Author's notes- Hello all my lovelies! SUMMER VACATION IS FINALLY HERE! I'm seriously so looking forward to this summer! It will also give me more time to write! Now, I didn't really work that much on this in the beginning. One of best friends just moved away to California because his dad's in the Coast Guard. And considering the fact that its all the way across the country, I'm probably not going to see him for two years. TWO YEARS! He said he wanted to come back to where I'm living for college after we're done with high school, but that's a long time! It's already been a month and I miss him terribly :'(. All I hope is that he's doing good and he's happy.

But enough about me, NEW CHAPTER UPDATE HOORAY!

Chapter Thirteen:

One Day at a Time

The nightmares were getting worse. There wasn't one night when Jack either woke up crying or screamed in her sleep until her voice was raw. Each night they were different. Some nights it was just Insid beating her until she lay on the floor broken and seconds from death. Other nights she would be chained up in a cell and not be given any food or water until she died from starvation. There was one nightmare that wasn't as frequent, but it was real and terrifying just the same. Insid would chain her in a dark room and only come in to rape her as punishment for something she didn't do. Luckily, Bunny had saved her before the blonde could attempt that, but her fears of it eventually happening kept getting worse.

North seemed to have supersonic hearing because every time she screamed or cried, he would rush in a second later. He would hold her like she was a child until she would calm down and then watch over her for the rest of the night. Both of them lost hours of sleep over this, but the toymaker refused to leave her side.

But Insid wasn't just haunting her dreams. Everywhere she went he seemed to follow her. She could feel his eyes watching her from the darkness and sometimes she would swear up and down that he would stand in the corner of her bedroom watching her sleep. Jack would keep her eyes closed, but that was when he would talk to her. He would tell her that he was coming to get her. That she would become his bride even if he had to kill millions of innocent lives to get ahold of her. It got so bad that Jack would scream and throw things at the corner yelling at him to leave her alone. It was the night North ran in and found her crying to the near point of hysteria while her wall was covered with blasts of frost along with books and a broken lamp laying in the corner.

"There ya go, darlin'," Bunny smiled putting the finishing touches on the last egglet. Easter was only a few months away and surprisingly, he was way ahead of schedule. He only had about 100 eggs to go. Even when he would work through sleepless nights to finish them by the deadline, he had never succeeded in finishing almost all of them almost a few months before.

Some egglets that were in a small group squeaked and scattered as Frostbite, the egg that the pooka had made for Jack last Easter, scrambled up to Bunny. The pooka's relaxed smile turned down into a serious expression. Ever since he had rescued Jack from Insid's lair, North had assigned this tiny egg to act as a messenger when the toy maker needed to get ahold of Bunny if something was wrong with the winter spirit.

"What is it, mate?"

Frostbite stood still as words written in golden cursive slowly formed on his detailed shell. Three words were all that took to make the pooka's heart stop.

She needs you.

Without another word, Bunny scooped up the tiny egg and leapt down into his tunnel to the North Pole. He arrived in North's living room a few seconds later surprising the three other guardians already there.

"Where is she?!" the pooka demanded. His paws itched to pull out his boomerangs, but he forced them to stay still by his sides.

"Calm down, Bunny. She's just-"

"Did that blonde bastard come again!? I swear to God-"

"Bunny!" North raised his voice causing the pooka's ears to flatten against his head. The toymaker smoothed his long white hair back with his hand and sighed. Even though he was immortal, North looked older and slightly frailer. This whole ordeal was obviously taking a toll on him.

Bunny was brought out of his thoughts as Tooth placed her small hand on his shoulder. Clinging to the fairy's other hand was Jack.

But this wasn't his Jack.

Dark shadows had formed under her sapphire eyes due to lack of sleep while her snow-white skin was paler than usual. Her hair had gotten longer but it was unkept and messy. Her eyes were bloodshot and they kept darting around the room like something was going to spring out and attack them any minute. Her hands refused to remain still for more than an instant and vibrated sparatically in place. The confident and happy-go-lucky Jack had been reduced down to nothing but a scared child.

Bunny almost felt her pain as he gazed upon her damaged state of being. He flinched slightly and moved back a little. He tried hard to close his mouth, but his jaw muscles held firm and solid like stone as a chilled breath flowed out his lips. His focused mind had fallen as under to this degree of unjust tyranny that beseeched Jack. For one of the few times in his life, Bunny was paralyzed with fear.

