Bunnymund sighed softly to himself as his brush stalled over the light green exterior of the egg cradled tenderly within his paw. He didn't really need to paint the eggs right now; Easter was a good three months away. Then again, he didn't really have much else to do during the day. He only tended to the Easter holiday, and although he brought Spring to places that didn't mean he was a seasonal spirit or anything and had to bring it to everyone every year. Decorating his little egglets was just something he did to pass the time. He shook his head slowly and lowered his brush once more to finish the pink tulip he had been drawing.
"There ya go," he crooned setting the finished egg back on it's feet only to be bombarded by another group of them, squeaking to get his attention. He chuckled quietly at this and scooped one up, earning a cluster of annoyed nudges at his feet from the other eggs. "Wait ya turn," he chided as he wiped off his brush on the grass and shifted to look for the blue paint he'd seen just a second ago.
He spotted it shortly after he turned his head, but as he reached for it, he felt a shiver run down his spine that caused him to pause and retract. The icy breeze was faint as it ghosted over his fur, but in a place as warm as this, it stuck out like a sore thumb. Emerald irises narrowed suspiciously as the spirit sniffed the air, searching for a familiar scent. The fragrance accompanying the wind was icy and fresh, like snow, with traces of pine needles and cinnamon. Bunny grunted in recognition, "Frostbite," he growled out and placed the egg back down so he could stand to his full height. "That bloody twerp knows not ta come here uninvited," he grumbled. He released an irritated huff and started off, following the youth's scent like an invisible trail. Luckily, Jack's scent was incredibly easy to track when he was in a warm climate like this one.
After a few short minutes of going through some bushes Bunny spotted the child near one of the tunnels, oddly enough, in plain sight. Bunnymund raised a brow at this factor, knowing that generally when Jack visited him he was hiding out in tree tops or something with a snowball at the ready. The older male quickly hardened his expression; however, reminding himself that this could just be another one of the sprite's elaborate pranks.
"What do ya think you're doin' here Frost?" he interrogated in a gruff voice, approaching the boy slowly.
Jack didn't reply though; he was absolutely silent, which was a feat in it's own for the hyperactive teen. Bunny raised a brow once more as he neared the other, taking into account the spirit's slumped posture. His head was hung and his frosted hood was pulled up; covering his face from sight. He was leaning heavily on his staff and clutching it with both hands. His legs trembled and his knees bent, inclining towards each other almost like it was difficult for him to stand up straight. Bunny eyed the winter bringer cautiously, still wondering if this was a joke or not, "I asked you a question, mate." he prompted him.
Once Bunnymund came within about a foot of the teenager; he felt worry overpower his annoyance. He could hear the harsh sound of Jack breathing; deep raspy gasps that sounded like they hurt as much as you'd think they would. When he got closer, his nose twitched, instantaneously detecting the smell of blood and salt coating the air around the white haired prankster.
"..Frosty?" he asked uncertainly, stooping down a little, but still managing to tower over the boy. He craned his neck and tried to get a good look at his face, but with that damn hood he could barely see a lick of anything. He lifted his large paw and, gently, pushed the blue hood back, letting it slide off the other's head and settle back against his shoulders. Messy silver locks jutted out and light bounced off of them to cast tiny shadows over his pale skin. Aster frowned, placing his hand on the youth's shoulder, wordlessly urging him to look up. His touch nearly made Jack drop like a house of cards, but it did gain the desired effect and got the Guardian to comply. A matching set of reddened sapphires surfaced from beneath strands of white. Bunnymund's eyes grew wide. Sentiments of terror, shame, and agony haunted his gaze and etched worrisome lines onto his usually carefree expression. His skin was flushed and his cheeks and temple were bruised dark blue and purple. His entire countenance was twisted with misery and despair, as if someone had just destroyed the most important thing in his entire life.
Trembling lips parted only to release pitched breaths that sounded like failed attempts at words. The warrior watched, with a note of dread, as the winter sprite took a step forward, only to cringe painfully and barely stifle a cry. The child's knees buckled, giving beneath the pressure of his weight and sending him plummeting to the ground. Bunny swiftly stepped forward; however, and caught the smaller Guardian mid drop, allowing him to lay dazedly against his chest. He could hear the spirit panting breathlessly, like his one step was an equivalent to a mile that he had sprinted through. He shivered, apparently too exhausted to even reach up and hold onto the rabbit's arm to support himself. It seemed that even in the Pooka's strong hold, Jack's body was slipping; sinking down as his slender legs all but gave up and decided on collapsing instead of trying to remain straight. Noticing he was fighting a losing battle, Bunnymund carefully lowered them both to the ground, where Jack hissed sharply and ground his teeth to prevent further noise.
