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At first, and I must be honest here, I was actually thinking of just leaving this as is. But, then I got a few people asking if I'd make a second part, and at first I was thinking "eehh, it might take away from what I constructed." But then, I thought some more and decided "what the heck? It doesn't hurt to try, right?" The thing is that I wrote each chapter in different states of mind, but I hope I kept the mood. Also, (adding in after publishing it once), please check out my "spin off" of this idea: Alone. That is, if you like BunnyxJack pairing or angst in general. I don't usually self-promote -rubs head-.
Have you ever heard a person sobbing? Truly sobbing? Where their anguish and pain fall from a body so brow-beaten and worn out. I have, and it just near 'bout broke my heart; and to make matters worse, I knew the person from who it came.
Jack? Was my first thought, and I lighted on the ground, stilling my wings and listening… listening so closely. Another sob echoed around me, filling me, wrenching me. Oh my God. Jack. It's Jack. My wings started up again and I twisted toward the rustling brush.
"Bunny, I found Jack!" I called, praying to Manny he heard me before speeding off through the trees. Please, please don't make me too late! I pumped my wings as fast and hard as I could, propelling around trees, under branches, through brush. Only when I reached the edge of the tree fringe did I realize where I was.
Jack's lake. And there, in front of me, curled into a fetal position, surrounded in a ruby liquid was he himself; the Guardian of Fun. "Oh, Jack, what's happened to you?" I whispered, feeling the wind carry my words.
They never reached him. It was horrific, watching the scene play out in front of me; it was something I can never un-see. A moment that truly chilled my heart, and for those few seconds, I knew what it must feel like to be Jack Frost.
The ice, oh how couldn't I have seen it? The spidery web-like fractures protruding from under his body. How could I have not remembered how thin he kept the ice? So thin to keep others from trying to skate, to keep them from his fate… From the fate replaying in front of me now.
I couldn't move. The shriek was stuck in my throat, the shock holding it there. My wings faltered for just a second, and my feet scraped the ground, the snow sending shivers through me, awakening me from my paralyzes.
Then, I sprang into action, skittering forward, only to hover over the spot where he disappeared. A consistent chant floated around me, and I didn't realize it was coming from me until Bunny grabbed my arm. "Bunny, save him. Save him. Save him."
Half a mile away. That was how far I'd been from Jack, and only a hundred yards away from Tooth when she shouted she'd found him. I'd turned to follow her, but had slid on the snow, falling to the ground. Hours from now I'd wonder what would have happened if I'd been more careful, if I'd thought of Jack's lake instead of wandering aimlessly in anger and worry. If only my head had been on straight.
But I got back up. And I raced faster than I ever had before, pushing off from my legs like a spring, racing, racing, racing. Trying to beat time, my own racing heart. I didn't see what Tooth saw, but I heard her, and saw her hovering in a panic over a large hole in the ice. Without thinking, I thumped on the ice, only to freeze and slide across a bit more careful, remembering how thin the ice was.
I grabbed her jewel-colored feathery arm and shook her lightly. She repeated her mantra over and over, and wouldn't stop even when I called her a few times.
"Tooth! Dammit, Tooth!" Only five seconds had passed between the time I grabbed her arm and started calling her name, but I knew already, if Jack was down in that hole, he had less than a minute to live. The ice may be thin, but the water was Antarctic cold. "Why didn't you go after him?" I half whispered, half called. And then, she shocked me by screaming at me uncharacteristically:
"I can't swim!" She gasped, covered her mouth, than began to fret around in the air, still panicking. But it was as though her scream had woken me up. I felt stuck in a phase, that phase where your heart and body are reacting to the adrenaline, and your brain is on high speed, but you take in everything with a calm façade. Sandy's up at the shack with North, Tooth can't swim… And then that sudden slow realization came upon me. The realization that I was the only one capable of getting to Jack.
I've never tried swimming before, but my hind legs are strong enough. And all of this went through my head in less than ten seconds, during which time I had been staring at Jack's staff. I couldn't comprehend why until I saw the hole he fell through and knew it was too small for me. Swiping it off the ground, I braced it over my head to crash through the ice when I hesitated. I faltered. For just a second. But in that second, I saw his blood. Saw his blood rise up from the depths of the lake, like ink.
