So starting this here to keep all my little one-shots in a nice little spot that's easy and convenient to find. Some might be continued, some won't but feel free to drop a prompt or idea! I'd love to see what you guys want to read.
Bunnymund again cursed loudly through the winter woods. He knew that it was going to be an awful trip but the extent of his suffering was not lost on him. Ever since the Man in the Moon had picked Jack Frost as the new Guardian Bunny had been out looking for him. North had slyly pointed out that Bunny's tunnels were faster after all, and then Bunny couldn't refuse the challenge without losing face in the Pole, something he would rather die than let happen.
So here he was, running around looking for their newest wayward Guardian. He shivered and sniffed the air again, letting his ears twitch in every which direction. Bunny had tracked the boy all the way out in the remote Canadian tundra and was having trouble continuing from there. Man in the Moon had given them a general location, where bunny was now, but after that it was up to them to find the boy.
It was dark when Bunny arrived and he had his boomerangs out in preparation. He had already heard the wolves howling in the distance and had passed a polar bear out on the ice. This was a treacherous place even for someone of his power. They were miles away from any civilization and Bunny couldn't help but wonder why Jack had chosen to hide out here. He knew the boy had little to no following but that didn't mean that he would recluse himself from the world, did it?
His ears twitched at a sudden sound behind him and he turned just in time to dodge a blow from the dagger coming at his back. He twisted to the side and caught the outstretched arm, pulling the attacker up and over his shoulder. Bunny aimed to slam him into the ground but the blighter twisted at the last minute and wretched his arm from Bunny's paws before righting himself.
Bunny was able to get a good look at his attacker now as he ducked under an attack of strapped on bear claws. It was a boy. He appeared young but Bunny could only guess because all he had to go on was body size. His attacker's face was covered by large reindeer skull with the antlers intact and Bunny took a moment to appreciate the strength of whoever managed to not only walk with it but to fight. Coming out the sides of the impromptu mask were feathers of all shape, size, and color. An ashy grey wolf pelt covered his body and draped down his back. It was tied in a childish mockery of a superhero's cape and clasped around the neck with a wolf's tooth. An adornment of feathers hung from this as well. The boy's chest was bare but he was thankfully still dressed in pants. They were of a rough brown material and cut off at mid shin. They were tied with thin strips of leather that were also wrapped around his upper arms and around his waist in the form of a sheath. A arm band made again of wolf's teeth circled his right arm just below the leather straps but what worried Bunny the most were the scars that littered the boy's body. They covered his exposed torso and his lower arms. Ranging from claw marks to healed stab wounds.
Jack lashed out viciously with his dagger before dancing away and coming back with a crushing blow with his bear claw enforced fist. It would have done serious damage if Bunny hadn't blocked it with a boomerang in time. There was no doubt in Bunny's mind that this was the boy the Man in the Moon had just declared the newest Guardian. No one else could live in the freezing wilderness barefoot and fight like they owned the element.
"Look, Jack, You may not like me but don't cha think this is a little extreme, mate?"
Bunny received no response other than a deep growl and a few bird like chirps. He had no idea how to respond to this so he just kept up the offense and tried to convince Jack that he meant no harm to him. He was starting to worry now though. This was unusual behavior even for a spirit like Jack. Bunny wasn't one to snoop on others and he tried to avoid it. He liked his privacy and would never want anyone to intrude on it so he tried to pay others the same respect. But something was practically screaming at Bunny, and had been since he popped out of his tunnels, that this was not okay. That Jack was not okay.
Jack rolled under a hit that would have knocked him silly before turning tail and leaping high into a tree. He gave a short bark of challenge before taking off into the forest.
"Not getting' away that easy," Bunny smirked as he slid his boomerangs back into their case. 'You don't want to race a rabbit, mate.' And with that thought Bunny was off. He was able to easily catch up with the slight boy who was hopping from branch to branch with more skill than any squirrel Bunny had seen. He was able to detect a faint growl from above before the boy suddenly stopped. Bunny went skidding ahead while Jack dug his bear claws into the bark and giggled as the large rabbit slipped into a larger snow bank.
