AN: This idea was sent to me by Secret . identities (without spaces, stupid wannabe hyperlink prevention, it's her NAME). Posted with her permission. Thank you so much for this, hon!
Snow flew back and forth in a chaotic dance of laughter, shouts and squeals. The 'Whitewash War', as the news stations had come to call it, had been ongoing for almost two hours at this point and no one seemed to really want to stop. It had grown to include most, if not all, of the city, and no one seemed exempt from the fun.
Well, except for the resident ghost experts.
Jack Fenton hunkered down behind a huge mound of snow, his hands itching to move as he peeked over the top at the gigantic snowball fight. His wife crouched beside him, observing the frenzy through binoculars. At first they hadn't taken much notice of the report of a snowball fight in Amity Park's central park, but then someone had mentioned that Phantom was there and they'd been out the door almost before the report had finished.
Maddie, as dedicated as always, had barely moved from her spot at the edge of the park behind the temporary hill they'd taken refuge behind, always focused on watching the ghost boy. Jack knew he should be watching Phantom too, and readying his weapons, and maybe eating a cookie, but the protoplasm of a ghost boy hadn't actually been doing anything wrong for the last half hour, and a lot of people were joining in. It just. Looked. So. Fun.
"Madz..." Alright, so maybe he wasn't as immune as he'd like to think.
She sighed patiently. "No Jack, you can't join the snowball fight."
Jack couldn't help the whine that came out next. "But Tucker and Sam are in it, so Danny must be too! Why does he get to have all the fun?"
"We're not here for fun Jack, we're here to stop Phantom if he does anything wrong!" Maddie responded, her voice stoic and stern despite the fact that even her eyes seemed glazed over and unfocused.
"But nothing's happened so far!" Jack reasoned as he looked back to see Mr. Lancer from Danny's school pelt a group of kids in the back, then laugh maniacally and prance off before they could get revenge. He bit his lip and tried to hold himself still, to little avail. He had to join. Come on, come on, think... what's a good excuse... aha!
"It could be a scheme-" Maddie started.
"We can't shoot with so many people here!" Jack interrupted. Thank you brain! Every now and then, it came through for him. "If Phantom does something and we try to stop him with our anti-ghost weapons, everyone else would be caught in the crossfire! It's safer to stop him with the snow!"
For the first time in the last twenty minutes, Maddie turned away from the binoculars to blink blankly at him. Well, it had sounded better in his head...
A mini boulder of a snowball fell right between the two of them, splattering them with ice. Good thing they'd come prepared. Parkas and special boots and gloves, all with anti-ecto coating. All of their gear stopped ice, cold and ghosts! Well, it stopped such things from getting to what was covered... which wasn't their faces at the moment. It was quite the shock.
Jack and Maddie stared at each other for a couple of seconds, minds processing what had just happened. A giant snowball... out of nowhere?
"Oops!" They heard a voice above them and looked up to see none other Phantom floating there with ice in hand and ready to throw, as if about to pelt at an enemy, despite the fact that they could see no one in the area he was facing. Another ghost, perhaps? "Sorry Mo- Maddie, Jack!" The invisible enemy, taking advantage of the ghost boy's distraction, summoned a snow boulder out of nowhere. Jack felt his eyes widen. It looked even larger than the one that had dropped on the two ghost hunters. Then it flew straight at Phantom.
He fell out of the sky several yards away. Then, laughing, he stood up and shot back up into the air. "You're just wracking up the payback, you know!"
Maddie and Jack just stared silently for a few seconds, unsure of what to make of that.
Then, after a few more seconds, Maddie sighed and her shoulders sagged. "Well, our cover's blown, and it looks like this really is for enjoyment, so," she glanced wryly at her husband, "you can go."
"YES!" Jack whooped and without further prodding, ran into the fray.
He heard Maddie call to him from the distance, "But keep an eye out for anything suspicious! It might still be a scheme!"
Oh, he knew she'd join him soon enough.
Jack would be lying if he didn't say that the snowball fight was one of his best memories. He had the time of his life, gathering huge piles of snow in his large arms and launching them at the people on what he assumed was Phantom's side (hey, take any opportunity to oppose the ghost!). And Jack was a conqueror! Using his towering size to his advantage, he did not find it difficult to defeat most everyone that came before him! So many fell before the mighty Jack Fent- !
