RotG || BunnyFrost || RotG || Most Treasured Memory || RotG || BunnyFrost || RotG
Title: Most Treasured Memory – Easter Bunny, Hop, Hop, Hop!
Fandom: DreamWorks; Rise of the Guardians
RotG Disclaimer: All rights reserved to DreamWorks. The book said movie is based of though is property of Joyce Williams. This fanfiction on the other hand is entirely mine. No money is made with this, though reviews are more than welcomed.
Warnings: shounen-ai, family fluff, a bit angsty, h/c
Main Pairing: Bunny/Jack
Rise of the Guardians Characters: Jackson Overland Frost, E. Aster Bunnymund, Nicholas Saint North, Toothiana, Sanderson ManSnoozie, Baby Tooth, Sophia Overland (Jack's mom), James Overland (Jack's dad)
Summary: Now that Pitch is defeated and Jack has his teeth, he reluctantly goes through his memories, just to remember one slightly embarrassing and also a bit hurtful memory. Little Jack had always believed in the guardians and he had also encountered at least one of them. The question at hand now is... Does Bunny remember it too...?
I'm having some writing-issues these days and the only thing even remotely lifting my mood is Rise of the Guardians, which I have watched five times by now. And I'm totally obsessing over Bunny and Jack, so to cure my writer's block I tried to piece a little something about them together. It was fun, but it wasn't helping me any, sadly enough. So... I'll probably have to write more BunnyFrost/Jackrabbit/whateveryoucallit to get my head cleaned out in what little time my exams left me... So, big apology to all my regular readers that I'm not offering PJatO-goodness here, but stress has me uninspired to continue all the laid-out plots and I needed something new to feel better!
Last note, damn it all, I love that movie and am sooo freaking happy that I'll see it on the big screen on Sunday FINALLY! For the first time! (Online quality is sooo crappy...)
Oh! Right, one more thing! I'm terribly sorry for every word Aster says, because I fail so hard on accent. I failed enough understanding it (I think there are still parts of what he said that I didn't understand even after five times of watching and I didn't understand a single word the first time I watched it... Australian accent sounds hilarious, but it's completely foreign to me... But Hugh Jackman's voice is great, I didn't know he sounded that awesome in real... *heaves a fangirl sigh*)!
Most Treasured Memory
Easter Bunny, Hop, Hop, Hop!
Jack sat in a tree next to his lake, staring thoughtful at the golden box in his hand.
Pitch was gone, the memories though were still there. And now that the fight was over, he finally had time to look into it. But he was reluctant. Was it... right to look at them? Did he truly want to remember his old life? Remember what he had lost? The friends and family he had lost?
A buzzing sound next to his ear pulled him out of his thoughts. Blinking a couple of times, he looked up to see Baby Tooth flying around his head in fast circles.
"Woah, slow it down, Baby", chuckled Jack as he started to feel dizzy.
The tiny fairy stopped abruptly and lowered herself onto the golden box, giving him a curious and also slightly irritated glare. Jack mouthed an O. Tooth was most likely searching frantically for the box since she had been doing inventory for days now, trying to put every box of valuable memories back to the place they belonged. Jack gripped it a bit tighter and pressed it against his chest. Baby Tooth made a soothing sound and nudged her head against his cheek.
"I'll give them back to Tooth so she can protect them, I promise", murmured Jack and patted the fairy. "But... I... have to look at them, I have to see..."
He left the rest of the sentence hanging, biting his lower lip in wonder. Baby Tooth tilted her head, frowning confused. She didn't understand his problem. He needed to look at them and then return them to her queen, what was there to contemplate? Taking Jack's thumb and pulling on it, she tried to animate him to finally open the box and take a peek into his memories.
"I... guess you're right. Now that I have them, I should probably open them..."
His hand was only shaking the slightest bit, his heart beating so fast, he felt as if Bunny was thumping inside his chest. Blushing the faintest purple, he shook his head. He didn't understand why most of his thoughts led to the Easter Kangaroo these days. But this, right here, right now, was not about Bunny, it was only about Jack and about his past...
A golden light embraced him as he lifted the lid of the box, filling him with a warmth he had not felt in... Well, never as far as he truly remembered.
The light started to dim down. As the Winter Spirit blinked to regain focus again, he found himself in a home. Not just a house, a real home. The fireplace was cackling with burning wood, a soft fur was laying in front of it, a table and four chairs standing somewhat in the background. Seeing it made Jack's heart flutter in recognition. This was his home. He could hear a door opening behind him and joyful laughter ring through the room. His body stiffened.
"Jack! Jack, slow it down, you are going to trip if you're not cautious!", laughed a soft voice.
