"Will ya stop that?!" Bunny snapped, glaring at the winter spirit next to him. Jack smirked, chuckling to himself as he watched the pooka clinging to the sides of sled as though for dear life. The furry warrior groaned, his eyes half closed as he tried to ignore his churning stomach.
"What are you talking about, you daft kangaroo? I'm not doing anything."
"Yeah, ya are. Now quit it before my tail freeze off." Jack frowned at Bunny's words, and looked down at himself. The seat of the sled was frosting over, spiraling designs spreading. Bunny shivered, wrapping his large arms around himself for warmth. Jack quickly willed the frost to stop, feeling slightly guilty. As the spirit of snow and ice, he had a tendency for creating cold accidentally if he wasn't careful. And even though Jack would never admit it, it bothered him that to others his powers only brought discomfort.
"Right. Sorry, Bunny." Jack said apologetically, stuffing one hand into the pocket of his blue hoodie.
"It's fine, Jack." Tooth reassured Jack, turning around from the front of the sled with a soft smile. "I think your frost is so beautiful. I wish I could summon such delicate creations like that." She stared at the melting frost wistfully, noticing the finer details of its airy design.
"Easy for ya ta say that." Bunny grumbled, rubbing his paws together, giving Jack another glare. "Ya ain't sitting next ta him."
"Don't be such a scrooge, Bunny." North scolded, his eyes still fixed ahead as he drove the sleigh through the night sky. "You know Jack can't help but emanate cold, no? It es his talent." Sandy nodded in agreement. Bunny scowled, his emerald eyes narrowing.
"Fine. Take the little bugger's side. I just hope ya will eat ya words when I catch my death o' cold."
"Bunny…" Tooth warned, her face pitched into a light frown and hands dancing nervously over the colorful golden and sapphire feathers covering her lap.
"It's all right guys." Jack said offhandedly, his easy mischievous smile not quite reaching his eyes. He ran a hand through his shaggy white hair. "I don't need protection from the big bad kangaroo."
"Who ya callin' kangaroo, mate?" Bunny growled dangerously. His nerves were already on edge from this blasted sleigh ride, and if Jack thought for one moment Bunny was going to tolerate his snarky behavior, he had another thing coming. Bunny felt miserable and cold, and that insufferable sprite was just sitting there, gloating. The wind picked up, howling like untamed laughter, swirling around Bunny and nipping at his nose. Bunny winced as the numbness set in.
"Alright, Frostbite, I've had it!" Bunny shouted over the buffeting wind. He let go of the armrest and grabbed the front of Jack's hoodie, pulling him so that they were face to face. Jack's icy blue eyes widened at Bunny's sudden hostile manner. Bunny smirked at the shock on Jack's face. It felt good to channel his misery and fear into someone else. Jack grabbed Bunny's paws, trying in vain to twist out of his grasp. Bunny tightened his grip, determined to give Jack what he deserved.
"Now ya listen ta me, ya drongo." Bunny hissed, his ears flattening against his head. Jack stopped struggling and stared at Bunny, fear in his eyes.
"Bunny, what are you doing?" Tooth cried, her hands covering her mouth as she watched the intimidating pooka take out his pent-up anger on Jack.
"Ya selfish little gumby." Bunny spat, not taking his eyes off Jack. "No wonder ya only have a handful of believers. No one wants a personification of coldness. How are ya supposed ta be a guardian if all ya bring is sufferin'?" Bunny was too wrapped up in his rant, he missed the unshed tears brimming in Jack's eyes. With one motion, Bunny roughly pushed Jack away. Jack limply fell to the floor on the sleigh, his pale thin face slack.
"Bunny!" Tooth buzzed, her voice ripe with maternal fury. No one messed with her babies. "How dare you talk to our Jack like that! Take it all back right this instant!"
"Ya know it's true." Bunny said between gritted teeth. "And I'm sick and tired of this damned cold!" Furiously, Bunny slammed his fist into the frost patterning the bench.
Icy powder exploded everywhere, shining in the light like stars. Jack stared at the frost specks as they floated through the air. That second seemed to last an eternity. The fragile ice caught the sunlight and sparkled like prisms. In a trance, Jack reached out to the broken frost, the remains of his unique gift to the world.
Then the moment was over and the wind carried the frost away. Jack slowly brought his hand down. Pain like he had not experienced since he had joined the guardians grew in his chest. For a brief while, Jack had felt like he belonged. He had found a family, full of people who cared about him.
But now he saw the truth.
No one could love coldness. No one wanted him. He was worthless, friendless, invisible. He would always be alone because of who he was.
He was angry with himself now, angry about how blind he had been. He should have known better than to trust, than to hope. Three hundred years of isolation had taught him nothing. He didn't remember standing, didn't remember drawing his hood over his head to shadow his face. But there he was, standing in front of Bunny, trembling rooted to the spot. His head was bowed in defeat and tightly gripping his staff in his shaking hands. There was nothing for him to say, nothing more he could do. He was doomed to spend eternity as the reject the whispering ghost heralding on the merciless season.
Bunny stared at the silent teen in front of him, the first thoughts of regret beginning to form. Before he could apologize, before he could take back what he said, Jack looked up at him. Bunny's words died in his throat. Jack's eyes revealed the true anguish the boy was feeling, the pain beyond Bunny's comprehension. It was the shattered look of someone who had sunk into despair and never fully healed. The pain that had lurked just beneath the surface now reared its ugly head. Bunny's anger left him instantly, his only thoughts on the broken boy in front of him.
"Jack, I-" Bunny stumbled, lost for words.
"I should have known." Jack whispered hollowly, his hair shadowing his face. In an instant Jack slammed the butt of his staff into the sleigh. The wind responded immediately, whirling around Jack like a miniature cyclone. And then Jack was off, shooting into the air and ride the wind away into the darkness.
"JACK!" Bunny cried, scrambling up and leaning over the side of the sleigh, searching the skies for the slight figure. But Jack was already gone.
Yes, that was a one-shot- unless reviewers convince me otherwise. Tell me what you think!