Thank you all for your amazing support of this story. I hope you'll also like reading the SEQUEL! Gasp! Yes, the sequel will be up as soon as possible. Once again thank you so much, love you guys 3

-Burgess- Bunnymund's p.o.v****

I knew it. I didn't want to, but I knew it. The hurt wasn't any lessened by this fact, but I had to admit it. Part of me once thought that she would never change, that she would be on Pitch's side forever and that we weren't important enough to fight for. But...that part had been quieted when we were in the Warren. She fooled me pretty bloody good with that smile, that laugh. It was all fake, it had to have been. Or else she wouldn't have gone with Pitch, she wouldn't have let Easter been destroyed.

And yet part of me still felt that not all of it could have been fake. It just seemed so real. She couldn't have faked last night, when she looked like she was about to pass out from fear, seeking my comfort, mine out of everyones. I couldn't have been fake.

But fooling myself was how we got into this situation. We had trusted her again, and look what happened: Toothina couldn't fly. Jack was gone, shamed even though it wasn't his fault, out at who-knows-where possibly in danger. North was quickly losing his strength, the sleigh ride even worse than normal, lurching and dipping when it shouldn't. But, worst of all of it...

I was one bloody foot tall. Sure, the others lose their powers, but I shrink?! Bloody hell! Next time I see her, I swear...

"Crash landing!"North interrupted my thoughts, and less than a second after his less-than-helpful warning, the sleigh crashed into a street, sending me flying backwards and smacking into the side door, carrots dancing in front of my eyes for a moment as a loud screeching sound announced our entrance.

"Jack!"Toothina exclaimed, jumping out of the sleigh weakly, North following. Yeah, just leave the bloody plush-doll to fend for himself! I grumbled, moving across the floor of the sleigh, listening as I tried to hop and reach the top of the side of the sleigh.

"Wow, it wasn't a dream!"A familiar voice exclaimed. Jamie's voice, the reason we rushed here as fast as the sleigh could go. The last child who believed, and Pitch's main and final target. More child-like voices followed, each more excited than the last, and I had to give Frostbite props for finding more kids to believe in us.

Unfortunatly, five didn't seem to be enough.

"Where's Bunny?"Jack asked, actual concern in his voice.

"Well...we all took Easter pretty hard...Bunny worst of all."North said, just as I ungracefully catapulted myself from the sleigh, rolling hard on the ground before making my way to my feet, angrily scratching my head.

"Thanks for the hand."I mused sarcastically, walking strongly forward as I could looking like a pre-schoolers pet.

I tried to ignore the looks everyone was giving me, focusing instead on the quickly-darkening sky above us. As we'd flown, we saw what most would think were black stormclouds, but we knew better than that. It was Pitch, and he was close, I could feel it. Jack took one look at all of us, and then bumped his head against his staff.

"We're officially doomed."He gave up, which made my fur bristle. I hopped up and shouted,

"Hey there, Snowflake, don't count us out that quick!"Everyone's attention turned to me as I pointed to Jack with a distubingly adorable paw, determination and immediate danger apparent, "We're Guardians, and while you might not be too keen on being one of us, it's all of our jobs to protect children, mate. We might not be at a hundred percent, but at least we're gonna try."

Jack held my stare for a second, and then the little icecube straightened up, looking down and nodding.

"I knew you were real! You weren't lying, Jack!"Jamie exclaimed, giving me wide, excited eyes, along with the rest of his little anklebiters. I took a moment to process two things: The kid could see Jack, all of them. And...

"He..made you believe in me?"I asked, shocked, as I looked up at Jack, who awkwardly held onto the staff and looked away.

"...Aww, isn't that...touching." I looked up, gritting my teeth and hopping in front of the kids as the shadows around us began to pulsate and twist, moving and transforming as they peeled themselves from the buildings. The rest of the Guardians walked up next to me, pushing the kids protectively behind us. Nightmares walked slowly from the alleys of houses, heads low and manes shaking, eyes wide and blood red as they tensed, prepared for a war.