A small child, maybe five years old, ran past Jack to intentionally fall down onto the fur, turning onto his back to spread his legs and arms apart and grin broadly up. The boy had light brown eyes, wide and full of hope, joy and wonder. His dark brown hair fell into his face and he tried to blow it out of his sight, just for it to fall back down into his sun-kissed face. They could not look more different, yet Jack still recognized this little boy as himself. Though he did not yet dare to turn around. The only clear memory he had so far was only of him and his sister. Of his own death. He had heard the soft voice of his mother in it, yet he had not seen her face. Though his mother took that decision from him as she slowly walked up to the child and tenderly pushed the bangs out of his face, poking his nose in a teasing manner.
"I think it's time to cut your hair again, Jack", smiled the woman.
She was beautiful, long, dark hair curling around her lithe frame, a soft smile on her lips and love shining in her eyes. His mother, the woman whose heart he had most likely broken by dying.
"Mommy, no, no time for that!", exclaimed little Jack wide-eyed and sat up.
He gestured widely with his arms, making the Frost Spirit laugh slightly. Did he look as scatterbrained and, dare he say it, cute when he stumbled over all the thoughts he tried to put into words...? His mother seemed to think similar, as she wrapped her arms around her child, laughing softly and pulling him into a tight hug. She folded her calves beneath her thighs and got comfortable on the fur, running her fingers through her son's hair.
"Why is that, Jack?", smiled the woman. "Are you still trying to catch the Tooth Fairy?"
"Yes!", exclaimed mini-Jack, grinning widely and showing his three missing teeth. "This time I will see her! I have to see her, mommy! You said she's all pretty and nice, I want to meet her!"
"Ah, but you know she won't show herself", chuckled his mother and shook her head. "She is very, very busy. So she only comes in the darkest hour, at times when little boys like you are already enjoying all the beautiful dreams the Sandman brings to you."
She had started tickling his belly at 'little boys like you', having a squirming and giggling five years old laying in her lap, trying to fight her off. A tender smile laid on her lips.
"Bu—ut mommy!", tried the child to protest. "I want to see them! I want to meet them! The others don't believe me when I tell them that they're real! They say I'm only pulling another prank on them, but you said they're real and that means they are! But I have to find proof!"
He pouted stubbornly as his mother finally stopped to tickle him. A thoughtful look laid on her face as she stared down at her son. The pout melted away from little Jack's face at that and he blinked.
"Well, if you have to see them...", started his mother in a slow voice. "Tomorrow is Easter. You could maybe, if you're fast and swift enough, get to see the Easter Bunny..."
"The Easter Bunny?", repeated the child, his eyes wide and sparkling. "Really? What's he like?"
"He's the fastest and most thoughtful", smiled his mother. "But you will have to see that yourself."
"Sophia, are you putting those ridiculous thoughts into his head again?"
The soft smile on his mother's lips died down just the slightest bit as she turned to face Jack. No, the man behind Jack. The Winter Spirit turned slightly to see a tall, broad man with a frown on his face entering the little hut, his arms crossed over his chest.
"They are not ridiculous, James", chided Sophia and let go of her son.
"Why ridiculous, daddy?", asked little Jack confused as he ran up to his father.
He stretched his arms out in a silent demand to be lifted up into his father's arms. James Overland grunted slightly and bend down to lift the boy. He looked deep into the kid's eyes.
"Your mother thinks that the Easter Bunny is greater than Saint Nicholas", grunted James.
"Saint Nicholas...?", blinked his son curiously.
"Yes", nodded the man solemnly and walked over to sit beside his wife. "The great Saint Nicholas, who delivers presents to every child on the Eve of Christmas."
"Presents he made with the help of his elves", huffed Sophia, her arms crossed over her chest. "While the Easter Bunny paints all the eggs with love! Himself, not some stupid elves!"
The boy between them frowned and looked from his father over to his mother, a thoughtful expression in his brown eyes. Until it turned into one of determination.
"I will meet them both and then I will tell them that you two can't agree and then they will laugh because I am sure they work together! They have loads and loads of things to do, after all! They certainly help each other!", nodded little Jack, pleased with himself.
"Do that, my dear", smiled his mother and leaned in to kiss his nose. "And then you tell the Easter Bunny that I'm his biggest supporter and that he is doing great."
"Not as great as Saint Nicholas", grunted James stubbornly and ruffed his son's hair. "Now go to bed, Jackson. It's getting dark and you don't want to be awake when the Tooth Fairy arrives or she will return without doing her job. Come, boy."