Even balancing on his knees appeared to be too difficult for Jack in his current state though; they wobbled unstably and slid in opposite directions every time he put strain on them. Bunny adjusted one of his arms and helped the young immortal sit, somewhat awkwardly, on the grass beneath them. Jack was sniveling; looking small and powerless and broken in the elder's grip. Bunny's stomach was doing flips, torn between anticipation and concern for his comrade; he'd never seen Jack so upset before. "Hey," he murmured catching the teenager's tearful eye. "What happened to you, mate?" he inquired in a low voice. He wasn't sure if he wanted to hear Jack's answer, however. He didn't know if he wanted to find out what had been so terrible to have caused him to behave so uncharacteristically vulnerable.
Upon hearing the question, Jack's entire body began to quake with fear. His steady voice cracked, sounding hoarse and soft instead of loud and boisterous. "P-Pitch," he whimpered difficultly, the name getting stuck in his throat as he tried to say it aloud.
Immediately, Aster's calm demeanor shattered and a menacing glower appeared on his face. His gray fur bristled while tuffs of it rose all long the length of his back, standing on end in reaction to the reply. "Pitch!" he snapped furiously. "What the hell did that bastard do to you!" he demanded, fully prepared to stand right up and go do unimaginably gruesome, graphic, things to the Nightmare King. The vague sensation of fingers curling desperately into his coat pacified his rage quickly and prompted him to look back down at the battered boy.
A pale chin angled itself up and pulsing blue orbs endeavored to meet Bunnymund's as they swam in the warm liquid that generated the salty aroma. Jack looked terrified and conflicted, like he was ashamed and unsure of how to tell Bunny about what had occurred. His eyes were flickering, surging with unknown emotions that tried to be conveyed in one glance... It broke the rabbit's heart to see the look of despair throb every time he failed to understand the unspoken plea being given to him.
Aster was positive that he had never felt so helpless.
Seeing his reluctance, the larger immortal subconsciously held Jack closer. "Hey, come on," he coaxed him soothingly. "You can tell me," he whispered encouragingly. He had meant to make Jack feel more at ease, but it seemed as though all his reassurance did was make him more upset. Jack choked on the tears and shook his head frantically, trying to tell Bunnymund just how wrong he was. Snowy locks whipped in front of the sprite's face as he threw his arms around the Easter bringer and began sobbing distraughtly into his fur. Bunny widened his eyes and stared down at the smaller male with an aspect of shock and pity. He frowned upsettingly and cradled the other securely to his chest, stroking his unruly hair to try and console the teen.
"Come on, Frosty. You can tell me," he insisted hiding the sorrow in his tone although it was visible in his expression. Jack shuddered and shook his head once more, "N-No! No no I can't!" he protested. "I-I can't I c-can't!" he wailed miserably. The large Pooka sighed and rubbed the back of the white haired sprite's neck, calming him just enough to silence his words. At this point he tried to prevent his view from wandering, but he couldn't stop himself; he needed to know what Pitch had done. A sharp pain shot through his chest when he discovered several angry scarlet marks showing through the tears in the blue hoodie. He didn't want to see anymore, and yet he kept going. With every smudge of dirt or darkening bruise he found on the once flawless skin, his chest tightened.
He was angry. Angry at Pitch for daring to hurt one of them and angry at himself for not helping Jack when he had needed him. Pitch had attacked Jack and he hadn't been there; he had abandoned the sprite and forced him to fend for himself. It hurt him more than he cared to admit. There were no excuses for this; he had failed to accomplish the one task given to him by the Man in the Moon. Sure, sometimes Jack and he fought, and sometimes the boy was more annoying than Aster could stand...but that didn't mean he deserved this. It didn't mean he wanted him to get hurt. Nothing in the world could justify Jack sustaining any kind of injury from the likes of Pitch, not even the blizzard of '68. No matter how irritating or troublesome Jack was he was still family... and more importantly, he was theirs.
Bunny's guilty survey of the shaking silhouette drifted further down, flinching at every new wound he happened upon and dying a little with every one of them. Then he froze entirely... and stared at the large stain of blood on the winter spirit's pants.
Green eyes became small and Bunnymund was positive that if he had skin, he'd be paler than Jack. Realization dawned upon him and dread followed close behind it as all the pieces clicked together. His stomach sank into it's own acids while denial vainly attempted to cushion the blow of his imploding heart. "No.." he breathed out. His brow furrowed in devastation as he shook his head slowly, "Aw no," he whispered, not wanting to believe it was true or even that it could be true. His long ears flattened against his head as he peered down at frosty locks.
"Snowflake, did...did Pitch.."
He couldn't bring himself to finish the sentence. No matter how hard he tried to get that last part out he couldn't say it out loud; his tongue refused to form the syllables. If he didn't ask, then he could never get the answer. And his brain just couldn't take the chance of hearing the word 'yes' falling from Jack's lips. Jack just cried harder and louder, apparently unnerved just by the dull insinuation. The seasonal spirit didn't need the Pooka to complete the question, he already knew what it was because it was what he had been trying to tell his friend from the moment he arrived.