As if the army of nightmares as far as the eye could see wasn't bad enough, there were creatures peeling from the building and sewage, shadows that were barely an outline of a human, only a torso, arms, and a head with long, sharp-looking fingers reaching out, all of them meshing together in a sea of shadows. I tried to put on a brave face, but dread sunk in my chest. We could fight as hard as we wanted, but without our full strength...Pitch's plan was going to work.

Speaking of the ugly devil, the sea parted, Pitch riding up on the back of a nightmare with a sinister look in his eyes, mouth twisted in a victorious sneer with glints of evil in his eyes.

"What a sad sight to behold,"He mused mockingly, me wanting to slap that look right off his face, "The once-mighty Guardians, reduced to this? It's almost too pitiful to look at!" Out of the corner of my eye, I saw North try to lift his swords, only to shake and immediatly drop his hands, Tooth not able to fly for more than a second or two.

This only seemed to bring Pitch a sick sense of joy, throwing his head back and laughing, leaning over towards us and asking in a demeaning, self-righteous tone,

"The almighty Guardians. Your sole purpose is to protect these children of the Earth...but who protects the Guardians, I wonder?" My stomach tightened in anger, ready to take on the whole bloody army myself. I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but before I could someone's pant leg brushed past me, and I looked up, only to have my jaw drop and eyes go wide.

"I do."Jack said in a brave tone, shoulders squared and chest out, holding onto the staff with one firm hand. Looking up at him now, I saw something that I never thought I'd see in the kid. His eyebrows were furrowed, jaw clenched, lips in a thin and determined line. His eyes were narrowed and darker than usual, chin tilted up with his hair blowing back from his face. The kid impressed me, standing in front of us, facing an army of hundreds, with a bravery and maturity that I'd never seen in him before.

Who knew, Snowflake?


"I do!"A small voice cut off Pitch, as Jamie walked past me and stood beside Jack, an identical look of determination on his face. I looked around, something inside me tightening, seeing as all of Jamie's friends followed his example and straightened up, eyes growing dark and jaws clenching, stepping up beside Jamie and Jack, like their own little army of anklebiters.

"I do."

"I do."

"I do!"

"I do!" They all called out, and I swear I've never seen a group of braver kids. Each standing there like they could take on that army by themselves, prepared to protect us.

A look of amusement and, benieth it, irritation crossed Pitch's face, his shoulders stiff as he spat like venom,

"Oh, is this-"

"I do."

I froze, a chill going up my spine as my breath caught. A familiar voice cut Pitch off, and everyone turned in unison, seeing a girl I never thought I'd see again. She walked with a power I'd never seen before, her shoulders back and cloak billowing out around her. The look on her face seemed like it was containing a rage that made the air around us cold, her hood down and revealing narrowed and angry eyes, hair falling over her shoulders and blowing back as she walked powerfully forward, passing through our group until she stood amoungst the children and Jack, everyone silent for a moment.

She was here... It wasn't fake.

Black's p.o.v****

Blood pumped in my veins, my heart beat fast and angry, muscles tensed and eyes trained forward on the face of the man that I owed all of my pain to. His own face was a mixture of confusion, hurt, and anger, eyes darting between me and the children, mouth hanging open with his eyebrows drawn close, lines of confusion and frustration on his forehead, at a loss for words until, finally, he snapped.

"Black! What...what are you doing?!"He shouted, but I stood firm, amoung the children I would protect.

"I'm doing what I was meant to, Pitch. Protecting the happiness of children. Protecting my friends."I stood straighter and spat, "I dare you to stop me."