Lifting the young brunette into his arms, he carried him out of the room. "Tell me a bedtime story about Bunny and Nicholas? Please, please, please? And Tooth Fairy and Sandman!"
"Of course, my boy", chuckled his father amused.
Jack felt as if he was frozen to the spot as he watched himself being carried out of the room. The joyful laughter of his mother got his attention. As she too stood to follow her husband and son, Jack ran up to them to listen in. The tall man was crouched on a small bed, with his son resting in his arms, staring up at him curiously. Sophia also climbed into the bed, as good as possible.
"The Easter Bunny is the strongest, fiercest bunny in the whole world", smiled Jack's mother softly, running her fingers through her son's hair. "He lives in a place full of color and joy and laughter, the epitome of spring and hope. And there he paints the most amazing things onto eggs to brings smiles to the children's faces when they get to search for the eggs on Easter."
Jack marveled at the serious yet joyful expression on his mother's face. She truly was being serious. She believed what she was saying. He had... not known that his parents believed in the guardians. Ice blue eyes softened a bit as he watched the little family cozily snuggled together. Leaning against his staff, he listened idly to his mother's tale and his father's booming voice as he widely disagreed with her and spurted tales of the wonders of Christmas until little Jack between them was sound asleep. Both his parents kissed his forehead and tugged him in, not without placing a tooth under the pillow. Even after they left, Jack did not feel like ending the memory. He needed time to digest it. He had parents. Loving parents. And once, he had been a child himself, believing in the guardians... He wondered briefly if he would be able to return to this Easter Sunday if he'd leave now, but he was too afraid he wouldn't be able to track it down. So he'd rather spend all night leaning against his staff, watching himself sleep peacefully, for once rather patiently waiting. Waiting for the next day to come. At one point, a mini fairy flew in to exchange the tooth for a little something, though little Jack was too deep asleep to notice.
For a moment, he wondered if it was Baby Tooth, but the tiny thing had flown off so fast... Jack was eager for the next day to arrive. He wanted to look for himself if he may spot the Easter Kangaroo somewhere. Bunny, three hundred years younger. If he looked any different? Acted any different? He just needed to be sneakier than his younger self. If memories worked that way? Could he walk out of little Jack's reach and explore the surroundings on his own? See if Bunny was somewhere around? Well, he hoped so. He would like to see the Easter Kangaroo's younger self. He'd also like to see the Easter Kangaroo in general. Everybody had been so busy since Pitch's defeat... Not just Tooth with putting all teeth back where they belonged and checking if any were missing, but North and Bunny had to clean their places too, they were pretty messed up after their encounters with the Nightmare King. Jack shuddered at the memory. Even though the miniature Bunny had looked adorable, it had freaked him out to see the proud, strong warrior in such a defenseless and small state. All because of him. If he would have listened to Baby Tooth, if he wouldn't have been that curious, he would have been able to...
"It's Easter!", the loud exclamation, way before dawn, pulled Jack out of his thoughts.
Shaking his head, the Winter Spirit stared at the eager child, who fell out of the bed. The boy was tangled in his sheets, hopping around like a little bunny as he tried to reach the door. Jack chuckled amused, tilting his head as he watched himself fighting off his covers to hurry out. An odd thought crossed Jack's mind, making him blush a bright purple as he watched the hopping child. What would his and Bunny's children look like? Hopping little winter spirits?
"Mommy, mommy, mommy! Eggs, eggs, eggs!", exclaimed mini Jack loudly.
"Hush now, Jackson, don't be so loud", grunted his father sleepily. "It's not even dawn yet. Go back to bed, boy, the bloody Easter Bunny isn't even awake yet! And neither is your mother."
The little brunette frowned for a second before running out of the house. The Guardian of Fun blinked surprised at the boy's cheekiness. Running away like that? Jack took off to follow himself. The white-haired boy flew after the little boy into the dusty darkness until they reached the lake.
"Bunny? Bunny!", called little Jack loudly, whirling around with wide eyes. "Easter Bunny!"
Jack shook his head at that amused, hovering above his younger self. A rustling of the bushes caught both Jacks' attention. A blur of bluish gray fur ran off toward the lake. Little Jack yelped.
"Bunny!", screamed the child excitedly and started off for a moment before freezing.
The Winter Spirit could practically see the wheels turning inside his younger self's head. If he'd run up around the lake, he stood no chance to follow the rabbit. But if he'd take a short-cut through the lake, he'd stand a chance. He would just have to skip over the stones along the shore.
"Bunny, wait, wait, wait!", called the boy determined and jumped onto the first stone. "Bunny, Bunny! Hop." He jumped again. "Hop." And another jump. "Ho—op."