"Now ya've done it." He pulled himself out of the frozen snow and twitched as he felt the cold begin to seep into his fur. He was going to end up as an Easter popsicle he just knew it. He could see Jack had descended from his tree and was running along the icy ground as if it was nothing.
Bunny took off after him and had a moment to think. In his whole fight and chase scene with Jack Frost, not once had the boy used his powers. He had control over ice and snow right?
Either way it seemed as if Jack had figured out Bunny's weakness. While the large rabbit was very fast he couldn't turn very well when he was running full pelt on all four feet. Jack was using this to his advantage as well as the ice. He could stay on his feet for a sudden turn about while Bunnymund couldn't. He would go sliding into snow banks or tree trunks when he tried to turn. This forced him to have to slow down which meant that Jack had a greater chance of getting away. Bunny's greatest advantage in speed were his tunnels but for them to be of any use he had to be have seen where he was going. He ran a serious risk of losing the boy and that was something he refused to let happen. Jack needed help.
Jack was running now across a frozen lake hidden behind some thin, scraggly trees barren of leaves. Bunny had to watch as the child leapt over the rocks that covered the far side of the lake and disappeared. Bunnymund stood up and started to walk carefully across the lake. After slipping twice and having to finish the rest of the walk on all four wobbly legs, he finally was able to grab onto a rock and straighten himself up.
"Okay mate, no more games," He hauled himself up onto the rocks and bounded over them. He reached the top of the pile and took a moment to stop and sniff the air. He needed to locate which way jack went.
He made his way down the rocks and came face to face with a small wall made out of branches. It was covering a gap in the rocks leaving only a small portion uncovered. He peaked in through the little entryway and saw the scared blue eyes hidden behind the mask as Jack stood in the middle of his cave. Jack let out a low whistle, like the sound a caribou makes, before ending the noise with a keening whine. Bunny shook his head in confusion and started to push his way through the little doorway.
Jack perceived this as a threat and grabbed one of his spears to defend himself. He kept up a constant growl as Bunny finally made his way into the cave.
"Now see here Jack, I don't want to hurt ya, but I need ya to come with me. I'm going to take ya to the Pole. We are going to help ya." Bunny kept his paws up in supplication as he circled around the boy trying to find a way to get the weapon from him.
Jack stared at the rabbit before lowering the spear and cooing softly in question.
Bunny grinned and started making comforting noises back hoping to relax Jack further. Bunny couldn't see his face but Jack eyes started to lose the skittish look and his body started to relax. Jack lowered the spear all the way and took a step closer to Bunny.
Bunny smiled guiltily before grabbing the spear out of his hands and smashed the boy on the back of the head, hard. He caught Jack before he could hit the ground and lifted the light boy into his arms. With the crisis now averted Bunny was able to take in the cave that Jack had been living in for who knows how long.
It was rather large and pleasantly warm due to the small fire burning in the corner. Strips of dried meats hung from the ceiling and the furs of those animals were piled in the corner. Rudimentary utensils were fashioned out of wood such as cups. What really impressed Bunny though were the drawings. They were like the cave paintings of old but more stylized. Everything was in sharp edges and swirling curls. Bears, foxes, wolves, caribou, moose, rabbits, owls, almost every winter animal in the region was on the wall. There was also a dark black shadow on the far wall along with bloody scratches. Bunny had to suppress a shiver when he saw those. The only other thing in the cavern was a branch. It had a hook around the top almost like a Shepard's staff. He didn't know what else to do now that he had Jack so he took one last look around the room before tapping his foot twice on the ground and opening a tunnel to North's toyshop.
He jumped down the hole and took off to the Pole carefully holding Jack. He needed to get him back to civilization quickly.
He opened the tunnel in North's main room overlooking the globe. He avoided the elf that feel in and jumped out himself. Someone else would help the elf, he had to help Jack. He took off down the hall that would lead him to the housing North provided for his fellow Guardians and opening the door to a vacant room went about making Jack comfortable. He laid the boy out on the bed and started to strip off the adornments. The other Guardians will be alerted of his return by the yeti.