Something large, cold and wet hit him from behind, causing him to face-plant into the snow.
He heard a booming laugh, greater than any of his own, and before he knew it, someone had grabbed the hood of his (still orange, it's a good color!) coat. Then, to his surprise, he found himself suddenly hoisted up. He sputtered, rubbing the snow off his face.
"Oh, there, sorry about that!" gave a loud, accented (Russian?) voice. Jack blinked through the snow still left on his eyelashes and saw a bearded man in a red coat as big as, if not bigger than, himself. That definitely wasn't something he saw everyday.
"Brush yourself off!" continued the gigantic man. "Not that it will do much good in this war zone, eh? Did you have good Easter?" He said that last question with genuine curiosity and absolutely no judgment, as if he expected Jack to answer back. He must have known who he was talking to. A fan maybe?
"Yeah," Jack answered with a grin and puffed out his chest proudly. "Collected tons of eggs!" He noticed that a couple people had taken their eyes off of the fight to give him odd looks. What, couldn't a grown man join in Easter too? He ignored them, as usual, and focused instead on the other man's response.
"Yes, excellent holiday! I do prefer Christmas myself, of course," the white haired man chuckled heartily. "Would you not say so, Jack Fenton?"
Jack was about to enthusiastically declare that yes, Christmas would be the best, if only his wife would stop arguing with him and the truth, but he found himself distracted as an oversized rabbit chucked a boomerang with, like, fifty some-odd snowballs following at the red-clothed man. Quick as the wind, the man pulled two swords out from nowhere and blocked the rapid fire as best he could. It didn't stop everything, but Jack found the display impressive none the less.
"Give it up, North!" shouted the rabbit in an Australian accent, "I got this one!"
"Ha! You wish, Bunnymund!"
Then his brain kicked into analyzing mode. Oversized, talking rabbit-kangaroo mutant with an Australian accent. Jack could only come up with one conclusion.
"GHOST!" He quickly searched his coat, came up with a Fenton Ectoblaster, and drew it in just a couple of seconds. He'd have to work on getting that time faster. Determinedly, he pointed the ecto-weapon at the rabbit, who suddenly seemed to notice him for the first time. "FREEZE GHOST BUNNY!"
"Wait, wait, wait," the rabbit stilled in his rapid snow fire, eyes wide and cautious as he raised his hands in surrender. "Is the bloke talking to me? He, an adult, can see me?! See us?!"
"Of course I can see you, ghost!" declared Jack proudly. Inwardly, he cheered. It actually froze! Haha! He knew his reputation would get around someday.
"Is he for real?" it groaned and put a paw over its eyes. "Why am I surprised? For the last time, I am not a ghost!"
Jack frowned, "Of course you are!"
"Am I green? Am I glowing? Do I want to destroy the world? No!"
Jack frowned even more. He guessed that made some sense. "How do I know you're not lying?"
It (he?) looked incredulous, "H-how do you even lie about that sort of thing! You an idiot, mate?"
"So... you're a talking kangaroo?"
The rabbit/kangaroo's eye twitched. And the nose. He looked ready to fume. "I AM THE FLIPPIN' EASTER BUNNY! E. Aster Bunnymund! Why can't anyone get that?!" He continued to hop around and rant, with colorful (but no more than PG-13) language, and phrases like "pouched, poop colored hoppers" and "bloody irritating Jacks and their sons", but Jack Fenton wasn't listening anymore.
Instead, he stood there, eyes wide and limbs trembling. His ecto-blaster lay forgotten in the snow and he'd lifted one hand up to point at the enormous animal. "Easter Bunny," he finally spoke in a normal volume, extremely un-Jack like voice, and Bunnymund halted in his rant.
Then he turned to the larger man. "Think we broke him."
"You're the Easter Bunny. You brought the eggs. And if you're the Easter Bunny..." The ghost hunter slowly turned his head and brought his hand around to point at the red clad, white bearded man who had helped him up. Said man smiled at him with twinkling blue eyes.
