Jack awoke to the delicious smell of waffles with warm syrup and freshly cut fruit. His mouth watered before he even opened his eyes. Running his tongue over his lips and gazed at his nightstand. A surprised smile pulled at his lips. His stomach rumbled at the sight of the large tray loaded with enough food to do a small army. He never got used to the large portions served at Santoff Claussen. He had never ate so well when he was on his own, food was a luxury he rarely had but here it was in abundance and North always made sure he ate well, especially before leaving for his duties. The Guardian of Wonder worried a little too much at times.
Pain shot up his spine as he tried to sit up. "Ow!" he cried, slumping back down. Before he knew it Bunny was pushing him back down and adjusting the pillows to cushion his sore backside and prop him up.
"Sorry, Snowflake," Bunny said, bringing the tray over and unfolding a pair of legs and setting it before Jack. "I sort of let my animal side get the best of me last night. I've rubbed some salve into the bruises but you'll be tender for a while. Good thing is you don't have many duties for the next months or two."
Jack grinned despite the pain. "Are you implying that I'm going be trapped in bed for the next few months?" He gave Bunny a wink when he just gaped at him. "Well if I'm spoiled like this every day I might be able to get use to it."
Bunny pushed the tray aside to kiss him. Jack smiled into it, reaching up for more but his stomach grumbled, causing him to laugh.
"Sorry, I guess I'm hungry," he apologized, blushing.
The Pooka rubbed his nose against his forehead then kissed it. "You better eat. We need to go to the Globe Room for a group meeting in a few hours." He took a strawberry and popped it in Jack's mouth.
Jack chewed and swallowed. "We're having the visit up there? I thought North wanted to keep Pitch out of the Globe Room."
Bunny tilted his head to one side and raised an ear.
Rolling his eyes Jack laughed at himself. "Yeah, I know, Pitch goes where he wants." He cut into his waffle and took a bite. "So what's so important?" He raised a brow when Bunny didn't answer right away. "Bunny, what's wrong?"
For several long seconds Bunny said nothing, gazing up at the oon barely seen through the skylight and clear sky they had not seen in months. "It seems Manny needs to speak to us about a new Guardian."
"New Guardian?" he asked in excitement, his eyes wide. "Who is it? The Groundhog?" he teased before taking another bite of waffle.
Bunny took a grape and ate it before answering. "Thankfully no, not that this one's much better."
Jack only laughed. "You're too suspicious."
"In this case I have good reason," Bunny almost growled. "It's not the first time he's been called and I won't be surprised if he tells us all where to go again."
Jack brows rose. "He couldn't possibly be worse than me?" he joked, hoping to get a rise from his friend. His smile fell at the worry on Bunny's face. "Who is it?"
He shook his head and took a slice of melon. "Let's talk about something else."
"No, let's talk about this. You're obviously worried and don't like whomever this is. Who -" He was silenced by another kiss, Bunny's way of shutting him up lately. It worked quite well. Jack was able to forget about this new Guardian as he felt his stomach knot with desire. He held his Bunny close and deepened the kiss only to have him pull away.
"You're a needy little thing," Bunny teased. "You should be eating."
"I can think of better things to do," Jack teased with the most innocent smile.
"Eat, otherwise you won't ever get out of bed."
Jack gave him his best pouty face. "But Bunny, you're a rabbit, shouldn't we be going at it like bunnies? Or are you really just a grumpy old kangaroo?" He grinned when he got the desired effect.
Bunny growled and leaned over him. "I'm a bunny and in case that sweet little backside of yours doesn't bare enough proof I can ensure you won't be moving for the next month."
He got right back in his face, a mischievous glint in his eyes. "Prove it."
He let out a yelp as the tray was knocked off his lap and it was filled with Pooka. His laughter filled the room as his love ravished him and sure enough he was hurting in places he never thought could hurt but it was well worth the unimaginable pleasure that followed over and over again until he felt as if he might pass out once more. When Bunny finished his backside was even more tender and he was apologizing as he gently rubbed salve into his bruises. Jack, although sore, couldn't be happier. He was loved and desired and even if sex with Bunny hurt a bit they were together. To Jack that was all that mattered.