Furious, I yelled a warrior's cry and slammed the staff down, breaking an entire chunk free and tossed the staff aside, I leaned down, bracing myself. Then, I threw over my shoulder one comment to Tooth: "Get the others," before plunging into the icy depths.
In the time it took for me to slide out on the ice and jump into the lake, thirty seconds had passed, but I knew it would have seemed like precious minutes to Jack if he was conscious enough to feel time pass. The water would have suffocated me had I not held my breath through that icy shock I first received. How I wanted to gasp, to shiver uncontrollably, but the lake was clear as glass, and through its openings I saw Jack, falling quickly through the lake, and my determination steeled within me as I pushed off, frantically swimming towards him.
And yet, there was something about the lake that changed you, had you wishing for release from its clutch. You could feel the death press in on you as your lungs started to give out, your legs and arms slowed, weighted down with freezing temperatures and water.
But I saw him, like a wounded bird flying through the depths, leaving a trail of crimson behind. I couldn't give up, couldn't stop now. So I pushed on, closing the distance between him and me bit by bit; the whole while feeling how time was slipping away.
I reached out, stretching my burning muscles, still kicking and pawing my way down. Closer. Closer. Almost… there…
Then, a miracle. I felt his hoodie swish by my paw and the energy that it gave me caused me to push forward and clutch him first in one paw, then both, finally clinging him to my chest. The effect of just feeling him in my arms gave want to a sob, but I had not forgotten where I was.
Looking up, I felt trapped in a bottle, with less than half the strength to make the return trip to the top. I glanced down at Jack and seeing no air bubbles pass forth from his lips anymore; his pale, bluing lips; I felt a surge of fear.
And I used that same fear to push up. Luck seemed to be on my side (what irony) and the water gave me extra push. It felt like hours but had most likely been only a minute during the time I found Jack and breached the surface. Gasping, I scrambled to get him on the ice, but the push I gave him sent me back under, confused and disorganized. I thrashed, finally letting the fear take over me, and sucked in water unintentionally.
I felt hands, then, reach in and grab me, pulling me out onto the ice with Jack, and I did not fight them. Choking, I threw up what I'd inhaled while in the lake, before sitting up suddenly and flailing to find Jack.
He only had seconds left if I'd caught him in time.
"J-Jack," I sputtered. "Get to him! Leave me be, leave me-" Then, I saw the looks of pity and sadness on their faces, and I knew… but I didn't want to believe. "No," I whispered hoarsely. "Oh, no…"
"Bunny, I'm so sorry," Tooth cried, reaching for me but I pushed her off throwing myself instead over Jack.
"NO! Oh, Jack… You bloody idiots!" I became frantic, pushing on his chest, calling for him to wake up, and they let me. But once I started pounding on him, sobbing uncontrollably, I felt the dream sand wash over me.
"What are we going to do, North?" Tooth's voice was small and fragile and I looked over at her, pondering the question. I had time to ponder now, and I took as much advantage of it as I could.
Earlier, after Sandy knocked Bunny down to a controllable mass, we had loaded both him and Jack up on my sleigh to be taken by to the workshop. Tooth and Sandy had jumped in right after, but I had taken the time to pick up Jack's staff first before heading off. Jack had been settled in an infirmary room separate from Bunny, who was currently under emergency treatment for hypothermia.
"At the moment, Tooth," I told her in my thick accent, "we can do nothing. We must leave the yetis to do what they can on Bunny, but Jack…" I shook my head, unable to believe he was really gone; the boy who had become like a son to me. I ran my hand along his staff, once so bright it seemed, was now lusterless and cold. His blood stained it like a war scar, and for the first time in so long, I wanted to cry. To let myself break down and cry for what I could have done for him, could have done with the boy… but no. Tooth and Sandy needed a leader, and while Manny rested, unaware, I was in charge of that.
"Bunny needs to recuperate, and we must focus on the living first."
"But North, what about Jack? He can't just… stay… t-there-"
"The living comes first before the dead, Tooth," I barked out, only to regret it instantly. My face softened as I put my large hand on her thin shoulder. "I… am sorry for my careless words. Jack will be cared for in time, but without us, Bunny will soon join him, and I cannot allow that to happen. Yes?" She nodded before floating weakly up.