He reeled back as if I'd just smacked him, eyes wide and furious. The shadows and nightmares were looking around, some still, as if waiting for the command to attack either of us. For everyone's sake, I hoped they were going to obey me. Even with the children and their belief, there was no way I could fight off and army of this size, I wasn't nearly strong enough. He breathed quickly and deeply, then shouted so loud that a vein popped out in his forehead,

"How DARE YOU! I gave you EVERYTHING! I PROTECTED YOU! I am your family, I am everything you had! And THIS! THIS is how you treat me?! They-"

"They are my family."I said solidly, hands in fists under my cloak. "You might have tried to blind me from that fact. You might have suceeded at one point. But now I see, Pitch. You weren't my family, because family protects each other, family doesn't use each other. Family doesn't hurt each others friends or turn their backs on the children they protect. These people are my family, and I will protect them with every ounce of life I have left."

There was a shift in the air, tension, as if things were about to snap and absolute chaos would break out, splitting everything in two and waging a war that seemed imminent as both groups stood and looked at the other without fear or weakness. Pitch was visibly shaking, eyes bearing holes in mine, veins popping up all over his head and neck, shadows streaching up around him. I'd never seen his anger reach a point like this, and for a moment I wondered how we were going to fight this...

"YOU AND THE GUARDIANS?"He shouted, "HA! I'd like to see you try! There are no children who believe in them, they have no powers! No strength! No believers!" I smiled and a calm came over me, cocking my head to the side, towards the children.

"Actually, we have five. I think that's pleanty, how about you guys?"I asked nonchalantly, and they all looked from eachother to the guardians. After a moment of silence, smiles slowly creeped onto their faces, their eyes lighting up.

"I believe."Jamie agreed, and something happened. Something happened to all of them. A soft, golden glow wrapped itself around them, and from that glow golden tendrils snaked themselves towards the guardians, wrapping around them and causing an iridescent glimmer, lighting up their bodies and eyes. North looked around for a second, and then took in a massive breath, raising the swords above his head and shouting out,


I laughed and felt a relief fill me, seeing Tooth rocket into the air with babytooth, their powers returning to them.

"C'mon c'mon c'mon..."I heard, and looked down... I paused, trying to process what I was seeing below me. After a second of awkward silence, I asked,

"..Bunnymund?" He looked up at me, slightly defensive. "...You're adorable."I said in a flat tone, and he growled.

"Fine!"I spun, seeing Pitch raising his arms, the shadows and nightmares reacting and shifting, pawing the ground and pulsating, like a breathing army of fear. I stepped back and shot tendrils of shadows around the children.

"Do not move, understand me?"I asked them, moving them up and placing them at a safe altitude on a shadow-cloud above us. With them safe, I faced Pitch, the guardians coming up next to me, all of us in a line that would never break, no matter what happened here. Because we were here to protect the children. Guardian or spirit. "C'mon, big brother."I whispered. Something in his eyes clicked, and without a word, the army broke.

"Fight!"I shouted, and the guardians rushed towards the oncoming shadows and nightmares, me turning and running, picking up Bunny in my arms and huddling him in my cloak as I retreated to gain some time to think. This was not good, the army was fully under Pitch's command.

"Oy, sheila, what the bloody hell do you think you're doing?"Bunny demanded as I stopped at an intersection where a car was parked, damage probably done by the sleigh's abrupt landing. I looked around and my nerves began to act up.

"I have to think!"I snapped, watching as a streak of ice shot right towards a rising Pitch, Jack already attacking him in the air while North hacked and Toothina and her babyteeth that I had freed before Pitch and I left, fighting as hard as they could. But at this rate we wouldn't last too long.

"Why dontcha just control them yourself?"Bunny asked, and I bit my lip, shaking my head.

"There's too many! I can't control all of this power that Pitch has. He's spread too much fear, gotten too strong."I felt my voice shaking, all of the adrenaline from before wearing off as my mind ran at a mile a minuet. I felt two paws on my chin and I looked down, Bunny looking up at me in my arms with a serious face, looking right into my eyes.

