He had a point.
Jack tapped his staff on his bedroom window and frost crept over the glass, obscuring the view of the dark outside world entirely. Not that the winter sprite cared; he was too lost in his thoughts to notice. As he fiddled with the strings on his hoodie, he sighed. Bunny's words have been replaying themselves in the back of his mind over and over again, and he tried piecing them together like puzzle pieces only to have the picture come out blurry. Trying to make sense of it was like trying to put a broken mirror back together again, but the reflection - his reflection, nonetheless - was distorted and ragged. More fittingly, it was like trying to make out his reflection in the frost engulfed window beside him.
It was damn near impossible.
But Bunny had a point. The guardians were his "family" now, and family should be there for one another, right? It was still quite a bit to take in. After all, he never really considered them "family", especially not Bunny. Jack always thought, as close as they were, that they all regarded each other as close acquaintances, maybe even friends. It was a difficult assumption in and of itself, though. Jack didn't know much about the other guardians, and likewise, they didn't know much about him, save for the fact that he was utterly alone for about 300 years, and he had a bad but obsessive habit of knocking himself down in times of stress and peril. So how could they call themselves friends, much less a family?
Do you know what family means, Frost?
He had an idea of what the term meant, for the most part, yes. Families usually lived together under the same roof. They refer to their male relatives as brothers, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, etc., and the females as sisters, mothers, grandmothers, and aunts. They varied in size, from a cozy family of two to a crazy family of twelve. If they weren't blood related, they were related through marriage or legally through court or something of the sort. Some looked the same, such as identical twins or triplets, and others looked like polar opposites. They did everything together, from what Jack was able to gather over the years, from celebrating birthdays to mourning the loss of loved ones at funerals. They ate means together and played games together and prayed at church together and did chores together and went places together, the list was endless.
And most of all, they understood each other.
A nagging voice in the back of his mind told him that this was farthest from what he and the guardians were. He didn't think there was a word in the English language that described what they were. There was an uneasy distance between all of them that was unspoken of but not unheard of; or at least, there was one between Jack and the others. So if they weren't family or friends or even acquaintances, what were they?
He groaned in annoyance and lightly bumped his head against the window in irritation. Back to square one.
"Jack?" a familiar voice said behind him, pulling him from his thoughts.
Toothiana fluttered into the winter-themed room and stood next to the winter sprite sitting upon the window sill most melancholically.
"Hey Tooth," Jack mumbled without a glance.
Toothiana never considered herself a mediator, but she'd been told otherwise by Sandy, who was no doubt much wiser than herself. Upon hearing that Bunny and Jack, in Bunnymund's own words, were 'buttin heads', she couldn't help but to clear things up. She hated it when they didn't get along. You couldn't see their precious pearly whites behind a frown.
"I heard you and Bunny had a, uh… a little disagreement?"
Jack looked down at the ground, meticulously inspecting a miniscule crack in the wood beneath Tooth's feet. "I guess you could say that..."
An uncomfortable silence formed between them for the longest time until Tooth cleared her throat and placed a hand on Jack's shoulder.
"Jack, you have to understand Bunnymund's position when it comes to family. He's been alone for a long time, and his family was killed off a long time ago."
Well, this was a new development. Jack looked up to Tooth curiously, his attention now fully intact. "What do you mean, killed off?"
"It's, uh, not my place to say," she responded softly, a somber look on her face. "But I think what's going on between you and him is nothing short of a slight misunderstanding. He's just a little, err… how do I put this?"
"Angry?" Jack muttered lowly.
"No, sweetie, he's not-"
"He sure seemed like it," he spat.
Not knowing what else to do, the Guardian of Memories forced Jack into a hug, which Jack had no choice but to accept and follow through with. She held him gently and spoke even gentler.
"Jack, he just doesn't understand why you don't want to be part of a family again. He doesn't understand why you're fighting it and taking it for granted."
Jack shook his head and sighed. "I-I'm not trying- I'm not intending to take anything for granted! And I'm not fighting anything! I just…" I don't know. I don't even know. What am I doing wrong here? Everything?
"I know, Jack. Everything seems a little confusing right now, but I promise you, things will get better. Okay?" Tooth pulled away from the hug and looked at Jack solemnly. "We'll all get through this together. Alright?"
Jack nodded briskly, his snow white hair sticking up on one part of his head. "Hey Tooth?"
"Are we…" he paused and brought his hands up in an effort to better elaborate what he was trying to say. "Do you- would you consider us, as a whole, with the other guardians and all, a-a family?"
Tooth smiled warmly. "I know we are, Jack. And now," she ruffled his hair. "We'll have fun in on it too." Her expression changed from content to question as a thought crossed her mind. "You know, North can't make you to stay for dinner. You're a free spirit, after all. If you don't want to go you don't have to. But will you give it a shot? It would seem like a nice change, and you're so skinny! You need to get some meat on those bones!"
Jack chuckled lightly at this statement, rubbing the back of his head nonchalantly. "Well, I don't see a problem with it, I suppose. Haven't eaten in a while anyway. But…" What about Bunny?
"So you'll stay and have Thanksgiving dinner with us?"
