Pitch raised the scythe over his head. He may have failed at gaining the children's unquestioning fear but he could at least gain revenge on the one who had thwarted his success. He watched the pitiful winter child's face morph into fear. He was defenseless, caught off guard. Oh how Pitch loved it.
The stupid Easter Bunny tried in vain to prevent his blow from falling but Pitch Black was in a rage. He had been so close to domination. This one pesky, useless, nobody had ruined his attempts.
Pitch deflected the rabbit's attack with ease. In one more deadly flash the black blade struck down. He was sure he had hit his mark. He had felt the slicing of flesh deaden the weapon's momentum. Pitch could imagine the blood and pain and fear that would come from this one success but before he could relish his only victory he felt the burning coil of a golden whip wrap around his wrist; snake like. It yanked him from his prey-
"Sandy!" Toothina exclaimed as golden light bloomed over the horizon, just like the sun itself.
Bunny paused, looking to Jack. He could have sworn Pitch's blade had made contact with the winter spirit. Jack had jumped back at the last moment but the dagger had fallen so painstakingly close, Bunny was sure-
-but then it was over. Pitch was crumpled on the ground, golden butterflies circling his head mockingly. Jack was smiling and laughing and perfectly fine. The children were safe. They had won.
Bunny, Sandy, Tooth, and North sat safely inside the carriage while Jack perched on the side wing, waving to the kids. The sleigh took off, the reindeer working furiously to lift the magical sled from the earth. Jack seemed to be the only one not showing true fatigue from the battle. Bunny supposed he was on a high from the utter tsunami of dreams come true. He had believers, friends, a family. Bunny smiled.
"Frost, get down from there before ya bloody fall off. Show pony," Bunny said to Jack who had moved to balance precariously on the back of the sleigh waving to the ant like figures in the distance. The sleigh was ascending quickly.
Jack waved one last time before turning his attention to Bunny. "Aw. The Easter Kangaroo continues to care," He smirked characteristically.
Bunny scowled at Jack who did heed his word and hop down from the back banister. The winter teen was usually well coordinated but instead of catching himself in an impossibly flexible stance, Jack lost his balance. He resorted to falling back into the seat gracelessly. Bunny saw Jack wince. It was unusual, but Bunny shrugged off Jack's disturbed gait. He was just tired. They all were.
"Say that to me again when you're not falling on your ass,"
"Bunny, Shhhhhhh!" Tooth said from her seat bringing her finger to her lips and then pointing furiously to Sandy who was fast asleep across the bleacher like seats of the passenger area.
"Shhh" Jack echoed. The snarky bastard. Bunny just crossed his arms and grumbled to himself his shoulders tensed to exaggerate the demeanor.
As time passed and the silence endured Bunny let his shoulders fall and his arms slacken. In fact, he could feel himself beginning to nod off. It felt like the ride home was taking forever, even with the snow globes. It was a wonder North was even able to stay awake and steer the sleigh.
Sandy had remained asleep while Jack had passed out not long after their exchange. Tooth was still awake but just barely keeping her eyes open.
Bunny could begin to see the sharp cliffs in which the workshop was nestled and pretty soon the sleigh was touching down. Tooth shook her head back and forth a few times to wake herself up while Sandy and Jack both remained slumped across the seats, still fast asleep.
"We are here," North said with a sigh. Jostling the frame of the sleigh quite a bit, North lumbered from the steering perch and onto the snowy ground below where he handed the reigns to one of the yetis who had greeted the incoming vehicle.
"Oy, Sandy, Frost, wake up! We're 'ere," Bunny said, giving both a light nudge. Sandy groggily opened his eyes and stretched his tiny arms over his golden head. Jack however, remained dead asleep. Bunny rolled his eyes.
Tooth and Sandy tiredly made their way out of the sleigh. Why was it his responsibility to wake the newby?
"Frost, we're back at the pole. It's time to wake up." Bunny shook the shoulder of the sleeping winter spirit. His body swayed limply below Bunny's touch. Still nothing.
"Jack?" Bunny said, truly baffled that anyone could stay sleeping despite such stimuli. That was when Bunny realized the wet sensation beneath the pads of his foot. In fact, his whole paw seemed soaked with whatever he was standing in. Bunny took his attention away from Jack to examine the wooden floor panels of the sleigh.
They were covered in blood.
There was no doubt that's what it was. It shown crimson against the cedar boards. But that could not be possible. No one had been hurt in the battle, not enough to warrant this much blood shed. Unless he had been mistaken.
Beginning to panic Bunny knelt in front of Jack who remained slumped slightly forward, the majority of his body weight held by the wall of the sleigh. Jack's upper leg in shadow, tucked against the wooden side panels, was saturated in thick liquid. On the corresponding side, the bottom folds of blue sweat shirt were also soaked in a dark red wash.
"North! We got a problem," Bunny was surprised his voice stayed even. The tone was urgent enough to warn the others but steady enough to remain composed. He had to stay composed.
"What is it Bunny," North and the others had nearly exited the landing stage. It was only Bunny's words that stopped them from entering the warmth they could feel wafting from the lowers of the workshop.
"Jack's hurt," It was an understatement. Not detailed enough to let the others know how serious this really was.
What was he supposed to say? That more of Jack's blood was on the floor than in his veins? That he had known Pitch had hit Jack and just assumed the best, didn't even think to check? That they had been silently idle while Jack bled out? The cold body remained unresponsive in frost of him.
"Bunny, what do you mean?" North said, his accent thick. He was already striding back to the sleigh, worried by Bunny's odd behavior and Jack's unnatural silence.
"There's blood, North. There's a lot of blood. Pitch must've hit him when he had his scythe...right before Sandy.." It didn't matter when it happened, Bunny knew that. The only thing that was important was to stop the bleeding. Why couldn't he bring himself to even touch Jack? Possibly for fear of breaking him further.
"Move," North had climbed into the sleigh, this time with more grace. He gently moved Bunny out of the way to get a better look at Jack. The tall Rabbit numbly let his body be shifted. He winced when North swore harshly under his breath at the copious amount of crimson impregnating the floor boards.
"He won't wake up, North," Bunny said quietly, his voice deep and low.
"What's going on?" Toothina swooped over the sleigh and saw the puddle slowly collecting beneath their winter spirit. She gasped. Sandy was not long after Tooth and had a similar reaction to the scene in front of him.
"Jack. Can you hear me?" North said, moving his steady fingers to rest along the side of Jack's neck.
Bunny held his breath. What would they do if there was no pulse. What if they had lost this person who had suffered 300 years alone and just finally been acknowledged? He would've only known a few hours of being believed in, to finally be regarded.
"Pulse is faint, and very fast," North said after a few seconds of silence. Bunny release the air he had been withholding. Jack was still alive.