"C'mon, this is Pitch we're talkin' about here. You're stronger than him, he's just trying to mess with your head. Those kids might believe in us, but you need to believe in yourself, sheila...I know I do."He said, and I gulped, nodding and collecting myself. I looked around and gasped, throwing an arm out in front of me and slicing a nightmare with a shadow from my cloak, the being dissapearing only to have two more come from my other side, Bunny hopping from my arms to attack a shadow that had gotten too close.

"Bunny!"I screamed, as the shadow pulled him off and smashed him right through the car window. I pulled my hand back and threw it diagnally in front of me, fending off two nightmares as a third breathed down my neck, causing me to jump and spin, hand slicing right through its chest. "Bunny!"I shouted again, frantic, spinning around as another shadow came from my left, the shadow that had thrown Bunny in the window pulling its hand out...

"You called, anklebiter?" I almost cried out in relief as a 6,1 bunny with nerves of steel and a master of Tai Chi was pullled from the car, slamming a foot into the face of the shadow, the being dissipating as Bunny reached back and spun out two boomerangs, throwing them on either side of him, me ducking as they sliced through five shadows and a nightmare before coming back and landing right in his hands.

"About damn time!"I shouted, pulling out a ball of shadow and tossing it into the oncoming line of nightmares, the horses reeling up on their hind legs as the shadowball exploded and enveloped them, destroying them only to reveal a sight I'd rather not see. Jack was shooting at Pitch, but a massive explosion of darkness shot out, crashing into him and sending him flying far, over the houses as ice tried to cusion him, sending him out of my sight.

"Bunny, Jack!"I shouted, and he looked up to see Jack dissapear, busy fighting off the seemingly endless amount of shadows and nightmares appearing from the alleys. When one was down, two more appeared, and the others didn't look like they were doing any better.

"You have to get to Pitch."Bunny said, and I faced him, about to protest, when he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards him, face serious. "Don't worry about me, I'll fight these dingos all day long if I have to! You're the only of us who stands a chance against Pitch, and if you can take him down then you can control these things without his interference."

I wanted to believe him, wanted to do it, but...fighting Pitch, and then an army of shadows larger than anything I'de even ever seen...

"Bunny, I don't...I can't..."I muttered, and he threw a boomerang over my head and, without my consent, picked me up and threw me over his shoulder, jumping onto the hood of the car and setting me down.

"Damnit Black, I believe in you!"He shouted in my face, and I looked into his eyes, the eyes that I might not get to see again if we failed. The friend I would lose. If I didn't do something. So what the hell was I doing waiting on the roof of a car while my friends were fighting for their lives? It was time to put on the big girl pants.

"White Crane into Parting the Wind."I said seriously. I chose those moves for two reasons: It was the fastest way to get me into the air while possibly taking out a few shadows and giving Bunny a headstart. That and they were the only two moves he was able to teach me. He got a smile on, one that made his eyes go bright, and then knelt, cupping his hands. I jumped onto them and crouched, pulling a hand in front of me as Bunny quickly hopped up into the air, my hands fanning out in front of me as I jumped, throwing down and arc of shadows and taking down the perimeter of nightmares around Bunny.

I looked up, pulling myself onto a shadow cloud and rocketing myself through the air. My eyes focused on Pitch, his silouhette facing to where he had thrown Jack, unaware of my immediate arrival. A few days ago, I wouldn't have lifted a finger against Pitch. Now, I was about to do a hell of a lot more than that. I pulled a hand back behind me, feeling a massive ball of shadows swirrling around it, blood pumping through me so white-hot that it almost burned.

"Hey Big Brother!"I shouted, and he turned to face me just as my fist connected with the side of his face, a loud crack ringing througout the sky as he was thrown back. I followed him, the clouds following us as I began my onslaught, images and anger flashing through me. "This is for lying to me!"I screamed, hair flailing around me as I slammed my arm sideways into Pitch, sending him into the side of a building.