"I need some time." When she had left, I turned back to his staff and finally, finally let my head sink into my hands. I did not sob. I did not sniffle or cry. But I let one tear leak from each eye. When things are under pressure, they must have some kind of little release or they will build up and explode. Taking a deep breath, I suddenly stood up, pushing back from my chair.
"Sitting around here is doing nothing. I must figure out something for Christmas, and then Bunny…" And I headed off to speak with Phil about delivering the presents so I myself would not become too weak to be of help…
My dreams were filled with nothing but darkness, yet I could feel every emotion unravel in me. Fear. Anger. Regret. Misery. Cold shock. And a name. I couldn't grasp the name, and every time I tried to, a wall of golden sand washed upon me and sank me back down into unconsciousness. Finally, mentally exhausted, I stayed under without help of Dream Sand.
When I began to come to, the name became clear: Jack. And like a magic tonic, I woke, slowly and groggily, but I was finally coming up out of my comatose. Cracking my eyes slightly against the bright light, I first became aware of a humming and beeping. Then a soft shudder, and another. Turning my head caused a woozy feeling to come over me, and I dragged my paw to hold together my splitting head. Once more, I was thrown back into the lake, the heaviness, the terrified and panicky feelings washing over me.
Eventually, my eyes cracked open all the way and I attributed each sound to its owner. The humming and beeping were monitors hooked up to me through needles. The shudders were Sandy, shifting in his seat as he watched me come-to. I saw him gaze at me expectantly, and I sat up slowly, blinking at the man who had kept me under for who knows how long. Keeping me from-
"Jack." He shook his head no, and even though I knew the fatal diagnosis, I wanted to see him. The want overcame me so blatantly, so urgently, I tore out the needles in me, sending the monitors on a frenzy. The door was thrown open not soon after and the big Russian man strode in.
"What is going on here?!"
"Jack," I snarled out, surprised at the ferocity of my voice, at the harshness of it. "I want to see Jack."
"Bunny, you will stay here. You are not to see Jack until you have completely healed-"
"Bunny!" he exclaimed in shock. The silence was becoming unbearable, to the point of driving me crazy. North sighed and walked over to me, sitting in the chair across from me, leaning forward with folded hands. "This event with Jack… it has affected all of us. But there is no need for your actions. I ask you, from one Guardian to the next, to calm down and stay here. You will be better off for it," he spoke softly.
I myself tried to stay calm, but even so, the pressure in my heart and stomach leaked into my voice.
"You can't keep me in here, mate." I saw him resign to the fact that I wasn't about to give up easily on the matter. Nodding his head slowly, he patted my arm and stood.
"Very well, but you will do as Phil says-"
"You will do as Phil instructs or you shall not see Jack for another month, Bunny." And that was final.
The fact of it was that I was still weak, and required Sandy's assistance to get out of bed, through the hall, and down the hallway to the infirmary holding Jack. The whole time, Sandy had a displeased look on his face, which I promptly ignored. In fact, by the time we entered Jack's holding, I wasn't focused on much else.
The whole place was empty but for his bed at the far end near the second window of four. The light highlighted his pale, deathly face. His once frost-blue hair turning a sick gray color, his eyes once so full of mischief closed from the world. The sheets, not nearly as white as the snow he once conjured, were pulled up to his chin, but, thankfully, not over his head.
I struggled to hurry over to his bed and Sandy struggled to keep up even though he was the one supporting me. I leaned heavily into the chair he sat me down in, and turned to thank him but was stopped cold by his look. He showed me pictures of the words he wished to say, and finally left, the message hanging in the air.
Don't do anything stupid. There's nothing we can do now. Mourn.
"Mourn, huh? Guess this means I'm holding a vigil for ya, Jack." I couldn't look at him. Couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead, I stared at the calendar across from him and the clock beside it. December 27th: 5:48 p.m. For three days, I'd been subject to the tortures of my feelings… and now I was going to mourn and subject myself to memories of what could have been, should have been, and what was.
The first day I spent crying, paying heed to the fact that if I worked myself up too much, I would hyperventilate and Phil would drag me out of there, kicking and screaming. That night, Phil gave me some meds, a blanket, pillow and soup. Warned me to stay warm, considering I was just coming out of a bad bout of hypothermia. Then he left me, not really shocked with the diagnosis. My skin was still freezing to the touch even if my fur was warm.
