~ Reading Lips solves all Problems ~
Hearing the story from Bunny's point of view, well North couldn't be blamed for being incredulous. But, when he went to check on the young winter spirit himself, well he was only a little surprised that Bunny had been right. Jack was indeed, unmoving, not breathing, but still alive. Somehow.
Once Bunny was sure he was right in the ex-Cossack's eyes, he had immediately bombarded him with questions, asking if North knew a cure, or at least what this new state meant. And even after his insistence, that no, he did not know, Bunny still pleaded and begged for some kind of answer and it was truly grating at his nerves of steel.
"Bunny, for the last time, I do not know of this problem at this moment. Asking me is useless, and yes, solving problem may require me to consult Man in Moon, but that does not mean I can do that now, I just need to think!"
"Just ask him already, mate, this is important." Bunny sulked, ears pressed against his skull in anxiety. North understood the feelings going through his lagomorphic friend, but the fretting and the worry filled pacing were not helping matters, and any man, no matter how patient, could take so much negative nonsense. No matter how appropriate it might be.
"Bunny please, commence with the calming down. I need time to think. Jack is still alive, this we are sure of. If I can only find a way to wake him… Explain to me again, what you saw." North commanded after a tense moment. Bunny ceased his pacing, er… hopping, and turned to him.
"How will telling you what happened, again, help Jack?!" He uncharacteristically screeched in frustrated annoyance. Then again, North could not remember a time when the guardian of hope was so distraught over another being. Especially the person of his desires.
"I just need to hear it again, be the cooperative type please!" North again commanded, this time yelling due to his extreme lack of tolerance. Yes, it was important that Jack be 'fixed', but things like this need time and are more often than not complicated problems to fix. But North was a man of ingenuity and wonder, this was in his area of expertise. He just had to figure out what made Jack fall into this half dead-half living state. He had to find the missing link.
"Fine. Well, you know how I found Jack, he was talking to himself. Then Pitch's shadows appeared and the boy's ranting grew quiet and distorted. I couldn't hear a bloody thing he was saying, then a minute or so later, the shadows swallowed Jack, I was sure he was getting kidnapped at this point, but when the shadows retreated, Jack was still there, face down on the ground, out like a light, and not breathing."
"Wait, go back to before the shadow part." North said.
Bunny sighed in exasperation, "All that was happening when I showed up was that Jack was talking to himself and -"
"No, after that."
"The shadows appeared and then Jack's voice got muted and then -"
"Seriously, if you keep interrupting me I can't explain a bloody thing!"
"No, you just said Jack was still speaking yes?"
"Yes, but he seemed to be talking to himself still… What are you getting at?"
"Think of what he was saying before, and tell me of Jack's facial expressions, during the part where his voice muted, matched with the previous conversation he was having with himself." North deliberately did not want to hear what Jack had been saying. He just wanted to know if he was still talking to himself in the shadows, which North doubted was the case.
"Well… he looked, defensive and disgusted during that part, and not so much that way beforehand… Wait. You think he was actually talking to someone?" Bunny asked, finally catching on.
"That is exactly what I am thinking. Did you see anyone, a vague outline maybe?"
"Think Bunny! Was there anyone else there, think hard." It wasn't a question so much as a repeated demand. North watched Bunny contemplate, the large Pookan warrior becoming quiet in mere milliseconds, eyes squeezed close in intense thought that wouldn't bear fruit. Eventually though, Bunny's breathing slowed and the pressure in his facial muscles relaxed and North knew that he would remember, it was just a matter of time.
~ Bunny - talking to North at the workshop ~
Why was remembering anything always so hard?
He tried for a long time, squeezing his eyes in a worthless effort to bring his memories forward. The ridiculousness of his efforts making themselves apparent in the way he only brought up the absolute wrong memories, his mind wandering to completely useless information like, 'what he had smelled like this morning', and 'what his favorite color was'. But no matter what thoughts he had, he didn't get any important clues to come to the immediate surface. It was agonizing. Then it got worse when he actually found the memory he needed: Every time he pulled it up, major details were hard to make out, and he couldn't focus on it long enough to make it clear up before it would fade. And it would always fade.
Once again the familiar scene came up, and it was clearer this time; He saw Jack talking to himself, his face suddenly taking on a warped expression of disgust. It was odd, it wasn't a self loathing look, as Bunny had originally interpreted it. It was different. Jack's eyes were locked onto something, and that something had to be what he was disgusted with. He tried to look at the 'thing' causing Jack to scowl in such a way, but the memory faded again and wouldn't resurface. Bunny was getting tired of the repetitive bullshit going on. He couldn't get anything to stay long enough to be analyzed in the fullest extent necessary.