"Snowflake?...Jack?" he said with a quiet tone and a restrained choke. She continued her erratic and subtle movements but made no focus toward him. Bunny looked over to see North turning away and covering his eyes with his hand. The ties he had with Jack were not bound by blood, but by a significant amount of love and compassion that could only grow between two people such as them. And now that bond that had managed to quench a lonely desire of the heart now functioned as a tight vice around it.

Bunny summoned up what sparse courage lay within him and began to move closer to her. "Jack...I'm...I'm your friend...I'm here to help ya." He said as he inched forward, his voice now lifted of fewer restrictions of the weaker will. Jack's eyes now focused on him, and began to scan him like an oncoming predator. Her hands began to still as she remembered him holding her tightly in his warm arms. As her posture began to straighten and the quaking ripples of her mind started to smooth and become calm Tooth released her hand and it gently fell to her side. She began to reach her hand out, and although with a certain degree of caution, it was like seeing the dead rise. Bunny slowly inched toward her and outstretched his paw.

As the two moved closer, Jack remembered more and more of her rescue. Bunny was about to connect when she remembered fully what she was being saved from.

"I only hit you because I love you."

Jack's eyes grew large and she screamed loudly. Bunny flinched back as she fell to her knees sobbing. Tooth rushed to her side to attempt to comfort her, but it was to no avail. North rushed over as well, not being able to stand back anymore and held her tightly. Bunny stood silent and hung his head in shame. "Great Aster, you made her worse than before," he thought to himself with self-imposed malice. His ears pricked suddenly as he picked up the winter spirit's whispered tones.

"Please... just... just make him go away. He's over in the c-corner laughing... I j-just want him t-to go away..."

The pooka turned his head over to the wall where Jack's eyes kept darting. There was nobody there. But Bunny had a good idea who He was.

"I don't know if zat's a good idea, Bunny."

"Cmon, North. It's about time she got 'outta this place."

"She's still not well. She's afraid that Insid's going to find her."

"I swear I'll protect her. She needs to learn to trust again," the determined look in the pooka's eyes seemed to finally persuade the toy maker. He nodded and led Bunny into the factory. They found Jack with Phil over at his worktable. The winter spirit watched the yeti building toys and contraptions with huge eyes filled with amazement. When North called her she shuffled over her held his hand.

"Hey there Snowflake," Bunny greeted her with a smile.

"Hi..." she answered. She was talking more which was good. The pooka counted that as a small victory.

North kneeled down on one knee so that he was eye level with Jack. "Jack, how would you feel about staying with Bunny for a while?"

When the winter spirit's eyes widened slightly, the pooka dreaded that fear had once again clouded her thoughts.

"Stay... with him?" when North's nod confirmed her question, a joyful smile slowly spread across her face. "You mean... I would get to sleep in the Warren? And color eggs and play with the egglets and Frostbite and eat a ton of chocolate?" She turned to look at her friend. Bunny's heart skipped a beat when he saw the joy in her sapphire eyes and the happiness in her smile. The smile he had missed for so long.

"Well, I'm not sure about the chocolate, but ya, Sheila. How'd ya like to stay at my place for a little while? Give you a little change of scenery."

Bunny nearly had the wind knocked out of him as Jack glomped him around his torso and hugging him tightly.

"I would love to! I haven't been to the Warren since last year! Thanks Bunny!" she exclaimed gleefully.

A few hours later the pooka and the snow spirit were traveling down one of the many tunnels to the Warren. Well, make that Bunny running down the tunnel at top speed while Jack clung onto him while riding on his back, causing him to blush under his fur.

"What the hell is wrong with me, it's just Jack!" he mentally scolded himself.

A few minutes later his feet met solid ground once again. He turned his head to the snow spirit who was still piggy backing on him. "Well, we're here, Snowflake."

Jack literally sprang from Bunny's back and almost face planted on the ground if it wasn't for her staff to balance her. "Whoa! It's even more beautiful than the last time I was here!"

What she didn't know was that Bunny had almost pulled an all-nighter cleaning up the Warren and preparing it for her arrival. The trees and gardens had been trimmed and tended to, the meadows had been cut, and he had taken a mop and bucket to his cottage and scrubbed it until it shone. The pooka wanted to make sure that everything was absolutely perfect.