But the last stone he jumped onto was slippery with moss. A strangled yelp escaped his lips as he crashed into the lake, waving his arms frantically, his eyes wide in panic.
"H—Help, mommy, daddy! Help, Bunny!", screamed the boy desperately.
Okay, so he couldn't swim at the age of five. New information, stowed away. Gulping hard, he watched himself fighting against the water to stay above the surface with his head. The Winter Spirit closed his eyes tightly, unsure if he wanted to see what happened next.
"Argh, ya little ankle-biter, can't let me do my work", huffed a well-known voice.
The Guardian of Fun blinked surprised and stared down at his lake. The annoyed kangaroo was holding a dripping five years old Jack in one hand, glaring at him. The child was coughing, trying to regain his breath, but at the same time staring wide-eyed at the Easter Bunny.
"You—You're the... the... the...", stammered the child nervously.
"Easter Bunny, mate", huffed Bunny with one raised eyebrow.
"Yes!", agreed Jack and nodded vigorously, clapping his hands excitedly. "Easter Bunny! You're real! You're the real, real, real Easter Bunny! Are you as strong and fast as mommy says?"
"Yer mom told ye about me?", chuckled Bunny amused and put the kid down.
"Yes!", nodded the little boy. "She really, really likes you and mommy and daddy often fight about if Easter is better than Christmas and mommy always says you're the best!"
"Ah, yer momma is one clever sheila", grunted Bunny pleased and nodded. "Anyway, ankle-biter, gotta dash. Eggs to hide, ya know? Be good and watch out for yourself better."
He ruffled the brown hair affectionately, though before he could run off, he felt little hands clinging to his fur. Both, the Easter Bunny and the Winter Spirit, stared surprised at the kid.
"I—I don't want eggs", mumbled Jack and bit his lips. "A... And you can tell Saint Nicholas that I don't need Christmas presents either! Like ever, ever, ever again! Can... Can you give me a sister, please? I don't even care if it's an older sister or a younger! But if you give me that, I will never need any presents again!"
The Easter Bunny looked taken aback at that, though the look was soon replaced by a smirk. "I'll see what I can do, bugger. Gotta talk to the stork about that one. But now I really have to leave."
"A... And... will I see you again, Bunny?", asked little Jack with wide, wondrous eyes.
"Who knows, but don't think I'll let ye out of sight, ankle-biter. Someone's gotta watch out for ya."
The brown eyes sparkled in excitement and joy, the broadest grin possible spread over Jack's face as he nodded hastily in agreement. He reluctantly let go of the paw on his head and within a second, the Easter Bunny was gone. The Guardian of Fun blinked astonished, staring down at himself. But the little boy was so overwhelmed, clinging to a blue-painted egg that had appeared with the bunny's leave. Little Jack looked as if that egg was the biggest treasure on the planet.
"Easter Bunny...", whispered the child in awe. "I have to go and tell mommy!"
The boy's smile seemed to shine. No, it wasn't the smile, it was the end of the memory...
Jack clutched his head as the real world came into focus again. Baby Tooth stared up at him in worry. Shaking his head, the Winter Spirit frowned down at the little fairy.
"What's up, Baby Tooth?", asked the white-haired boy confused.
The fairy was holding onto a little ice-crystal. At first, Jack was confused by this. But then he noticed the falling ice-crystals. Falling from his cheeks. Blinking the frozen tears away, the Winter Spirit stood, clutching the golden box even tighter.
"Time to return my memories", muttered Jack with a frown.
He didn't want to know more. It only hurt. What good did it do him, really? He would only remember what he didn't have anymore and what he would never get back. A family. Taking off with the wind carrying him, he made his way over to Tooth's palace, the fastest way possible. Baby Tooth had a hard time following him, but as soon as they reached the palace, she caught up with him. Because he froze stunned as he flew through the window. The tiny fairy, not noticing his sudden halt, collided with his hand and knocked the box of teeth out of it. It fell down onto the floor, the noise breaking the rapid chatter of the beings present, all attention suddenly drawn to Jack and Baby Tooth. Toothiana was the first to react, reaching down to take the box.
"Jack...?", asked the Tooth Fairy slowly, uncertain as to what his facial expression may mean.
"I... just wanted to return them, I figured they'd be saver with you", mumbled Jack and backed off a bit. "It seems you guys are busy anyway..."
"Ah, yes!", laughed North loudly. "Busy indeed! Tooth asked for help, what with all the teeth needing to be returned to their place, she so busy with collecting, she needed some help."
Jack wouldn't want to admit it, but it hurt more than it should to see the four guardians together. Sandy was happily flying around, handling five boxes at once, while Bunny and North seemed to be in the middle of an argument, or at least they had been until Jack had interrupted them.