He had to relax, he was too stressed out and couldn't help anyone in this mindset, definitely not Jack. Bunny breathed in, deep, long, and cleansing, then he exhaled and forced himself to relax. The effect was instantaneous, and the memory was brought back, and into sudden clarity, but instead of starting where he wanted it to, it decided to go back to the very beginning. This minor infraction was about to get him frustrated again, but Jack's musings caught his attention. This time around, he heard them, clearly. It was as if he was actually at that frosted clearing, reliving that specific event once again.
The effect listening to Jack's frustrated cries had on him was distracting and Bunny, instead of pushing through it, listened desperately. He wasn't sure why he was doing it, or that what he was hearing was exactly good to hear again, but something about the way Jack spoke, the breaking hope expressed within those concerns, while disheartening to a certainly large degree, set off all kinds of awkwardly positive alarms. He was taken aback by the content of the emotion in Jack's straining voice. The levels of concern so unreal. Bunny could tell just by the way it had been said, that Jack was sure of his feelings, and was in another stage of denial where he focused on how he didn't understand how Bunny's feelings had come about, and for some reason thought that it was an important detail, required for falling in love. Then, before Bunny realized it was that time already, the shadows appeared in the flashback, and Bunny was brought back to 'reality'.
Why had he listened to that entire spiel? He had a peculiar 'something' to be looking for. He doubted he should be pleasing himself with the despair of his love interest(that sounded better, before he had actually thought the sentence out…). But there was an inkling of desperation, and to hear the confirmation he had been searching for during the last couple of days, was actually a blessing in disguise. It made him secretly glad he had witnessed the internal dispute of the frost child, but right now he had perfectly clear memory, and the perfect opportunity to search it. He had a problem to find.
He went over every detail, scouring every little nook and cranny. He could see Jack's profile clearly, and a small crescent that represented the remainder of Jack's face. He could hear and see every word Jack said. The words being formed on the slim lips that represented his childish innocence, he could... read Jack's lips! Though, Bunny's realization was too late, he doubted he could get any useful information this far into the memory, considering Jack had already adopted that look of disgust and would soon be unconscious. He also figured that he wouldn't get this kind of mental clarity again. He could feel his hope burning out, the futility of his attempt draining him, then Jack mouthed one word and suddenly he was rekindled. He had found what he had been looking for.
Jack had just mouthed a name. The name of one of his allies, now twisted and bent to the other 'side' by desire. Jack had definitely been talking to the Tooth Fairy.
~ North again - in the workshop ~
North had been ready for Bunny to yell: "Ha. Mate, I got it, it's -", but the shout of victory never came. Bunny just slackened more and more, not even twitching in frustration, as per usual, and showing no indications to say that he was getting close to finding what he had been told to find. North could tell that he was really trying hard, but he could also see that the effort taking it's toll. Bunny was not being very successful in his search. The first sign he had seen, was the slight frown that creased Bunny's features. Then he had seen the way the Pooka deflated, rapidly losing hope.
North had thought all was lost, when suddenly, Bunny smiled, eyes opening. "We were right. Tooth isn't on our side anymore." He said simply.
"How do you know this?" North asked. One of the last people on their team he had expected to fall, in any form, was definitely Tooth. She was the one who controlled memories and she never forgot anything. She knew how important her job was, she wouldn't have willingly fallen.
She even had a good grasp on her emotions. He had to make sure she actually did resort to siding with their greatest enemy, just for love. There had to be absolute proof, or North wouldn't believe it.
"Yeah, you were right about Jack talking to someone, and it was her." That was proof enough. What was with North's perception of the world, and it constantly being flipped to be proven false? Much more, why was it only happening this week, no, today?!
"So, Tooth is working with Pitch, and she is responsible for Jack being like this. I at least have inkling of what is going on now. I just need to re-examine boy and make sure. And while I do this, you must go check, find out where she went. You are master tracker, get with the tracking, we're going to need to be able to find Pitch, and quick, lest we get hit with more of the surprises and drama." That last drama part was aimed at Bunny, and it hit home. Bunny left, with a scowl on his face because of North's last comment. Now all he had to do was talk to Sandy about plan and Jack. By the way, where was he?
~ End - Because I'm tired of working on this chapter ~
A/N: Okay, So I lied, this chapter was just another emotional, viewpoint(from Bunny), on how stressful things are getting, and was not very helpful for the advance I promised. I'll get to it next time, for sure(maybe?), anyway my excuse this time is easy: the plot is just being difficult(I have an idea of where I want to go, I just don't know what path to take, er… make.), and I'm having trouble writing. Sound familiar to you writer's? Yeah, I'm getting a horrible case of writer's block, but I know how to fix it and I am going to go do that, right now. So, yeah, I want the usual, review please and tell me how frustrated you are at my stupid fake promises. I need to get my $hit together and I obviously need you guys to tell me(Joking, I actually want a genuine response for this chapter(if you review/PM), please don't rant my face off)… Sorry guys… to all 50+ of you. (Oh yeah, I'm also sorry this took so long. School sucks :p)