"Stupid, stupid, egg-hiding, carpet-covered Kangaroonie!" Jack said as he paced the air angrily. Today was the day before Easter and it was his and Bunny's anniversary. Exactly one year ago to the day, Jack had gone to meet Bunny in his garden and apologize for the blizzard of '68.
It had taken him a year before that to get around to it, to finally steel himself for the words he didn't want to say. They were both Guardians then, but there was still that tension hanging around the rivalry that had always been held between them. What resulted wasn't what Jack had expected, but something he'd certainly wanted.
Bunny told him he didn't need to apologize, but appreciated it. Jack got irritated. Bunny got irritated. Then they were arguing. Then Bunny snapped and they were doing more pleasant things immediately after that. This was the day that they officially acknowledged the rival-romance that had been building the whole time, how a truce became a tryst, which for them equated to the day they committed.
Jack thought on it and wondered how then this anniversary had turned into a disaster.
He'd alighted in Bunny's garden early that morning where Bunnymund was rapidly going through stock, counting last minute preparations and generally being the anxious, cheerful mess he got to be around this time.
Bunnymund heard him coming a mile off. Jack almost whistled in the wind.
"Hey there, Jackie."
He stopped a moment to turn and note his boyfriend's entrance before going back to his calculations and egg accounting.
"Aw, I wanted to surprise you Bunny."
"It's hard to surprise me, mate. You know that."
"Yeah, I know."
Jack thought of the not-too-long-ago and utterly failed attempt at a surprise birthday party for Bunny. Everyone had gathered and was hiding; the decorations were colorful and splendid (thanks to the determined yetis); the carrot cake was a dream (they'd made sure Toothiana hadn't made it); and everyone was in position (even North who sported a fine party hat).
But when it came time to yell "surprise," Bunny didn't enter through the front door. Instead, he popped through one of his holes behind allof them and asked,
"What in the bloody hell are you all doing in my house?!"
And so, Jack knew that he'd have to settle for almost surprises at best. He didn't mind though as Bunny rarely cared for them and enjoyed Jack being there most of all. Jack walked over to where Bunny was madly scribbling on a large ledger made partially of bark.
"No, I'm just playing a really quick game of tic-tac-toe."
"Ha, ha, ha."
"No, it's just a few last minute things before being done. The majority of the work was completed yesterday."
Jack remembered Bunny had asked him not to visit the day before. He assumed that he wouldn't have been able to speak to Bunny anyway had he visited. But today…
"So you'll be done soon?"
Bunny chewed on his pencil a moment.
"Pretty soon. A few more hours."
Jack frowned at their differing concepts of "soon".
Bunny hopped over to a nearby shrub covered with small marble sized orbs of varying pale colors. Bunny had told Jack before that it was a bubblegum plant. Jack casually followed.
"So, you know what today is?"
"Day before Easter."
"One of the busiest days of my life."
Jack frowned deeper.
Bunny smiled at Jack jokingly.
"And our anniversary."
Jack's face lightened and he walked closer to the bush.
"So, I was thinking…"
He poked at a stem where a bubblegum bud was just beginning to sprout.
"Since it is our anniversary, why don't we do something special?"
"Of course Jackie, but not right now. I've still got loads of work to finish."
Jack lifted his hand from the bush.
"No, I meant tomorrow."
Bunny stopped entirely and turned around.
Bunny spoke cautiously, capping his pen.
"What did you have in mind?"
"Well, I was thinking since we're together now that maybe we could work together on Easter."
Bunny twisted his head a little to the side.
"Like, maybe, I could spread some snow in the morning?"
Bunny's mind jumped immediately to the worst case scenario.
"You want a blizzard?"
"Well, not exactly, but a lot wouldn't hurt right?"
Bunny just looked stunned. Jack made a wriggling, sly face.
"What do you say Bunny? Do you wanna have a blizzard?"
Bunny snapped out of his trance.
"Keep your ice well away from my Easter plans."
Jack was surprised.
"Hey, I was trying to help! Don't you want this Easter to be memorable?"
"In a good way! No one's going to enjoy hunting eggs in the Arctic!"
Bunny was waving his ledger around dramatically. Jack pouted, crossing his ankles and leaning on his staff.