"Yes", laughed Tooth a bit nervously, still trying to figure his mood out. "We thought it would be faster if we'd help each other out a bit."
"And we figured you'd not be of much help when it comes to cleaning up a mess, yer better at making the mess", huffed Bunny, at least until North shoved his elbow into the Pooka's ribs.
The Easter Bunny huffed again, following North's finger to look at the Winter Spirit. Bunny's face fell as he saw the hurt look in those crystal blue eyes. He sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Tooth thought ye want to look at yer memories first", grunted the Easter Bunny slowly.
"Yes", agreed North and clapped his hands. "Now that you're done, you can help! Come here, boy! Plenty of things to do! My workshop is next!"
"What? No!", growled the Pooka, his ears perking up. "The Warren is next!"
"Ah, but Christmas more important than Easter", chuckled North and shook his head.
"Jack? Are you okay?", asked Tooth softly, gaining the attention of the two quarreling guardians back. "You look a bit... winded up? Was there an unpleasant memory you watched?"
"No", replied Jack and shook his head, slowly landing on the ground.
"Then why are ye crying, Frostbite?", grunted Bunny frowning.
The white-haired boy blinked confused, touching his cheeks. Where did all those stupid tears come from today? He jumped slightly as he felt a broad hand on his back. Looking up, he saw the kind face of North. He was still not used to being touched. Well, not even to being seen, actually.
"You need eggnog. And candy canes! Everything better with candy canes, da?", smiled North.
Blinking the tears away, Jack turned slightly to catch the rapidly moving dream-sand above Sandy's head. He had a hard time putting the images together to a proper sentence, but then he understood.
"I'm fine, really", reassured the Winter Spirit and shook his head, biting his lower lip.
"Well, if yer fine, ye can help", huffed the Pooka annoyed. "The faster we're done here, the faster we can get to the Warren – Which. Is. Next."
"Ah, workshop is next", disagreed North and shook his head vigorously. "Christmas more important than Easter, my friend."
"Sounded quite different a couple days ago, mate", grunted Bunny, giving North a dirty look.
"Yes, that was then, now is now", chuckled the Guardian of Wonder. "Christmas is greater."
Jack, already loaded with ten boxed of teeth, stumbled slightly. The argument reminded him of what he now remembered about his parents. Bunny, who was so distracted by his argument with North, didn't notice how the teen had stopped, thus bumping into the boy. Both guardians stumbled, Jack nearly hitting the ground face-first. But a strong paw around his waist pressed him up against a furry chest, the Pooka's other arm stretched out to keep them off the ground. A blush frosted Jack's cheeks as he felt the new warmth of the fur against himself.
"Yer out of it, Frostbite", noted Bunny a bit confused and pushed them off the ground.
As they stood again, Jack found himself unwilling to move away from the Pooka. He was a spirit of winter, he shouldn't enjoy warmth like that, but the soft fur and the radiating body heat of the older guardian were somehow pleasant. It saddened the eternal teen a bit when Bunny let go of him.
"What's bothering you, Jack?", asked Tooth softly, resting a delicate hand on his head.
"You... saved my life...", muttered the teen after a moment of silence, staring up into Aster's eyes.
"Doubt ye would have died with that fall, Snowflake", chuckled the Easter Bunny amused.
"No, not now", whispered Jack and shook his head. "When I was five."
An eery silence fell between the five guardians, the only sound being the fluttering of the tiny fairies' wings. The four older guardians were staring at their newest member confused.
"Na", grunted Aster and shook his head. "I would remember such an annoying ankle-biter with white hair and mischief in his mind."
"I was brunette and I lived in Burgess. It was Easter."
Jack stared intensely into Aster's eyes, the Easter Bunny being sure this wasn't a hoax from the teen. The wheels in his head went into overdrive as Aster thought back. When Jack had been five... 313 years ago? In Burgess? But that couldn't be. The Easter Bunny, without noticing the odd looks he received from his colleagues, stepped up to Jack, lifting the boy's head to look at his face from all angles, staring intensely into those ice-blue eyes.
"The little ankle-biter that fell into the lake and screamed for ma help", muttered Aster wide-eyed. "The one that wanted a little sheila as a present. I talked to the stork about it..."
"Yeah", nodded Jack slowly, a slight smile on his lips. "My sister."
"Oh?", asked Tooth delighted. "You had a sister?"
The Winter Spirit blinked a few times and turned around, the teeth cradled closely to his chest as he walked off to put them away. "Yes. I died for her."
Silence returned, the older guardians watching Jack with wide eyes before exchanging a couple of worried looks. They hadn't known that Jack had died before he became a guardian.