"So, whacha wanna do first?" he asked her. Jack opened her mouth to reply but stopped suddenly. A cold breeze picked up and blew through her hair gently.

"Jeez, how'd it get so cold in here!" Bunny hissed as his teeth began to chatter and he rubbed his arms for warmth. The chilling wind picked up and was now swirling around Jack. Without warning, the snow spirit shot up into the air.

"Jack!" the pooka cried out as he watched her soar into the sky. The sound of happy child-like laughter met his enlarged eardrums. Jack was laughing gleefully as she soared and somersaulted through the winter wind. Her eyes were sparkling and she was smiling so big that it would put the Cheshire cat to shame.

After a few more minutes, the delighted winter spirit flew back down and landed gently on a stone egg sentinel. "Wow, I'd forgotten how much fun it was to fly! I haven't flown in... in months!" Jack's long hair was askew and windblown and a fresh layer of frost was covering her hoody and pants along with the stone egg she was sitting on. Her pale cheeks were flushed pink and her eyes still glittered from the adrenaline. She looked so much more like her old self. Energetic and... beautiful.

Bunny blushed deep red under his fur when he realized that he was staring. Fortunately, Jack was still excited by her flight that she didn't notice.

"Jack? Hey Jackie, where are ya?" the pooka called out as he hoped along the color river. It had only been Jack's first afternoon here and the winter spirit was feeling right at home. After Bunny settled her into her new room, she had grabbed him by the paw and dragged him out of the cottage on a quest to explore more of the Warren. The rest of the day was filled with painting eggs, playing Jack's favorite games, and playing with Frostbite and his little egglet friends. The snow spirit was so busy with having a good time she didn't even want to go inside for dinner. Bunny was easily persuaded and they had a picnic dinner by the color river. The pooka couldn't say no to Jack.

But now it was getting dark and Bunny wanted to find the snow spirit so they could both go to bed. He finally found her fast asleep next to his stone work table. Frostbite was nestled next to her neck in her hoodie while some of the other eggs had gathered around the snow spirit curiously.

"Alright ya drongos, funtime's over for today," the pooka said shooing the other egglets away. When a few shakes to her shoulder didn't wake her up, Bunny gently scooped Jack into his arms. He rested her head on his upper arm while he cradled her upper body on the rest of his arm and used his other arm to hold her legs. She was surprisingly light as a feather.

As Bunny walked back toward the cottage, he couldn't help but let his eyes wander to Jack's sleeping form. Her chest rose up and down softly with each breath she took her eyelids fluttering slightly. She must have been having a good dream for once. The pooka's eyes started taking in the little details that he never noticed before. The way the winter spirit's skin and hair seemed to glow under the moonlight making her look like an angel. The dark eyelashes that stood out against her milky white skin but framed her sapphire eyes beautifully while they were open. The beautiful curves and long legs that any girl would kill for and caught the attention of every man when she walked in the room.

"Bloody hell I'm checking her out!" Bunny thought while his face blushed for the hundredth time that day. Jack was just a friend. A very good friend who needed his help more than ever at the moment. She was nothing more than that... but why couldn't he stop looking?

He was brought out of his thoughts when he reached Jack's room. Pushing the door open Bunny walked over to the bed and laid the snow spirit on her side and gently laid her head on the pillow. Jack shifted slightly and mumbled something incoherent from the lack of warmth, but settled down when the pooka laid a blanket on her.

Bunny kneeled down so that he was eye level with the snow spirit. She was just a friend. Friends care about other friends. Friends want to look out for their friends. And Best friends especially don't take advantage to check out their pretty female friends when they're carrying said female to her bedroom while she's sleeping!

The pooka sighed. "I'll never understand what it is you do to me, Jaquelin Overland Frost," he murmured surprising himself. He had never called her by her first name, and never by her human last name either. Pushing his confusion aside, Bunny softly kissed the top of Jack's head before getting up and leaving the room reminding him that his mother kissed him the same way when she said goodnight...

Post notes- OMG, FINALLY DONE! Sowwy it took so long guys. So... I'm pretty sure a lot of you guys must have some fluffy moments in mind that you've thought up for Jack and Bunnymund. If you post that idea in your review I'll pick a few to help me write the next chapters :D

Next chapter: Bunny distracts Jack from her nightmares while the winter spirit gets her first sugar high...