"I'll have you know that I wouldn't have gone that far anyway. And besides, people still like snow better than finding eggs."
Bunny solidified and looked deadly.
"You take that back."
Jack took a fighting stance, feeling a bit nostalgic in his rebellious revelry.
"Nope, not happening."
There was a moment or two of build up before Bunny stepped up to Jack, the ledger at his side. He pointed a finger.
"Don't be stupid, you great icy blighter. Get it straight and keep your mitts off my holiday."
Jack's facial expression contorted into one of deep hurt, but quickly shot into anger. He gripped his staff with both hands.
"Fine. Fine! I'll keep my mitts off your precious Easter. In fact, I'll keep my mitts off all your Easters! I don't ever want to see you again!"
And with that, Jack had burst out of sight on a blast of wind, blustering as he went. Which brought him back to where he was now. It had been several hours of kicking the air and creating awful weather fronts that eventually led him back to the wood near his lake. He'd landed on a long tree limb and stopped, still feeling the rest of his anger as it drained slowly from his body as he rested.
He tried to figure out what had happened, what had set Bunny off. He had been serious about snow, but not a blizzard. The blizzard wasn't even supposed to be a threat just a joke and he didn't mean anything by it. It was like when Bunny threatened to stick that boomerang in certain forbidden places. He didn't mean it. Or, at least, Jack hoped he didn't.
He dangled his legs and closed his eyes, the very last bits of fury falling out from his feet. The anger replaced itself with the familiar lonely feeling of misconnection. As it happened, Jack didn't have a lot of practice relating to other people, nor knowing what to do when he'd made a mistake like this.
His relationship with Bunny emerged from the kind of selfish, prickly jabs he was used to, but had developed into a music of undertones. Bunnymund knew how to speak Jack's language and how to facilitate Jack in communicating in the more social ones he hadn't been used to. What happened then when rifts opened was an even greater feeling of loss.
"How many ways do I have to tell him I love him before I find the right one…?"
He sighed and sat back, wondering if this would be their only anniversary.
Sandy had no trouble getting into the Warren. For that matter, he wondered if it was a little too easy even for him, despite his floating clouds of very mobile sand. It wasn't like Bunny to leave the barriers down. Nonetheless, he floated in and began trying to locate his old friend.
The Guardians had struck a deal a long time ago that they would do their best to assist each other with the others' special holidays. As Sandy's part of the deal, he agreed to prepare special dreams for children on the night before any of these holidays (covering Easter, Christmas and any time a child lost a tooth). As it was nearly Easter, it was time to meet with Bunnymund and see what the rabbit had in mind for this year.
It didn't take Sandy long to find him. Bunny was glumly sitting alone in the middle of a particularly green field beside a coloring brook. His gloomy expression didn't fit well with his surroundings. His small friend floated up beside him and tried to get his attention.
Sandy motioned accordingly, the ho-hum response making him a little concerned. Bunnymund sighed, chin in his paw.
"What's wrong you ask? Nothing…"
Sandy looked skeptical.
Bunny closed his eyes.
"…don't know what to do."
A large gabbing mouth appeared in sand above Sandy's head. Bunnymund smiled. He felt comfortable opening up and letting Sandy know how he felt. He knew Sandy wouldn't tell anyone.
"You know that Jack and I have been…dating, right?"
Sandy nodded. The other Guardians knew as well.
"Well…today is our anniversary…"
A golden party blower went off above Sandy's head.
"No, no…not like that."
The party blower went flat and Sandy rubbed Bunny's arm, imploring him to continue.
"I…lost my temper."
The gold-colored man gave a sincerely apologetic look, his sand tinkling softly.
"I just…I guess I got over-protective of Easter…but he shouldn't have…"
Bunny stopped himself, feeling for retribution, but only got regret.
"…and I went too far…"
There was silence for a moment before the shapes of a ringing alarm clock and a question mark appeared above Sandy's head. Bunny studied them for a moment.
"Is it too late? …I don't know that…I hope not…"
Bunny opened his hand to look at a small colored egg he had been hand-painting. It was a gorgeous deep midnight blue with silver speckles all over it. He shifted, letting his shoulders fall.