"What does that mean, Jack?", asked North with a frown, following him.
Tooth flew after them, hovering above the teenager, Sandy and Bunny walking up behind the white-haired man to look questioningly at the Winter Spirit. It seemed as if Jack tried to ignore them.
"It... was the first memory I saw, of my sister and me on the lake", shrugged the Guardian of Fun as casual as possible. "The lake was frozen. Not frozen enough though. She would have fallen through, but I pulled her out of the way. And crashed instead. I drowned, the moon pulled me out and made me what I am now, though he took my memories from me, I guess."
"Oh, Jack...", sighed the Tooth Fairy with a worried look in her eyes.
"No", grunted Jack and shook his head, avoiding eye-contact with the other guardians. "She was a great kid. She was my sister. It's alright. Besides, if I wouldn't have died, I wouldn't have become a spirit and then I wouldn't have been able to help you defeating Pitch."
Bunny seemed to be the only one getting that Jack didn't wish to talk about this anymore. "Now get back to work, my Warren needs cleaning too!"
The tension broke and the Easter Bunny and North started their bantering again.
They had all been too exhausted by the end of the day to continue their work. So they had agreed to meet up at Bunny's Warren tomorrow around noon. But for now, the Pooka was alone with his thoughts. Laying on his back on the soft grass, he let his thoughts wander.
He remembered the little ankle-biter in Burgess all those years ago. It wasn't every Easter that a kid would nearly die on his watch and call for his help, after all. The boy had been adorable and Bunny had kept his promise to the child, talking to the stork and always on Easter checking on the little family. But when one Easter the boy was gone, he had assumed the by then eighteen years old had moved out and started his own family and life. He wouldn't have thought the teen had died.
Guilt started to invade the Pooka's mind. He had called the teen unqualified to be a guardian, had openly stated how much he had been against Jack becoming a guardian. Now knowing the boy had died for a child, remembering what a dedicated believer he had been during his life...
Bunny frowned, hating how he couldn't take his mind off the white-haired nuisance these days. It was true, he had been against the notion of Jack becoming a guardian and he had blamed the boy for how Easter got ruined this year. But that the winter spirit had made Jamie believe in him again... It had made the Pooka feel somewhat guilty and it had also made Aster's stomach flutter in a not very appreciated way. Grunting slightly, Bunny turned onto his side and closed his eyes.
He shouldn't feel guilty concerning that brat, the boy had ruined Easter. Maybe not intentionally this year, but '68. Something was off with that brat. He didn't notice the golden sand slowly making him drift off into a deep, well-deserved slumber, not hearing the giggles from the fairy above.
Tooth and Sandy hovered above the sleeping Pooka, exchanging a mischievous grin. The fairy, holding a golden box with a grinning brunette boy on it, smirked down at her furry friend. Sandy blew a bit more dream-sand over to Aster, it forming a tooth. The two, together with North, had decided that, to integrate Jack properly into their little family, they needed Jack and Aster to get along. After the Pooka and the Winter Spirit had left, the other three had talked about what to do. With the new revelations, they decided to play a little trick with the bunny's mind. Giving him a little insight into Jack's mind. It was Aster's mind's decision to chose which one of Jack's memory would be the most important for Aster to know. Leaving the Pooka alone with the dream, the two busy guardians left the Warren again to do their nightly business.
Aster blinked confused. This wasn't the normal setting of his dreams. It was snowy white, everything. Though he wasn't cold, an indication that this must have been a dream. Emerald green eyes darted through the whiteness, searching for something familiar, a reason as to why Sandy had send him here. The lake in Burgess, he recognized the place from their final fight against Pitch.
Not just any snowflake, mind you. His snowflake. No, where had that come from? The annoying Frostbite, sitting in the tree next to the lake, a thoughtful expression on his face.
"Oi! Frostbite, what am I doing here?!", grunted Aster a bit annoyed.
This was his dream, he should be on a relaxing widow, enjoying spring. Not at a frozen lake, watching Jack Frost. Now that he was standing right beneath the tree, staring up at the young spirit, he knew that the boy couldn't see him. He was looking right threw Aster. It made his heart clench, even worse than when the children hadn't seen him on Easter, which was ridiculous. And then he remembered that this was just a dream, making him relax a bit. It wasn't real.
"Why can't no one see me?", whispered Jack, his voice uncharacteristically broken.
At least to Aster. Though then again, not being seen by the children for a few hours had brought unbearable pain to the Pooka. Being invisible for all the life he remembered, for three hundred years? And not even having the other guardians to rely on...? Aster shuddered.
