"Jack!" The snowy-haired sprite looked down at the racing bunny below, hopping nimbly through the snowdrifts, an expression of horror, anger and panic on his features. "SLOW DOWN!" Strapped safely to him was a small pouch, where Joy was strapped in to fly with her Mother, which Aster thought was the stupidest idea North had ever concocted. Joy was giggling and squealing with glee, enjoying the flight as much as her Mother, but Aster...he believed Pooka feet belonged firmly on the ground.
"She's fine Kangaroo!" yelled Jack, twirling in the air. Finally, Jack saw the familiar field, and his pond. While it sickened him to know Pitch was with his human remains, it relieved him to know that Joy was safe...at least for now. His thoughts were pulled as he saw a familiar mop of brown hair. He looked down at his giggling kit, making sure she was secure for landing.
"Who are we going to see?" asked Jack, seeing the children in the middle of a snow-man building contest. Joy nodded. "Can you yell really loud?" Joy took a deep breath, and yelled.
"JAM-EEEEEEEEEE!" The children looked up, Jamie, Cupcake, Sophie and Sam waving while the others yelled greetings. Jack gently touched down, Aster quickly catching up as the kids crowded, trying to get a look at Jack and the little bunny.
"Did the Easter bunny get small again?"
"Where were you last year?!"
"Hey, she said my name!"
"Awe! So cute! Where did you find her?"
"Damn it ya bloody show-pony!" huffed Aster. "I swear to Manny if you drop her with all your trick-flights-"
"Awe." Said Jack, setting Joy down on the snow, still relatively new terrain for her. "Daddy Kangaroo is being over-protective again!"
"I'm not a bloody Kangaroo!" said Aster. "I. Am. A. BUNNY!" the children laughed at the usual banter, Jack grinning manically while Aster had a minor conniption. Though, one of the girls caught on to Jack's words.
"Wait, this is Aster's?!" she said, the little bunny sniffing at the snow.
"And Jack's." Said Sophie. At the mention of Jack, the kit turned to her parents.
"Mama Frostbite!" she squeaked. "Addy Kangaroo!" Jack burst out laughing, while Aster scowled.
"Daddy is a BUNNY." He said, looking at the toddler. "Just because your Mum is an insufferable pain in the neck doesn't mean you got to take after him." The children giggled as Joy repeated 'Daddy Kangaroo' Jack almost rolling on the ground laughing while Aster tried vainly to correct the kit, the children trying not to laugh at the tough-looking Guardian of Hope.
"Now that the buzz kill is preoccupied..." began Jack, pointing to Aster. "Who's up for some sledding?" The children whooped and ran to get their toboggans, Jack setting up an amazing hill and snow drift to land in, complete with jumps and ice slicks, when suddenly a crack of lightning filled the sky, clouds swirling as the Northern Lights filled the sky.
"Sorry guys." Said Jack, looking at the lights. "North is calling a meeting."
"But Pitch is supposed to be trapped for-"
"This ain't Pitch." Said Aster, bundling Joy close to his chest. "Get home, ya little ankle-biters. A storm is coming, and Jack sure as Hell isn't causing it."
"Then who is?" asked Jamie, some kids retreating.
"For once, I hope to Manny I'm wrong." Said Aster, tapping the ground and pulling Jack close to him. "Old Man Winter has a temper, and unlike Snowflake, he doesn't care who gets hurt when he releases it."