First he unclasped the wolf pelt and gently pulled it off the boy. As he did more scars we reveled and Bunny had to stop himself from flinching back. Then he reached down and pulled the bear claw band from around the boy's fist before reaching up to the mask. He untied the tight leather straps and pulled the impromptu mask off being careful of the antlers. He had just set the mask down when the other Guardians burst into the room. Bunny spun around in shock and had a quick moment to be thankful he put the mask down before he addressed the others.
"I've caught the little blighter but I had to knock 'im out so keep quiet. We need to 'ave a talk about this one though. I don't think he's completely well."
The other Guardians were silent as they stared at the boy on the bed. They were taking in the scars and emaciated appearance. Jack was thin as a twig and it wasn't a healthy thin either. Bunny turned to take in the boy's bedraggled appearance himself especially now that the mask was removed. Now he could see his face.
Jack's white hair was now shoulder length and tied back in a messy ponytail with another strip of leather. His face was gaunt but what was most surprising were the scars. They didn't stop that his chest it seems. There was a large jagged scar that ran down the left side of Jack's face and over his eye. Bunny again had a bad feeling about what would be under his eyelid.
He gathered up the boy's clothes and handed them to North before rifling through the drawers. Bunny grabbed a large, and in his opinion very ugly, Christmas sweater and hastily pulled it over Jack's head. Then he urged the others out and had to grab Tooth by the hand to keep her from going back into the room. Sandy was firing out sand images at a rapid pace already. North shut the door but Bunny was the one who locked it afterwards.
"We can't trust this kid. I think he's been out there, in the wild, by himself for who knows how long. He doesn't even speak a language that I know. He talks in chirps and barks, guys. He's gone wild."
"I'm sure it'll be fine Bunny, we just- uh, need to give him a little attention is all. I don't remember the last time I talked to him myself but surely one of us has been in contact with him?"
"I heard he was around way back when but I don't think I ever talked with 'im now that ya mention it."
"I never talk to him either and he never tried to come to Pole."
Sandy shook his head and held his arms up in confusion.
Tooth looked around in despair, "so none of us have been in contact with him? Bunny says that he has no believers as well. Did he even understand what happened to him? Oh my God, so he never had any interaction with a sentient being since he was re-born?"
They all shared a look and continued the conversation from this startling revelation unaware of Jack waking up in the next room.
Jack startled awake and immediately started growling and looking around for the oversized rabbit that chased him through the woods. His nose flared as he tried to take in his surroundings but all he could smell was a mix between too sweet and wood. One of those smells was familiar but it did little to calm his nerves. He turned his head every which way sharply and quickly came to the conclusion that he was not in his cave.
He whined and took in the large, open room. It was too big. Jack had no idea what any of the items in the room did and now he was starting to panic. He could feel the walls closing in so in a blind panic he grabbed up the bare furs around him and darted under the long wooden structure he had previously been exposed on. Jack curled up the fur and scanned the room from his new comfortable vantage point. The soft fur around him was nice but there was something scratching against his sides. He couldn't worry about that now though he needed a weapon. It was dangerous and the blackness could have taken him finally.
There was a four legged wooden thing sitting in the corner that could be useful. He quickly scanned the room before swiftly squirm out from under the bed. Grabbing the chair the lifted it up before slamming it down repeatedly on the floor. He grabbed one of the legs and ripped it off the broken chair. He looked around in case anyone noticed the noise. He started to shimmy back under the bed before realizing what the itching was. He had some constricting horrendous red thing on his torso. Checking the door one last time he quickly set the wood club down before tearing off the itchy thing. Taking up his club again he crawled under the bed to wrap himself up in the fur.
Just in time because the door opened and the other Guardians flooded into the room, drawing there by the noise of the crashing chair. Jack clutched his club and watched as they moved further into the room. The large hare was with them and he barely suppressed a growl of displeasure. One was a flying female covered in feathers. They were feathers unlike any Jack had ever seen though. These were bright vibrant colors and her wings were strange as well. Then there was the large imposing male with a white beard and dual swords. Jack snarled at the sight of the other with a weapon. The other was a male but was orange and he had no identifiable scent. It was mostly a feeling of warm. They spoke with words he didn't understand and he just turned his head to follow the noise.