As I slept, I was plagued with memories. Of the blizzard that first introduced me to Jack Frost, our rivalry from there. Of Manny choosing him to become a Guardian, my heated words, the anger that consumed me when Easter had been destroyed because of him. But now, I felt nothing but regret at those feelings. And then, a ting of happiness when Jack brought me back to full size, how he got Jamie to believe in me again, and the brotherly affection that stemmed from my heart for him.
That was the first night, and I woke up with warmth in my heart, only for the embers of it to be put out at the sight of him. And I cried, harshly, severely, but not as painfully as before. Not yet. For the rest of the day, I walked around, trying to regain some strength back in myself, eating warm foods and staying under blanket. The room itself was heated to at least 80 degrees.
The second night was no better than when I had been in a "coma". It plagued me with guilt and worry. Over how insensitive I'd been from that point on. While I had to prepare for next Easter, I had pockets of free time that I could have used to visit Jack. To bother him for a change, maybe even become closer to him like he was with Sandy. But instead, I'd visited North or Tooth, forgetting about the little Winter demon as I had for 300 years. And my heart cracked, sending a fiery feeling throughout my body so that I woke in a cold sweat.
The third night was even worse. The third night brought questions with no answer. Insecure questions. What if I'd visited him? What if I'd spent more time with him, bothering or joking around? Didn't Tooth say we were family now? I could've forgiven him… And what if I had actually bothered to get to know him? None of this would have happened, and if it still had followed this course, I would have known to find him at the lake. I could have saved him before the ice broke. What if I had been a little bit faster? Would I have plunged in right after? Why did I waste time trying to calm down Tooth? She could have handled herself. I should have plunged right in after him… And the things I wish I could have said. What I've started to feel for him… Is that why I kept so far away? Because I was afraid? How must have Jack felt, then, all these years spent alone and afraid…
My fourth night, December 31st, brought deliria. I couldn't tell if I was awake or asleep. One moment I was in the chair, the next on top of the covers with Jack, holding him into my chest, rocking back and forth, sobbing. I'd pass out and wake up on the ground, only to weakly crawl back into bed with him and hold his body close to mine, feel his breath on my fur…
My heart stopped. Jack's breathing. Is this a trick? A cruel dream reminding me what could have been? Dammit, what the bloody hell is happening.
Another breath, and then another. Finally, he began to cough and stutter. I hadn't realized I'd cried out until Phil showed up and dragged me away from him. I lunged forward but North stood in my way, calling to me. "Jack, Jack, is he alive? North, am I going mad? What the hell's happening?!"
"Bunny, you are running a fever, why didn't you call anyone in before this?"
"But Jack, he's alive?" My eyes were wide and wondering. I didn't feel fear or anger. I felt… wonder and relief. I didn't kill him. "We didn't kill him, North! We didn't kill him!" I sang joyously.
"Perhaps not physically, Bunny. But not now. Later, later. We need to get you into treatment as well, Sandy-"
"No, I'm not going to be knocked out again. And I'm not leaving this room."
"G-go." It was a hoarse stutter, weak. But it was enough to stop everyone in their actions. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Tooth flutter forward and call his name. Again, the same word greeted us, a bit stronger before tapering off at the end. "Go…"
What could we do… Phil ushered us out, nodding to another medic-Yeti to take care of me, and I felt myself dragged away before passing out from the fever. My last thought: North was right…
Three months pass, during which time Jack refuses to see anyone but Phil, his caretaker. Three months of worry and anguish over Bunny's relapse and Jack's mental health.
According to Phil, it had been Bunny who brought him back. He said there had been a thick coating of ice in Jack's lungs and veins, putting him in a state of animation until the ice was frozen. Bunny's hot, spiked fever had provided the heat for that. Apparently, when Jack inhaled the water from the lake, his naturally cold body, combined with the below freezing temperatures of the lake instantly solidified the water in him, turning it to ice, preserving him. Luckily, Phil was able to stabilize his condition and eventually started spending less and less time in the room with Jack.
It was Bunny that now had his worry. He had simply shifted from one extreme to the next: hypothermia to raging fever, with a rapidly deteriorating health. And the worst part of it was that Phil could only do so much. It was up to Bunny to find the strength, like Jack, to fight the illness off. But, once again like Jack, the problem seemed to be focused mainly in his heart and mind.
Then, on March 25th, Phil received a request from Jack, which he passed on to Sandy. A request that reached its way to Bunny via North, giving him hope and actually spurning his condition on for the better.