"Tell me, why am I here?", asked Jack, a slightly angry look on his face as he stared up into the sky, glaring at the moon. "You brought me here, tell me why. Why can't anyone see me?"
The wind picked up, taking off the light snowflakes to uncover a rock on the ground. Both Jack and Aster stared down at it, easily recognizing it's similarity to an egg. Ice-blue eyes lit up a bit.
"The Easter Bunny? Does he know? Or do you want to tell me that he can... see me? Because he's a creature like me? Something mythical...", muttered the Winter Spirit thoughtful. "Tomorrow is Easter. He... He's certainly around somewhere! I'll... I'll... Maybe I can talk to him!"
The sad, dark feeling that was swirling around Bunny was replaced by a very familiar one. The feeling of hope and joy. It was then that Bunny noticed that he was feeling Jack's emotions. Suddenly the Winter Spirit took off into the air, frantically flying off. Much to Aster's surprise, he too floated after the teen. Okay, sometimes Sandy's dreams really took a weird turn. He followed Jack throughout the US and beyond, listening to the boy babbling on about finally being seen or finding someone to talk to. It made Bunny's heart ache. The boy was so desperate for attention, for someone to have to talk to. It took Aster until he saw himself running through the fields before he noticed when they were. The bloody blizzard of '68.
"Hey! Are... Are you the Easter Bunny?", called Jack nervously, scooting closer.
"No, I'm the bloody groundhog", huffed dream-Aster irritated and rolled his eyes, running past the Winter Spirit. "I ain't got time for that now, get out of my way, will ya?"
"You... can hear me...", whispered the Guardian of Fun.
A feeling of overwhelming joy and hope, so intense that Aster had never felt it before, took over the Easter Bunny. That was what Jack had felt when they had first met? His past self turned to glare at the white-haired teen with one raised eyebrow.
"Seriously?", grunted the dream-version of Aster annoyed. "Yer pulling my leg, aren't ya? Of course I can hear ya, bugger. I really don't have the time for that now, it's Easter if ye haven't noticed. And I'm the Easter Bunny. I have more important things to do than listen to yer nonsense, bloody winter spirit, interrupting ma Easter."
With that, the past version of Aster ran off to finish his Easter business. Leaving a desperate Jack. The loneliness, desperation and sadness returned, just ten times worse. And with Jack's mood, the weather changed too. The snowfall got worse, the wind got even more chilly and icy. The light, nearly tender snowfall grew to a blizzard, a blizzard worse than anything Bunny had seen since the actual '68. A cold realization, even colder than the weather, gripped Aster. He had caused that blizzard, not Jack. He alone, because he had rejected a boy that had not been seen in 250 years.
Bunny bolted out of sleep, his emerald eyes wide in guilty fear. He shouldn't have been so harsh to the kid. Especially not afterwards. He had blamed the snow-controlling spirit for the blizzard and refused to talk to the kid as he had caught up with Aster after Easter.
Rubbing his eyes sleepily, he stood. It wasn't hard to figure out that Sandy and Tooth had send him one of Jack's memories as a dream. Remembering the intense and dark feelings made Bunny's stomach curl. The kid was so strong, so fierce and so fun-loving. Someone like him should have never ever felt that way. This... feeling of shattered hope. It broke Aster's heart to know that he – the Guardian of Hope – had caused it. Tapping his foot two times, he opened up a new tunnel, destination: Burgess. It was time to apologize to his snowflake and tell him how important he was to Aster. To the other guardians. Shaking his head, he tried to focus.
Shuddering slightly, he wrapped his paws around his torso as he popped up near the lake. Snow was still laying around in thick layers. He could hear the laughter of children close by, most likely the Bennett kids and their friends. But the ankle-biters weren't his reason to be here now. The wind picked up some, making Bunny notice how biting it was, even more so than normal snow days. At the bark of a tree laid a small frame, curled together to look even smaller.
"Oi, Frostbite!", called Aster loudly, hopping up to the teen, just to notice he was still asleep.
The Pooka frowned as he saw the frozen trails of tears on the boy's cheeks. He couldn't have a nightmare, Pitch was defeated. Not for all time, fear would always exist, but it should be dimmed for at least a couple of years. Leaning down, he rubbed the younger guardian's cheeks to get the crusted ice off, shuddering slightly at the cold feeling.
"Mh...?", mumbled Jack sleepily as he stirred, the bodily contact still new to him.
Ice-blue eyes widened as he looked up at Aster in surprise. The bunny smiled slightly.
"Ye had a... nightmare...?", whispered the Pooka softly.
"No", replied the Winter Spirit and shook his head. "Just... about my parents..."