The orange male pointed to the red constriction and the tones turned quieter. The feathered female started opening doors while the rabbit checked under the desk. The tall male knelt down and Jack tightened his grip on the chair leg. The one with the beard lifted the bed which caught Jack off guard. He recovered quickly though and leapt up from the furs and swung his make-shift club. The man caught it and lifted the boy up by his arm. Again he spoke in a language he couldn't understand.
Jack responded with a bark and a few chuffs ending with an angry chirp. He received a blank look which he gladly returned.
North took away the club Jack had made out of the chair he broke and set the child back on the ground. He had believed Bunny when he had told them about Jack but it was another thing to see it in the flesh. Jack was crouched on the ground only clad in his filthy brown pants and the bands on his arms. His scars were exposed for them all to see and now that he was awake they could see that the damage was much worse than they originally assumed. The long scar that ran over his eye also left the boy blind in that eye.
It was still the same blue it was just clouded and dull. It explained why Jack had to turn his head do often and so far to the side. North desperately wanted to ask how it happened and he could feel that Tooth was physically restraining herself. Bunny just looked upset.
"How can we fix this?" North gestured out at Jack who shook his head with a guttural snort.
"Mate, he can't even talk. We might 'ave to just accept that we can't do anything for him."
"There has to be something," Tooth said as she flitted about nervously. She didn't want to show it but she was afraid of going to close to the ground for fear of Jack attacking again.
"We'd need to know what 'appened to him and like I said, he can't talk."
"There has to be a way to communicate with him."
"North, he's speaking in animal tongue. None of us can translate that!"
"You are a bunny no? Talk to him."
"It doesn't work like that and you know it. Besides I haven't heard a spot of hare come out of him. It sounds more like bird and dog. And let's be honest if he has been living alone in the wilderness he has probably only heard the noises of the animals that are common there."
"Is there anything we can do?"
"Hey, hey, guys look at this."
The two arguing Guardians turned at Tooth's call to see Sandy forming pictures above his head. They could also see Jack gesturing on the floor. Jack was nodding and chirping at Sandy While the smallest Guardian smiled at the boy. It was almost heartbreaking how much he wanted to believe they could be friends. All of his instincts told him not to trust them and he still tried to ender himself to them.
"North, he can paint- draw. Like Sandy. We can talk to him with pictures!"
North called out to have some paper and a pen brought in. As soon as they arrived North handed them to Sandy who held them out to Jack. He flinched back at first, swinging his head to glance at Bunny. After a few tense minutes and a couple more images Jack took the paper and pen. He held them and looked back at Sandy. Sandy glanced back at the others before looking back at Jack and miming writing with his hands. Jack set the paper down and after one last look at Sandy snapped the pen and smeared his fingers in the ink.
Sandy conjured a few images and on the paper Jack responded as best he could. It took a few hours and more than a few pieces of paper but they were finally able to put the story together. Sandy nodded in response to the last picture Jack presented and turned to the Guardians. He motioned them out of the room before asking North to put the bed back. As they left they saw Jack crawl back under and wrap himself up in the blankets. North locked the door as they left before turning to Sandy.
"So what is story?"
Sandy played it out as easily as he could forgoing his usual still pictures to actually play out the scene. They watched as Jack came up from a lake and as he tried to go into town only to have no one see him. They watched as Jack ran off into colder and colder climates until he was deep into the Canadian wild. He ran off into the woods and there they watched as he hunted and more disturbingly was hunted. They saw as he was run out by wolves and ambushed by bears. They watched as he slowly learned the ways of survival in the wild. The Guardians also saw as a shadow stalked the boy. Pitch, they all assumed. He was believed in as well and he would love nothing better than to spread that feeling. There were many fights between the two and originally they seemed to be just in jest but soon Pitch's attacks took a more deadly turn. He started to actively try and injure the smaller spirit.
Now the Guardians were left with the question of how to help their wounded comrade. The Man in the Moon chose him as a Guardian and they could hardly just abandon him to this fate. As Jack slept under a bed, half-blind and haunted by the only memories he had the Guardian were putting together a plan to try and help him re-assimilate into society.