"S...Santa Claus?" Jack did not squeak. He didn't!
The bearded man laughed, "Right you are, Ja- oogh!"
Jack had practically tackled him and had managed to almost wrap his arms completely around the other's belly. If North had been anyone else, and by anyone else that is someone of a smaller size, he would have been swept off his feet. But North happened to be himself, and was able to wrap the half-laughing, half-sobbing Jack into an even bigger hug. Then, he lifted Jack about a foot in the air.
It only solidified the other beings' claims in Jack's mind. "SANTA! I KENW you were real!" he sniffed and didn't even mind admitting that it wasn't entirely due to the cold. "They didn't believe me—no one did!—but... haha!" He sniffed again, feeling a lump form in his throat that would make talking difficult. He managed to get one more word out. "Always..."
"Ohhh, there Jack, you've grown... a lot. And call me North." North let go of the hug, and Jack—miraculously—took that as his cue to do the same. Part of him wanted to step back, as if to make sure the man he'd always dreamed of stood before him still. And then something else occurred to him that managed to dissolve the lump in his throat.
"YOU KNOW MY NAME!" he yelled in excitement.
"I know every child's name!" Santa responded, never losing that soft smile of his.
"I'm not a child!"
"Ah, but you are forever, at heart!"
"Alright, alright!" shouted Bunnymund as he stepped between them, arms out as if to hold them apart. "Crikey, my eardrums are broken," he grumbled, then raised his voice again. "Now, as gobsmacking as it is to have this man-child believe," he sent a sly smirk to North and quickly flicked an unnoticed snowball directly to his bearded face, "we've got some unfinished business here!"
Then, with a wicked smile spreading across his furry mouth, E. Aster Bunnymund darted away on all fours as North wiped the snow out of his eyes.
"Oh, you will be getting it now, Bunny!" he took a few steps forward to follow, but turned back to face the man behind him first. His face hadn't lost any of his jolliness, but when North spoke, his voice came out accented and serious.
"Never stop believing, Jack. We're all here: Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Sandman, that Frost namesake of yours me, and even the others less known. We will always be there." Jack, unable to do much else but stare, managed to nod. Santa returned it with a satisfied one of his own before he turned and bounded away. "Be nice and you get Jack plushie for Christmas!"
The orange clad man practically lit up. The elves could make that? Of course they could! He called back excitedly, "I'll leave some cookies and milk!"
Santa stopped several yards away, and...wait, did he shiver? Surely not... He turned back a few steps and waved a hand dismissively. "Nononono! Is fine! Perfectly fine! Don't leave anything for me!"
"You sure?" Jack frowned.
"Very sure!" He did sound sure... Maybe leaving those almost living cookies out that one time hadn't been such a good idea after all. Maddie made the best sweets, but they tended to somehow gain a life of their own if left for too long. They could never figure out why...
And then Santa ran away again. "Goodbye, Jack!"
"BYE BYE, SANTAAA! THANK YOUUU!" Jack hoped the big man had heard him.
While waving, he noticed a snow-splattered, blue jumpsuited Maddie running towards him. Jack's grin grew even wider as she reached him, and he danced in victory. "HA! IN YOUR FACE MADZ!" Bottom shake, moonwalk, spin and point! "SANTA Is rea-"
The words died in his throat as he noticed something.
Maddie frowned and put her hands on her hips. "Jack, you're attracting too much attention! People are staring! How can we keep an eye on the ghost boy if you make yourself a target?" she demanded. He just stared at Santa in the distance with a slack jaw. "Are you listening? What are you gaping at?"
Jack could not respond, because before his eyes, Santa Claus had passed through several people—groups of people!—as if they weren't there. The large man should have been bowling people over, but he had not stopped, just continuing to run and phase through anyone that got in his way like it was nothing, and no one, with the exception of a few kids, seemed to notice.
Horrified, Jack screamed to the heavens.
"NOOOO! SANTA'S A GHOST!"
It had almost reached Christmas Eve that very same year before Danny realized, with no small amount of amazement, that his parents hadn't had a single argument regarding their usual squabble.
Gratefully, he decided to keep the observation to himself.