"That was for Sandy!"I shouted, images of the happy little man in my mind, tears in my eyes as I slammed into Pitch, hands around his throat, panting as he struggled, hands gripping my wrists tight, a pleading and helpless face on. I got closer to him and glared, seething through my teeth.

"This is for the children-"

"Stop!"He screamed pitifully, panting and wheezing. I tightened my grip and growled,

"Why should I?"

"I-I'm sorry!"He whispered, eyes small and teary, "I...I'm sorry that I have to do this."His voice changed into a deep, malevolent tone, and before I could pull away shadows snaked up my arms and coiled around me, squeezing and wrapping up my arms and down my body, encasing me like snakes. I struggled, writhing as he laughed and pushed back, moving us into the center of the sky, hands so tight on my wrists my bones felt like they were cracking.

"Why? Why are you doing this to me?"He shouted, shaking me as the shadows trapped me, right above where my friends were fighting for their lives. "I was your brother!"He shouted, my eyes meeting his.

"You're right."I said, looking at him like I never had before. Because before, I'd been blind. "You were my brother, until you decided to manipulate me into turning my back on the children."

"I didn't manipulate you!"He defended, voice wavering and defensive, "I tried to make the world a place where people believed in us! Where they saw us!" I shook my head solomnly at him and said,

"They see me, Pitch." In a moment, a small moment, his face broke. His eyes were crushed, his grimance turned into a pained frown, and in a small moment, I saw that he knew. This was him. Not me.

After that moment ended, his face became hostile, teeth clenched and shadows wrapping even tighter around me, crushing me and making my breath escape in one giant gasp.

"Fine! Maybe after you watch your friends die you'll rethink!"He shouted, and pulled his hand back, looking down at the fight below. I struggled, screaming and trying to escape, to save my friends.

What Pitch was going to do I would never know. Before he could even muster up a shadow, something long, golden, and glowing shot out and wrapped around Pitch, throwing him from me, as well as the shadows around me that quickly became de-tatched. I fell, body sore and bruised as I tried to muster up a black cloud, only to fall on something much...sandier.

I looked up from where I had landed, and a small, golden hand reached down to me. My eyes went wide and my breath caught in a loud gasp, seeing a man I never thought I'd ever see again. Disregarding the hand, I flung my arms around Sandy's neck, squeezing tightly and crying out,

"Sandy!" He hugged me back, and I whispered, "I'm so sorry...I didn't know...I couldn't..." He pushed me back softly and winked a little golden eye at me, a heart appearing above his head. I let out a sigh, smiling at the little man that I'd never been happier to see in my life.

"Impossible!"Pitch thundered, and I stood, looking up at him as he panted, crouching on his cloud with tufts of hair hanging in front of his face. "You are dead! I killed you!"He shouted in disbelief and rage, but Sandy shook a finger at him, a circle with a line through it appearing above his head. Before Pitch could retort, Sandy shot out a rope of sleep-sand, wrapping around Pitch and slowly beginning to spin, swinging him high in the air in wide circles.

It looked like a merry-go-round from hell, Pitch's screams heightening with every spin.

"Sandy, if you can get rid of him, then I can try to control the chaos below."I said, and he nodded to me, a determined smile on his face. He swung his arm three more times like a cowboy, and then, at the height of the momentum, released the rope. Pitch screamed, flinging away from us, the sand wrapping around him like a blanket and arching through the sky, quickly becoming a speck on the horizon.

I would have collapsed in happiness at this point, but I had a job to do. Slowly, I walked to the edge of the cloud, Sandy lowering us a bit as I spread my arms, cloak falling open just a bit. I closed my eyes, the sounds around me dulling and dissapearing until all I could hear was the steady thump of blood in my ears. I felt power surge through my arms, concentrating on it, pulling it into me, my breath slowly, gradually pulling itself into my lungs until my chest was about to burst. Prickling went all over my arms and stomach, my jaw clenching until Toothina would have passed out from the pressure on my teeth, the rhythm of blood in my ears quickening to a dangerous level. I breathed in one last, massive breath, a power building inside my chest as I soon realized that the sound had stopped beyond me.