Jack wanted to see Sandy.
I could see the joy hop in the other's eyes. Maybe Jack was finally coming to his senses, and was ready to talk. But I knew better. This was nothing more than a house call. I'd been monitoring him from afar, and he knew it; how could he not. I saw the nightmares he put himself through (nothing of Pitch's doing). He wanted release from them; because it was one of the last things he needed driving him mad.
The Voices inside him were taking over, and I was the only one who could provide that release. Even the painkillers and medicine given to knock him out wasn't working. He needed something stronger; something I could provide.
The first night and the many that followed were much alike. Except, on the first night, I tried speaking to him. I did not show him how I agonized like the rest. I did not pressure him or put guilt on him by talking of the others or the children who missed his snow. Instead, I told him how glad we were to know he was alive. How happy we were to know there was a chance for us to be a family once more. But he just glared at me in this cold way, and I knew he hadn't forgiven me for what I'd done.
Dejectedly, I resigned myself to the fact that he was not yet ready to free me or anyone else from our chains of guilt. So I did the one thing I could do for him; I gave him the safety of peace and quiet.
For three months more, this continued. He would eat with me, and allow me and Phil to care for him; but he would not speak, would not mourn or cry or scream. Just… lie there, watching us, judging us and thinking. Over what, I do not know. And I had the burden of coming out every day to the hopeful faces of the others, only to shake my head and watch their faces fall. But they didn't give up. "He can't go on like this forever, he can't ignore our care we're ready to give him…" Tooth would say, and we all ignored the one word left off at the end: right?
And she was right.
It was June 25th, exactly six months from when Jack had first asked for me. Night had fallen quickly that day, and I was preparing him for my Dream Sand, when his hand reached out and grasped on to me. He didn't say a word, and I showed not a picture, but I could see, in his eyes, the words he couldn't describe. I saw his tentativeness as he forgave me. I took what I saw and made the sand around me create the pictures of his unsaid words. When we were through, he nodded, and gave me a smile that lifted the burdens from my shoulders and eased my heart of guilt.
With an easy smile on my face, I patted his head and sent him off to a calmer place. And though he still was not ready to speak to anyone, I knew, through what he has shown me, he was on his way to fixing the wrong caused by us all.
There was a lot of contemplation among ourselves that day when Sandy left Jack's room, giving us a nod instead of a head shake for once. It surprised us so much, we froze in the middle of our own head shakes. No matter how much was pressed for an explanation, he simply held up a finger to his lips and winked. In time, he seemed to be saying. With time.
Another six months passed that way, and it was soon December first. A joyous day when Sandy came up to me and told me Jack was ready. A month earlier, North had been to see him for a week. Afterword, he looked much like Sandy; freed of burden, happier for it, yet still worried for us. His heart, he had said afterward, was lighter. "And the time will come when you may experience the gift he has given us. Until then, patience." And he'd walked off humming a tune under his breath.
A week earlier, I'd overheard him telling Bunny that Jack had a lot still to relieve from his system, and it annoyed me that the boys seemed to want to spare me the burden of their words. As if I didn't have other ones I was carrying.
I must have looked the way I felt when I flew into Jack's room, because he greeted me with an eyebrow raised. The sight took a second for me to comprehend, considering how very, very different it looked from before. In fact, he looked so much more like himself; I felt a tear drop from my eye.
"O-oh, it's nothing," I tittered lightly, wiping it away. Softly, I floated down beside him on his bed, and we spent at least half an hour in silence, looking at the other when we believed them not to be looking, musing in our own thoughts. Eventually, Phil knocked and came in. Before shooing me out, I promised Jack I'd be back.
For over a period of two weeks, I talked to him of light things at first; Baby Tooth and the antics of the other fairies, about collected teeth and how I wished the children would brush just a little better. How Bunny and North should give out sugar free candy on their holidays and their continued mule-headedness to ignore me.
Eventually, though, the topic had to come up. Of what I saw that day at the lake. I tried to hold off on it, but with all things wrong, they must be told and tried. As I spoke – of the fear, the shock, the panic - I stared down at my hands. It was like I was there again, reliving the moment, and before I could stop it, a small sob escaped. And, whether it be credited to my feminine air, or the fact I had finally come to tell my story, Jack reached out and forgave me with a look and two words. "I'm sorry."