Laying on his belly a hiss passed his lips as Bunny rubbed a particularly sore spot. Okay, maybe they did need to be a little more gentle.
"Jack," Bunny sighed, massaging his rear. "If I hurt you I need to know right away. I might tease about you not walking for a month but I don't want to seriously hurt you."
"M'fine," Jack insisted, stretching his legs. He winced but smiled all the same. "I'm not as fragile as you guys like to think. Besides, you always make it up to me." He wiggled his bottom at Bunny. "Now I think you were giving me a massage."
"And Tooth says I'm insatiable," Bunny laughed, getting back to work, not that he was complaining, he enjoyed running his paws over Jack's body. "Sadly, snowflake, you need to get up and dressed, we've got a meeting and I can only clean you so much before I want to take you again." A Jack's laugh he gently slapped his left butt cheek earning a yelp. "Come mating season you won't be laughing. My rut can be like marathons. An hour or so will be nothing compared to an entire day."
"Promises, promises, ouch! Hey, stop that, ow!" Another two slaps to the rear had him wiggling out of Bunny's hold and scrambling out of bed despite his protesting and still muscles. He stumbled when he got to his feet but sent Bunny a glare. "That's just mean."
The Pooka smirked. "Naughty boys deserve spankings."
Jack's nose wrinkled and he turned toward his dresser. "I suppose that's better than North's Naughty list but reserve that for when I my butt not as red as a tomato."
"Actually it's more like a blueberry," Bunny teased, his grin growing at Jack's horrified expression. "Told ya, I can get rough."
Making a face, Jack stuck out his tongue, looking extremely childish and very much the Jack Bunny knew and loved. "Just you wait. You haven't seen anything yet." He winced as he slipped on his clothes, hissing as the fabric brushed over his tender backside. "You want a marathon, I'll give you one. Eternal teenager, remember, I can keep it up forever."
"Who's making promises now?" Getting up he helped Jack buckle his belt. "You wouldn't last more than an hour or two at best."
"Is that a challenge, Kangaroo? OW!" He glared at the Pooka as he waved a finger just above his nose. "You are so getting it when the bruising goes away."
"If the bruising goes away," Bunny threatened with a smirk. Grabbing Jack by the waist he threw the boy's slim form over one shoulder and started for the door.
"Hey! But me down, I can walk," Jack objected only to get another swat on the rear. "At least let me get my staff. I can fly and then-"
"Nope, I prefer this. Keeps you in perfect range." Another swat and another yelp and Bunny couldn't contain his laughter until Jack decided it was fair play to swat his rear and yank on his tail. "Stop that, Frostbite or I'll drop you. Ow, son-of-a-"
Jack giggled, kicking his feet and yanking twice as hard only to find himself being passed to North as the reached the Globe Room.
"Here, ya go, mate," Bunny was telling North. "He's been awfully naughty today. Just one swat to the backside and he'll be right as rain."
"No!" Jack's hands instantly went up to cover his rear. While he doubted North would ever spank him the idea off those large hands striking his tender butt was not a pleasant thought. "I didn't to it! It's all Bunny's fault! Honest."
North set him on his feet, concerned when Jack stumbled and knees almost gave out. "What are you two going on about? Oh!" His eyes widened as Bunny caught Jack and guided him to the sofa. "Bunny, you should be more...careful with Jack."
"I'd say, the boy can barely walk," a silky voice said. "He can barely stand let alone walk."
Jack looked up, expecting to see Pitch and had a retort all planned. He wasn't expecting the tall, dark haired man who looked strikingly similar only human. His brows rose questioningly. The shadows danced around his feet, as if trying to climb up but not quite able to. He wore only a simple pair of black slacks and matching top, not the shadowy robes of the Nightmare King. Yet he knew this man, had seen him in his dreams, in the stories Pitch had told him.
"Whoa...Pitch?" he asked.
The man nodded with a small smile, but even that looked out of place. His teeth, once jagged like a sharks, looked human. "It seems Lunanoff as decided I was still needed."