And I screamed.

"STOOOP!" When I opened my eyes, the cloud was on the ground, and all of the nightmares and shadows were facing me, dazed as if in a trance. I panted, body shaking from the release of energy it took to create this stupor. A lock of hair fell in my eyes, but I couldn't care less. I just panted for a moment, glaring at them all, blood pressure falling back to a safe speed.

I flung my right arm out and pointed to the direction of the cave.

"CAVE! NOW!"I shouted like an irate mother, and immediatly the nightmares whinnyed, then turned and stomped throught buildings, passing through like ghosts as the shadows slinked behind them, a rush of kids caught with their hands in the cookie jar and rushing to their rooms for groundings. Once they were all gone, my throat sore and body tired, I heard massive cheers from an ecclectic group.

Footsteps ran towards me, but I was so exauhsted that the second a familiar, furry presence got near me, I plopped right down on the cloud.


"Give me a second, would ya?"I mused, muscles shaking as I looked up at their smiling faces, my cloud dropping down and the children running up to me.

"Where's Jack?"Jamie asked, concerned. Damn, I'd almost forgot about the kid in all that was going on. I looked up at Sandy, but he seemed to already understand, and nodded. Everyone piled onto the cloud, Bunnymund reaching down and pulling me to my feet, supporting me with his arm snaked around my waist, mine around his as everyone cheered, soaring through the air.

"Cool!"One of the kids shouted, looking down.

"Black, we owe you thanks. Without you this all be impossible."North said kindly, a soft hand on my shoulder. I thought that was it, and smiled, only to immediatly be crushed in a bone-softening hug, North crying loudly as he bellowed, "I vas so worried! My little girl vas so strong and brave!"

"North!"Bunny shouted, "Yer crushin' her, ya old date!"North immediatly stopped and set me down, right as the cloud touched the surface of a frozen lake, a layer of snow over the top, the cloud dissapearing and leaving me to walk clumsily forward.

Jack was just shaking off what must have been unconciousness, his hair ruffled and a small cut on his lip. Once he stood, I walked over to him, his smile immediatly fading as I gave him a hard punch on the arm. He stumbled back and shouted,

"Hey! What was that for?!"

"For taking a little siesta while we saved the world!"I teased, and he wanted to retort, but instead gave a smile and shrugged. I shook my head and was about to sing his praises, when something cold and soft smacked me right in the side of the face.

I gasped and looked over, whiping the snow from my neck, before realizing the culprit. I glared and slowly, slowly turned my face to Jack. Everything around us quieted, my emotionless face starring into Jack's as he got a slow, nervoise laugh.

"Not yer best idea, Snowflake."Bunny muttered, as I pulled a ball of shadow into my hand inside my cloak, unseen to Jack. He laughed nervoisly again and held his hands in front of him, saying shakily,

"H-hey now, it's just a j-joke-" And then I nailed the punk in the face with a snowball. He shook himself and laughed, eyes glittering as he pulled snow from beneath him, me ducking as the snow soared above my head. I spun when I heard the thump, seeing Bunny covered in white snow and shaking with anger.

"SNOWFLAKE!"Bunny shouted, and threw his own snowball, only to have it smack me in the head instead. I spun to him and ran, skidding to a stop only when the kids decided to join in and threw snowballs at North, who looked around in surprise and glee. In a matter of seconds, everyone was in on it, even Toothina and Sandy. I laughed, picking up a cold mound of snow and skidding back to gain space from Jamie, about to throw it...

"Hey!"I shouted, a hand throwing me around. I spun and gasped, the snowball dropping from my hand as he stood there, panting heavily, cuts on his face, hunched over and glaring daggers at me.