I plunged forward, oblivious to his flinch and hugged him, smothering him in kisses from the top of his head to his cheeks and eyes and chin. I covered him in hugs and tears. "Don't say that to me, Jack, but to yourself. Forgive yourself first. I mean, it's great you've forgiven me. I can't tell you how grateful and happy and light of burden I feel now… but you must come first." And then, with a motherly kiss to his forehead, and while holding his hands, I told him he must take the last leap and forgive Bunny, and talk to him. That that is what his heart now needed.
I could see his indecision. Yet after a brief struggle seen in his eyes, he agreed, slightly smiling for me. And my heart soared with a hummingbird's joy.
They'd all had their turn, each of them. Sandy, North, Tooth… even Phil I suppose, if you wanted to stretch it and rub it in my face. Come Christmas Eve, I was the only one left still standing. Tooth consoled me,
"You're one of the closest people to him, Bunny, and one of the last to hold him before he died. You brought him back to life, and you love him. He's just trying to figure out his own feelings right now."
"Love him? Who said I loved that little devil mite?" I snapped back, shaking my head as I stood up and began to walk away.
"Bunny, you can't walk away from the truth!" I heard her call after, to which I so lovingly replied:
"You've all lost your heads!" And to me, it seemed true. Ever since Jack had seen and forgiven them, they'd been back to their –almost- normal selves. I seemed to be the only one around the place still sulking.
Despite having just recovered two weeks ago from the raging fever caused by hypothermia, I stepped outside onto one of North's many balconies. Fresh, crisp air with the smell of cookies and pine from the open glass doors behind me wafted around and around, making me almost dizzy. Growling slightly to myself, I spun and slammed the French pane doors shut, closing my eyes and sighing. Eventually, I was breathing in the smell of fresh snow and stars. A good smell, away from all of the Christmas cookies, eggnog, hot chocolate and coffee that permeated the air. In fact, I had smelled that for almost a year now and I believed even the smell of my own Warren would make me sick. I just wanted something crisp and without much of a smell to it. I wanted fresh air…
I was just beginning to smile when the doors behind me once again whooshed open, engulfing me in the smells I'd wanted so much to avoid. I didn't know whether to shout or cry, so instead, I settled for turning around, ready to kick the elf who had most likely ruined my peace.
Just as I was about to let lose my kick, I caught sight of Tooth.
"Bunny? What are you doing?" she half laughed, giving me a smile and raised eyebrow. I could feel my own eyes wide open.
"Uh, n-nothing. Thought you were an elf."
"Right, well, put your foot down Hopper, Jack's ready to see you." I gulped, following her inside and through the swarms of yetis and elves. A few patted me on the back, and the elves that tried to jump and pat me usually missed and ended up falling on the floor. Everything was in high definition and my fight or flight instincts were kicking in. What the bloody hell is wrong with me?
Finally, we turned a corner and were thrown into sudden silence. I could hear my heart pounding at a thousand miles an hour and wondered if Tooth could hear it too. She stopped in front of the infirmary's door. Patting me lightly on the shoulder, she smiled.
"It'll be fine, Bunny. It's time for you two to heal each other." And then, she disappeared. Heal each other… wonder what she means by that. Breathing in deeply only to let it out on a half-choked sigh, I entered, softly closing the door behind me.
There he was, still in the same bed, by the same window, looking out it at the snowy tundra beyond. Only this time, the moon swathed him in light instead of an evening sun. He'd no doubt heard me enter, but we pretended like I hadn't. It gave me a chance to walk up to him and see how much he had changed… how much he looked like his old self again. His skin was still pale, but had a light pink ting to it. His hair was back to its lily white color, which I was thankful for, and while still looking thin, did not look delicate or… dead.
Slowly, I lowered myself onto the bed next to him, leaning on my paws.
"Twelve months, and you didn't request for a guest room?" I asked, saying the third thing that had come to mind. The first two being … inappropriate for the time being.
However, he continued to ignore me, pretending I wasn't there. I frowned, but was determined not to let it get to me. Give him some time…
"Well, at least you get a good view. The only view from the room I was in was a ceiling, if you get what I mean," I joked, reaching over to nudge him, but thinking better of it and pulling back. Still, I was ignored. "Alright- umm, so, Sandy and the others, they, uh, they got stuff off their chests I'm guessing." Not even a nod. "You should see them around the place. It's like they were given the best gift in the world the way they go on about the place. Though I'm sure being forgiven will do that to you…" That did get a reaction out of him; but not one I was able to handle well. A simple glance out of the corner of his eyes that spoke in volumes.