"Then why did ya cry?", frowned Aster.
"Because I'll never get that back", shrugged Jack, pulling his knees up to his chest. "The family. The... feeling of belonging and being protected..."
The Easter Bunny frowned down at the teen. The boy was being serious. Shaking his head, Aster acted on a whim, cradling the Guardian of Fun in his arms and standing up.
"Ya stupid bugger", huffed Aster irritated and tapped his foot two times. "Ya got a family and a place where ya belong. The guardians are yer family now."
"W... Where are you bringing me?! Put me down, kangaroo!", exclaimed Jack.
His cheeks were frosted once more noted Aster. But not with tears. It looked like... Was that Jack's way of blushing? The bunny chuckled amused at that. How cute.
"I'm bringing ya to the Warren", replied Aster and jumped down the rabbit hole.
"W... Why...?", blinked the Winter Spirit confused, even forgetting his trashing.
"Cause ya ain't sleeping under a bloody tree, mate", grunted Aster and rolled his eyes. "Not on my watch. I had promised ya to watch out for ya when ya were an ankle-biter. Didn't do a good job with that... And I'm sorry for that, ya know."
"Did you just say... that you're... sorry...?", whispered Jack with disbelieving eyes.
"Don't make me repeat myself, bugger", huffed Aster embarrassed. "I... shouldn't have been so harsh on ya back when we first met. I've been frantic about Easter and I didn't know ya were... Well and then you ruined Easter with yer bloody blizzard. I still shouldn't have ignored ya. Now that I know what it feels like to not be seen... I'm sorry, snowflake."
"N... No problem, kangaroo", smiled the Winter Spirit softly.
"Ya will stay with me until ye got an own place ta stay. No protests."
The Easter Bunny tried to look grumpy, glaring down at the teen in a final way, though they both knew that the Pooka wouldn't be able to contain the wind-controlling guardian.
"Okay", nodded Jack, surprising both, himself and Bunny.
A stronger blush graced his cheeks as he cuddled closer to the Pooka. The soft fur felt amazing against his cheeks and beneath his finger tips. He was a spirit of winter and cold, yes, but Bunny's warmth was somehow comforting. It made him feel protected in a way he had not felt since... Since he had been with his parents and sister. The protective Pooka always made him feel safe.
"Really?", blinked Bunny, still stunned.
The Easter Bunny slowly sat down on his nest as he reached his private chambers in the Warren. He wouldn't have thought Jack would agree, much less that it would be so easy to get the boy to agree. And it wasn't helping his confusion that the Guardian of Fun was still laying in his arms, even cuddling closer now that the Pooka was sitting.
"Well, uh... You offered it, right?", asked Jack, his eyes becoming questioning and uncertain.
"Y—Yeah", nodded the rabbit hastily, feeling his face heat up some. "I was just wondering, ya would probably be better off with North, with it bein' cold an' stuff..."
"Oh", hummed the white-haired boy in understanding, his cheeks frosting once more. "I... no. I mean, I like North and all and the cold too, but... I'd rather stay... uh... with you..."
"Really?", grinned Aster, growing more comfortable, leaning back some. "Well, yer always welcome in the Warren. As long as ya don't freeze it or mess with ma eggs."
"No messing with the Warren... could be hard", smirked Jack mischievously. "But I'll try!"
The honest look in those ice-blue eyes was nearly begging, making Bunny's heart clench. "Then yer welcome here whenever ya need a place to stay. I know yer going ta bring snow and all and roam the world or whatever it is yer doing with yer ADHD set mind. But once ye grow weary or something, here's a place for ya to rest and I'll listen to ya."
The Guardian of Fun seemed to glow with happiness, the way it should. It made Bunny feel proud that he had caused it. Though that feeling got replaced by sudden shock as Jack leaned up and kissed his nose. It was such a sudden move and ended so soon that Bunny wondered if it had even happened at all or if he had just imagined it. But the very deep frosting in Jack's cheeks told him that it indeed had happened. A slightly dopey grin spread over Bunny's muzzle as he nuzzled the snowy white hair tenderly.
"Means Jack Frost will be nipping at ma nose more often now, eh?", chuckled the Easter Bunny, feeling the boy beneath him stiffing a bit. "Ah wouldn't mind that."
"Really?", asked Jack cautiously and glanced up at him.
"Really, Snowflake", replied Bunny, giving Jack's nose a soft lick. "Now sleep. Ah woke ya."
"Night, Bunny...", yawned the teen, relaxing more into the embrace again. "But... don't leave..."
"Ah wasn't planning to", smiled Aster, cradling him closer. "Ah wasn't planning to..."
~*~ The End ~*~