"Black!"North and Toothina shouted, but everyone remained back, me straigthening up in front of him. I looked right into his eyes, narrowing my own, and thinking about how all I ever wanted was for this face to smile. But things had changed. Changed drastically.

"..I'm not afraid of the dark anymore."I said in a low tone, Pitch scoffing and smiling. I did not like this smile. I didn't think I ever would again.

"Then why are they here?"He asked, and I turned, seeing the group narrowing in on each other as, from out of the trees, nightmares slowly stalked. They shook their manes, eyes narrowed at us...and yet, I truley wasn't afraid.

"They aren't my fears. Guy?"I asked calmly. Slowly, they all shook their heads, and I turned to see Pitch's eyes grow wide, stumbling a step backwards. He shook his head, a hand up to protect himself as a massive galloping sounded behind me. They were advancing, and would soon entrap him in a world of fears.

I threw my arms out on my sides, the galloping stopping so suddenly that my cloak blew forward a bit, silence following. I stopped the nightmares. Not for Pitch, but for me. This was going to be the last chance I had to tell him...

"Pitch."I said seriously, a sadness creeping inside me as he gave me a protected, curious look. I took a deep breath, and said, "You've caused me so much pain. You took my friends, the children, and my purpose away from me for your own personal gain. You blinded me. You lied to me. All of the fear and pain you spread falls on my shoulders and I will never live that down, the things I have done. The things you have done. I will never forgive you...

"And yet...despite all of that, big brother...I will miss you."I finished in a whisper. And then dropped my arms. Pitch screamed and tried to run away, but the black blurs that rushed past me quickly wrapped around him like leeches, twisting around him. His fears that would follow him to our cave and keep him there.

Once he was gone, past the trees, there was a cheering behind me. Despite what just happened, I relaxed and smiled. It was over. I turned and walked to the group, slapping a hand on Jack's shoulder and saying,

"I think you want to be a Guardian now." He gave me a smile and a laugh, and as the music played and North began to read out of a book he pulled from his coat, I walked.

This was no place for me to be. Guardians were guardians, and they would be a family and work together. Not only was I not a guardian, I had done enough horrible things to be perminantly on the 'Naughty List'. I walked, planning my seclusion for awhile, hiding out until I sorted a few things out.

"Oy, sheila, where ya think you're goin'?"An Australian accent shouted, and I stopped, calling over my shoulder,

"I'm heading out. Not a Guardian, remember?"

"I think that Man in Moon wouldn't protest a...Guardian Trainee."North said sneakily, and my eyes went wide. I spun around, only to come face-to-chest with Bunny, who was giving me a sly smile and holding something in his hands. He reached down, taking my hands in his and placing the smooth object in them.

At first I thought it was an Easter Egg, but when I looked down, I saw a glowing, yellow nightlight.

"New batteries, mate. You'll need 'em. If you're gonna train in the Warren, I can't have ya wakin' me up in the middle of the bloody night, even if you aren't scared of the dark anymore. An you'll need to pay up that debt you owe me on me boomerangs, and-"

"Shut up, Kangaroo."I interrupted, and threw my arms around his neck, hugging him tight to me. After a moment, he hugged me back, tight and warm.

Until a snowball landed right on my neck.

"THAT'S IT FROSTBITE! YOU'RE ASS IS MINE!"I shouted, spinning around and racing for the little winter sprite, skidding along the ice, the kids and North beginning a snowball fight again, Bunny helping me tackle Jack. Toothina and the babyteeth all giggled and cheered for Jack as he and Bunny got into a snowball fight, Sandy and I sitting on the ice and shaking our head. I laughed and threw my hair from my face, watching our ecclectic group.

This is what I protected. These children. These friends.

This happiness.


I would like to be the world's most repetitive author and say thank you all and I love you so much. There will be a sequel and I would love it if you gave it a chance. Trust me, it's gonna have...well...mistletoe. And Black. And Bunny. Under a mistletoe. Hint hint. Look forward to it, I love you all 3