When Jack had left earlier that morning, Bunny had turned bitter and irritable, before eventually those broke down into remorse. And that had wrecked his energy to work for the rest of the day. He'd been thinking since then, or trying to keep himself from thinking.
"Do you think it's because I'm always working?"
He'd startled Sandy when he spoke suddenly. The question mark reappeared.
"I mean, why I kind of blew up at him…"
Bunnymund wondered if that may have been what got him into this mess, that or not trusting Jack. He breathed out in a slow stream.
"I don't know what to do…"
Sandy waved his arms after a second. A few golden eggs were nestled in the grass above the short man's head. Bunny brightened some.
"Easter? You're right Sandy. Thanks. I've got to keep that going at least."
Bunny stood up, clutching the egg gently in his hand. It wasn't worth letting Easter go to waste, even if he didn't feel like moving at that moment.
Easter nearly started off with a bang due to a very distracted Bunnymund. He'd almost let a traffic wreck of eggs collide into a scrambled mess; he'd almost forgotten to double check if he'd opened all the right gates for the different ushering portals so all his stops would get the right number of deliveries; he'd almost forgotten that the day truly was Easter, his most cherished and jubilant day. And that was terrifying to him.
Bunny spent the morning rushing everywhere, as he usually did, directing eggs all over the world through his tunnels. They ended up on the Eiffel tower; they ended up on the banks of the Nile; there were eggs on well manicured lawns and eggs in the jungles of Brazil; there were especially eggs in the neighborhood of a certain boy named Jamie who'd woken early to wave to Bunny as he sped by.
The whole time though, Bunny didn't feel himself. He felt lost. He knew the directions of every place on earth he needed to get to. His tunnels could have carried him sleeping to where he wanted to go. But, the longer the day went on, the less he felt he was getting accomplished until, when he eventually completed his entire schedule, he felt completely and terribly empty.
The last stop he'd planned to make was in Jack's wood where he was going to place the one special egg he'd worked on personally. It was a begrudged decision since he still wasn't sure what he'd do once he got there, either leave the egg and flee or stick around for something he didn't want to end.
The hole opened and he leapt out. The wood was as quiet as the first time he'd visited all those years ago. There seemed to be so little change from how it was decades and decades back when he'd first met the mischievous Jack Frost himself. The winds and cold were the same; the way the trees arched over the barely frozen lake; and the thicket of grass that gave way to a smoother clearing where Jack would often…
Bunnymund stopped, frozen. He wondered if he was wrong, if he had catapulted from the tunnel too fast and gotten the bunny bends, or if he had gotten dizzy on the way. It didn't seem likely. It was Jack, lying there in the clearing. Bunny padded forward, worried at first before coming to a halt, relieved. Jack was in the middle, asleep in the grass. He had curled up, his staff balanced between his thighs. A soft pale area of frost had encircled the grass where he slept. Bunny crouched down to observe.
Jack looked beautiful in the still early morning light, before the sunbeams turned yellow and were still a thin white shine. His skin glowed and his hair gestured in the wind. Bunny stretched a paw forwards and lifted off a paw-print of frost from the grass. Jack breathed quietly and the hole of missing frost replaced itself.
He didn't think he could have expected it. But there he was. He was falling even more in love with Jack like this when they were supposed to be mad at one another. Wait…
They weren't supposed to be. They weren't at all. Yesterday was their anniversary, maybe even today if they wanted to fudge a bit on the date. Why on earth would he insist on being angry? What mattered was that they needed to be together and to do that, they needed to talk.
Jack didn't respond. Although, Bunny could hardly hear himself he'd whispered so softly. He tried again, reaching out this time and shaking Jack's blue pullover a little.
Jack slowly opened an eye, closed it and turned over before still mindlessly replying.
"What do you want, kangaroonie?"
Obviously a cheap shot.
"…I want to talk."
A wind picked Jack up and hurled him high up into a nearby tree. He'd fully woken up by then, the words making their way into his mind, the day fitting into relevance. Jack stared at him, angrily, still unsure what to do or how to react after yesterday. Bunny waited longer than he felt he needed to.
"Come down Jackie…I can't talk to you while you're up there…"
"Give me a good reason why."
Bunnymund gave him a sheepish look.
