroking his beard as his thoughts drifted to his ancient library. Perhaps his mentor, Ombric, had come across a similar transformation. If so, then the reversal spell could be written in one of those books. And, since it was January now, Christmas preparations could wait a bit while he spent some time in his once-favorite place.
Note: Why does North have a pet fish? Because for some reason it amuses him. And it's convenient with any Ranma-style transformation :)
Note 2: I might continue this with another ficlet or two. We'll see. I have several other shorts in the works as well.