I huffed, feeling myself shake in-in… I didn't know anymore. I suppose it was the stress and the look that finally pushed me over the edge.
"Look, Jack. I don't know what you expect from me, but I'm not going to be as sweet or dodgy as the others. I'm not going to shut up or take your silence like the others have. Hell, do you know what I've been through this past year? Maybe I'm overreacting, I mean, I haven't seen you in the time that the others have. There's gotta be a reason you left me for last. And I don't think I'm reading too much into it." Too agitated to sit, I stood up and began pacing, not noticing his eyes that were now on me.
"Dammit, Jack, I know what you've been through, it's gotta be hell, but did you ever think maybe I'm going through hell too? Not knowing how you are, and the day you pushed me away and just… just ran! I… I was so scared," from almost shouting to whispering, I became shaky in the legs and plopped heavily down on the sheets beside him once more. "God, Jack, I thought… we thought you were dead. I spent so long in here, barely recovered, driving myself mad with what-ifs and guilt. I couldn't take it, and then… then I held you and you – you breathed! I wanted to cry and leap for joy… but you told us to leave, and my heart broke… Jack, I couldn't take it, I was ready to give up right alongside you, and I don't know why, but now…" I looked up and was captured by his eyes. His blue eyes. They weren't cold, or unforgiving. Instead, they were the warmest, bluest eyes I'd ever seen. Blue like the ting of the sky in Australia. The blue ting seen at the edges of a fire. "But now… I know… and I care for you more than a brother ever should, Jack."
The moment I said it, I saw the mistake. It was too much, too soon. He began to retreat back on himself, and I called inconsistently: "No, no, no don't do this to me Jack. Please, please Jack, I'm sorry!" He froze, but I didn't comprehend. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that, I was wrong. Oh, God Jack I was wrong on so many levels, on so many things. We all were, and we don't deserve your forgiveness. But if only you'll have our apologies, Jack, i-if only-" and I was starting to sob, and I felt so weak and stupid for it…
Then, my nose turned cold, like a snowflake touching a spring flower. Through my tears I saw a blurry image of Jack, who had just nipped my nose with a kiss.
"It's okay Bunny, it's okay…"
Three years later
Today, the scars were gone.
Physically and mentally. Something only Manny could give me; his own apology. And I can't say I'm unhappy about it at all.
Three years ago, I hit a rut so deep I thought I could only dig it deeper… But then I was reminded of the family I now had. Of people who cared for me so much that they felt my pain just as deeply as I did.
And the Voices are gone. Bunny can be thanked for that. I finally found who I was looking for, no matter how cliché that sounds. Someone to talk to, to annoy and play pranks on. And most of all, someone to come back to at the end of the day, who will hold me in their arms and tell me it would all be okay.
I finally meant something. And the Voices said nothing in return for there was nothing I could handle alone anymore; because I finally had a family.
I know BunnyxJack isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I suppose you could always "pretend" that it was some other character in his place. However, that is how I wrote it and I shan't be fixing it. Also, I'm not attacking anyone or calling anyone out. I actually am glad this point was brought up and wanted to address so there isn't any confusion. And if you have any requests you'd like for me to write, go ahead and message me (I think it's turned on;;). Sorry for the long author's notes... I talk so much, aish.
I think this was more along the lines of the ending I had originally planned. I hope it does justice to the original story. I worked pretty hard on this, and it turned out longer than I imagined, but I am always much better at writing angst than happy stuff. Anyways, if there was something you didn't like about it, or DID, please comment; it helps me construct my writing. This was actually kinda fun to write and I didn't feel that "rushy" thing writers can sometimes get (hopefully it's not just me). There's just one thing I was worried about: did I catch the other characters well in here? I focused mainly on that since I spent the entire other chapter on Jack. I'm sure you can imagine what he was going through, so I wanted to show the turmoil of the other Guardians. Thank you for asking for another chapter: I was able to wrap it up a bit more. And if you actually read my author's note, I'll get North to send over some elves with cookies (just don't feed them!)