"I brought you a late anniversary present…"
Jack felt as though someone had slammed him in the chest. He carefully jumped from the branch and landed several feet away from Bunny. He wasn't going anywhere near him yet. Not until he knew it was safe. Bunny held out his hand.
Jack walked on the front of his feet until he could see what it was Bunny was holding out. He saw the egg and the pain moved to his stomach. He reached out and took it from Bunny's paw, holding it with something like awe, turning it in his hand and feeling the little ridges of sparkling color all around it. Bunny couldn't think of a more beautiful face for Jack to have.
All at once, Jack seemed to shake himself and realized he was still standing, facing someone he didn't know how to be with. He closed his fingers around the egg and his jaw firmed into a frown.
"You wanted to talk. I'm listening."
"I'm sorry I called you stupid Jackie. It wasn't fair of me."
The surprised look on Jack's face made him seem child-like and vulnerable, like he hadn't known there was anything that could make him feel so cut off from what he knew. Jack stepped forward one or two paces beyond caution. He looked at the ground and slowly poked Bunny in the chest with his staff. He murmured.
"It was my fault anyway…"
Bunny smiled and put his hand on the staff. Jack continued.
"I had no right to ask you that…"
"If I could make it snow."
Bunny sighed sadly.
"…Jackie boy, you are snow. Of course you can. It's your responsibility after all…"
"But it's your holiday."
"And you're my boyfriend."
Jack looked up quickly. Bunny moved his head to the side, commenting more of a question to Jack than what he believed, looking for a confirming movement.
Jack stepped closer, making the staff stick in harder and Bunnymund didn't move.
"I'm sorry Jackie…it doesn't matter if it was your fault or not. I shouldn't have said anything like what I did. I shouldn't have lost my temper over a holiday, even if it is Easter. Because you don't deserve that. Sometimes…I think I don't deserve you being the grumpy old hare I am."
Jack had a flicker of fear move across his face and his staff moved behind him so he could grab Bunnymund around the waist.
"I love you…"
Bunny waited a moment, breathing in to validate the feeling, the warm-cold feeling of his love against his fur. He put his arms slowly around him.
"And I love you, you big soft-serve."
Jack snapped his head up.
Bunny took it as perfect opportunity to close a kiss on Jack's face, surprising the shorter teen only a little before he sealed the rest of it off. They stood there for long enough to make Easter come into full day and the golden turning streams of light fell on the newest spring flowers. They'd made it through an entire year somehow.
When they parted, Bunny looked at Jack seriously, glancing around just to make sure no stray kids were watching their fantasy icons making out (or even just Bunny hugging air). He cleared his throat, still trying to seem serious.
Jack smiled, standing on tip-toe to press up to Bunny's chin and the surrounding fur, making the very tips shingle with silver. Bunny sneezed and Jack laughed, thinking they'd somehow scaled a glacier safely. Bunny patted Jack's shoulder.
"So…uh, you said you wanted to spend some time together today, what do you want to do?"
Jack continued looking up, but his expression changed from the blissful one to one of glee. But it was a strange kind of glee, a darker one that eclipsed itself with Jack's grin.
"Well, what do people normally do on their anniversary?"
Bunny looked at him in disbelief, the morning spell broken. His voice was almost cross.
"You've been watching people through their windows again, haven't you?"
Who else can't help but love this movie? I just about squee-ed my way through it, and rightfully so.
I haven't read the books, so there may very well be parts of this that cross over or contradict things in the books that I haven't read. If so, I would like to know about them for reference sake.
And, I don't know Australian accents. I just don't know. They're so great. I kept wanting Bunny to call Jack "love" the entire time in this fic, but I kept myself from doing it.
This fic is owing entirely to the brilliance and beauty of ThisCouldTheoreticallyBeSpar ta's JackRabbit stories. Seriously. I knew I wanted to ship something from this, but I didn't decide on anything until I read those stories. Check them out. They're so GOOD…
I hope this is also proof that bubblegum is good for you! It grows on trees! (ha)
I also have to say that I love so many of the terms of endearment I've seen in some of the JackRabbit fics. They're just sweet and funny. I hope mine weren't too out of the box for it.
Anyway, thank you SO much for reading! And please, PLEASE review! Reviews make my day so much.