"I don't understand." He glanced to Bunny then the other Guardians and back to Pitch. "How did this happen? You're human."
"Not quite," Pitch said, raising a hand and summoning his nightmare sand. "It would appear that I can still control the shadows and Fearlings but I don't hear them as I used to. The light no longer bothers me as it once did."
"Yeah, but how?"
The black sand danced through his fingers, creating numerous shapes as if happy their master was still with them. Pitch smiled fondly at them. "It would seem Lunanoff and I have come to an understanding." He didn't react to Bunny's snort or Jack's confusion, he just played with his sand. "I wasn't expecting this."
Jack was still confused. He glanced to North. "Am I the only lost?"
"Apparently Kozmotis decided to take a stroll in the moonlight," North explained.
"But I thought...what were you thinking?" Jack asked, his eyes wide at the meaning of North's words. "That is the dumbest thing I've heard. Why would you do that?"
Kozmotis...he liked the sound of that, it had been so long since anyone said his birth name. "Because I'm tired, Jack. I'm tired of hiding in the shadows. I want what you have or to at least be freed of this hell. I'm not as strong as I once was. Between losing our last battle and what I've done these past months I've had enough. Lunanoff sees it differently."
Tooth looked aghast and she fluttered to Jack. She clasped his hand as she sat next to him. "Pitch..." she whispered not sure what else to say.
"But MiM's light didn't kill you," Jack stated. "He just pushed the shadows back?"
"It would appear," the former Nightmare King said.
"So...you're a Guardian now?"
A shrug of slim shoulders. "Apparently, although for the life of me I can't understand why. Our history is far from pleasant."
"Perhaps he sees the good within you," North said with a small smile, leaning against the control panel.
Pitch gave him a disgusted look. "I thought he was the Guardian of Hopeless Causes." He tilted his head toward Bunny.
"Hey!" the Pooka objected. "You know what? I think this dingo got himself high on something and mistook MiM for the sun. Come daylight we ought'a shove him outside and show him the difference. Oof!" He glared at Jack who shoved an elbow in his gut.
"Bunny," Tooth reprimanded. "MiM already stated he wants Pitch as a Guardian on more than one occasion. It's time for both you and him to accept that."
"Oh? And he's the Guardian of what? Fear? Nightmares?" Bunny retorted.
"Courage?" Jack asked.
"All the above," Pitch said with a smirk at Bunny. "My role hasn't changed just the meaning behind it. The world needs fear and I intend to still give it to them but for any child to grow they eventually have conquer it, that takes courage. Much like your young friends did, Jack."
"Okay..." He was still lost. This new Pitch made less sense than the old one. "So you'll still spread fear and corrupt dreams so that the kids can find the courage to conquer them?"
Pitch's eyes narrowed. "That is what I just said, no?" He sighed. "I know this must seem strange, it is, and I don't understand Lunanoff's reasoning, I just know I'm right."
While it seemed strange and took quite a bit of getting used to Pitch was as good of a Guardian as any of the others. He still had control of the Fearlings and Shadow Men and spread fear and nightmares as he promised but they weren't like before. They seemed more focused, more healthy. Sure children still woke up at night, sometimes crying for their parents but they rarely lost sleep, the Sandman coming to sooth their fears or Pitch conjuring something that would help them conquer their fears. The number of kids pulling foolish stunts lessened and those willing to try new, less dangerous things, increased. And Pitch seemed happy and lost his temper less often. There was still tension between him and the Guardians but not nearly as it once was and in time Jack found himself able to accept this new Pitch - Kozmostis Pitchiner. And soon Pitchiner would prove himself to be a most excellent Guardian, but that's a tale for another day.
Sorry guys but that's the end of this one, my brain's finally fried and I think I've written everything ROTG for now. I hope everyone enjoyed this fic, I never excepted it to be so large and nothing was planned in advance, it's been all stream of consciousness except the last two chapters which left me scratching my head wondering how to end it. I love Rufftoon's comics where North had asked Pitch to become a Guardian and he refused. I think he just needed a good reason and Jack could be it.