And as an ingenious idea flooded through Jack's devious brain, a devilish ear-to-ear grin found its way upon Jack's face.
"Yeah, I'll stay for a bit. But on one condition…"
Bunnymund didn't consider himself a loose cannon. Sure, he had those unmistakable moments where he found it hard to control himself, but doesn't everyone? Sandy stated otherwise before he abruptly left the seemingly Thanksgiving-obsessed Pole for the sanctuary of his spring-spirited Warren.
You need to be nicer to Jack! The rapid, aggressive gestures said all too clearly. You need to make more of an effort to treat him like family, especially if you're so set on him staying for the Thanksgiving dinner! Do I make myself clear?
Contrary to popular opinion, while Sandy was every bit of the kindest sweetest slumber spirit you ever did meet, he also had a particularly hostile side, one that linked with a usually excessively passionate side of his (such as the protection of the children's dreams; we've all seen just what he's capable of). With a stern glare, the Sandman scolded for what felt like hours to Bunny about how trust and family coincided, and how there could be no family bondage without trust first. In reality, it was about fifteen minutes. But the spring spirit felt that it was fifteen minutes too much.
"Alrigh', I get it! I get it! Can I go home now?"
Are you sassing me, E. Aster Bunnymund? Are you seriously sassing me? Do I look like I have time for your sass? You think I'll put up with your sass, huh? Do you?
"No," Bunny growled, most embarrassed at the fact that he probably looked like a kid being reprimanded by his father. Not that it mattered much, seeing that the only ones in the globe room were North, a small group of yetis, and a handful of elves. It was fairly degrading, nonetheless. "An' I wudn't sassin' ya, ya dill. I was jus'-"
Sandy shook his head and made an X motion with his hands as a sign to stop talking and continued making the sand symbols above his head, ones that Bunny had been exposed to even as a young child, because his father used the exact same words whenever he got too rough with the other kits.
You're going to go over there and apologize this instant.
"Wha-? But I didn't do anything! Why-"
The Sandman made the X motion again and cut him off. You didn't do anything? You were a jerk to him even before North had to send you guys to your rooms, and a little birdie told me that you had him pinned up against the freaking wall!
He meant little Birdie in a most literal term; Baby Tooth, unwilling to fess up to her stalking of the winter spirit, saw the whole thing and raced to tell Tooth, Sandy just happened to be with her.
Can't you just keep your anger in control for once, suck up your pride and apologize? Look, I know Jack can be a bit inconsiderate, and act really immature at times, but he's the embodiment of fun- childhood itself! Do you honestly think he deserves this sort of treatment from anyone, much less yourself?
Again, Bunny groaned and crossed his arms. "Okay, you're right. He's just a kid, after all, and that's what kids do. And I shouldn't have freaked out with the poor bloke. But the sooner he understands what family means, the sooner I'll ease up on the kid."
No, you're easing up now. You're going to go apologize and talk to him, and you're going to fix this whole mess! Do you honestly think that after being virtually ignored for 300 years that all of this family business will just come naturally to him or something? He's probably confused out of his mind by now! He needs someone there for him, to guide him along through the process, so to speak.
Bunnymund paused to ponder this, and with a curious expression asked, "And what process is that?"
The process of rediscovering a family, and how important he is as a part of it. A sullen look crossed both of their faces as he went on. The process of learning that he isn't alone anymore, and that there's someone there for him, watching his back, and learning how to reciprocate. The process of helping him find where he belongs.
Bunny never considered it this way. After what happened to his own family, the Pooka firmly believed that there was no excuse to detest or shy away from one with open arms. He gladly accepted the Guardian's "invitation" to be a part of their family, and it was one of the happiest days of his life. It was something he missed and came to find that it was difficult to live without. Sure, when he was busy with Easter he never really had time for them, but he still attended all the parties, all the dinners, all of the late-night movie marathon get-togethers. He felt like be belonged. Jack, on the other hand, probably felt like the opposite, like there was no place for him.
It was a horrible feeling to have.
After a long contemplative silence, Bunny sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Ya know what? I- You're right Sandy, damn straight. I-I never should've been so- I really should've just let it-"
Sandy raised his hand gently as a sign for him to stop, no longer with an impatient scowl but with an understanding nod.
Look Aster, I don't care when you talk to him, or how you decide to approach it. Just promise me that you'll do it soon, and something will come of it besides a snowball fight. In all seriousness, you should probably do it after the Thanksgiving dinner, so that you both have had time to cool off and rethink things. You promise?
Bunny's green eyes twinkled as Sandy's golden ones glistened with an inconceivable amount of hope.
Author's Note: Sorry for it being so short, I've been so busy lately it's not even funny. Well I'm sure to other people it's funny, but for me, it's sorta just wearin me down.
Hope you enjoyed, there will be two more parts to this unless I pull my head out of my butt and make it a decent length chapter.
I know I ask it of you every time, but I can't stretch its importance. PLEASE REVIEW and tell me what you think. I really enjoy your input and it makes me feel all fuzzy inside : ).
Hmm…maybe I'll start taking requests… :/ Idk, what do you guys think?