Sadly, the increased volume was all the confirmation Bunny needed, and he only wished he needed more than that to be sure. The rabbit grimaced painfully, but rubbed his large paw over the younger Guardian's trembling back while he repressed the urge to go seek out Pitch and tear him limb from limb.
"I-I'm sorry," Jack keened.
If Aster's heart hadn't already been broken it would have shattered once he heard that. He frowned sympathetically and shook his head deliberately, yet eagerly. "No. This wasn' your fault, mate," he told him sincerely. Jack buried his head further into the other's dampening coat though, "Y-Yes it is. I-I couldn't f-f..fight. H-He was..w-was too strong," he cried violently his voice cracking with self loathing from the traumatic experience. He had fought Pitch tooth and nail; he had thrown everything he had at the man, but it wasn't enough. No matter how cold his ice got, black sand still managed to wrap around his ankles and knock his staff out of his grasp. It grabbed his wrists and dragged him to the ground where he met those grinning amber orbs. It threw him to the ice and pinned him down; holding him in a mockingly cold embrace.
He yelled. He struggled.
He had tried so very hard to get away. It didn't make a difference though. Pitch hadn't so much as wavered at his efforts; his hands never hesitated and his smile..never faded.
Bunny reached down tentatively and pulled the child away from him. A distressed, panicked, whine tore through the pale being's throat; fearing that Aster was leaving and too disgusted with him to touch him. Said Pooka frowned at this and lifted his hand to the boy, hiding a flash of hurt when Jack shied away. Moving slowly, as to not frighten the youth, Bunnymund touched the bruised skin of his jawline, memorizing the sensation purple brought to white with subtle, comforting, caresses.
When he finally tilted the immortal's head up, his own frame was shuddering with a mixture of conflicting intentions. Wet, light blue, spheres appeared hesitant of him, but still stared at him with a certain fixation that could have been described as desperate. He was paralyzed for a moment by the helplessness plaguing that regard, so much so that his words escaped him; leaving them in silence. It was more than he could bear. At that moment, Jack tried to look away; he tried to run, but was stopped by the unflinching grip that kept him in place. By the time Aster recovered, his voice had become low and husky like he was out of breath. "Listen here," he ordered softly, his tone thick with unshed tears. "This was not your fault, Jack." he whispered vehemently, opting to trade in his nicknames for the slightly more intimate usage of the boy's first name.
Large heated droplets slid down porcelain cheeks as quivering whimpers answered the assurance, expressing both denial and gratitude over it. There was still a shimmering hint of doubt in those eyes though, fearing a cruel trick and sadistic rejection.
Bunny watched the immortal worriedly as he began to shake awfully. Unexpectedly, he released an inaudible sigh through his nose while his shoulders slackened in doleful understanding. He gently stroked the side of the sprite's cheek, mindful of the dusted discolorations, "Aw Jackie," he murmured sadly. He knew exactly what misgivings were racing through the other's head, and perhaps thats why he was so upset by them. Upon hearing the hushed address, the younger Guardian seemed to sense a certain lack of hatred that he had been fearing to catch in the tone, and relief hit him like a tidal wave. This time when the pale teenager clung to him, Bunnymund only compliantly wrapped his arms around him and gathered him wordlessly into his lap, allowing his svelte fingers to thread into, and clutch at, the gray and black fur of his back. He lowered his head and nuzzled the side of his snout against Jack's neck, forlornly. The rabbit closed his eyes and cringed softly while he listened to the heart wrenching sobs Jack released.
After a few seconds they were both shuddering, and after what seemed like days Bunny couldn't tell if those tears were Jack's or his own. He buried his face into the other's blue clad shoulder; his spine trembling ever so subtly as he utilized his voice.
"Ssshh. You'll be okay. It's a'right, Sshh. You're safe now...Bunny's here, I gotcha."
He didn't know who the words were meant to comfort though.
Perhaps both of them.
It really didn't matter anyways...
Because he'd probably never know.
Don't ask me. Just don't. I don't know. Lol I just had this in my head and I was like gotta write another...just do it! LOL yeah It's terrible in comparison to by other fic (sorry) and I'm pretty sure other people have already done this plot. I do not like Pitch and Jack together...ever!..Now...Jude Law and Chris Pine...maybe ;) Lol! Yeah but it's not good really I was a little rusty and not too inspired when I first did this. But this is the first chapter and perhaps the second will be better. I went to correct this too after I had already corrected it and made it a little better. But Please please don't comment on the choppiness or my usage of the same words at times. Luckily I just finished my last final and now I'll have a lot more free time. OKay so...review!..and review nicely I don't wanna get any flames or ppl telling me that this pairing is sick.
(Tearful respect) It's beautiful!
Oh and another note. I normally post an update or a fic at 12:00 Am Dec. 25...you know as a christmas present;however, considering how everything is going and how eager I am to just have this story posted I may just have to use this as my christmas gift. I was going to wait and maybe post this as a present...but I need it to be up now! Lol so if I don't get a chance to update anything consider this an early present!