Hey people! I hope you enjoy the newest addition of 'Melody of the Heart' and please read the author's note at the end as it has some important information regarding updates!
"I gave you clean slate Jack, yet you are back on naughty list already. Perhaps I no be giving you presents this year." the thick Russian accent caused Jack to look up from the elf he had just frozen. North stood in the door way to the lounge the winter spirit was resting in before heading out to continue bringing snow and ice to the Northern hemisphere,
"What can I say? I'm a natural." the teenager smirked, sitting up on the couch he had been sprawled across. North gave a short laugh, moving to join the younger, plopping down in an arm chair across from the occupied couch,
"Da, you are certainly natural, but it is all in good fun." he leaned back into a relaxed slouch. It was only a few weeks before Christmas and the large man didn't have much time to rest, "Making snowmen come to life to chase away bullies is something I can over look." the Cossack winked,
"How much do those lists tell you...?" Jack eyed the other warily,
"That is my secret not to tell. You just keep giving the children joy and help soothe their fears." North waved a finger in the air,
"True, you can't be afraid when you're too busy having fun." Jack chuckled, "People don't want to be scared so they latch onto anything that encourages them not to be afraid." the white haired teen stood and stretched then trotted over to the nearby window,
"You know this from experience?" North mused. Jack gave a mischievous smirk,
"That is my secret not to tell." Jack flew away from the North Pole with North's booming laughter trailing him.
A seven year old Jackson Overland sat in luscious green grass under warm sunlight within the Warren. It was the day after Christmas and Bunny had promised the child he could help with Easter preparations. The pooka had just finished setting up jars of edible paint when Jack's voice made his ears twitch in the child's direction,
"What did Santa bring you for Christmas, Bunny?
"Didn't get anything, mate." he looked over from inspecting a brush at the sound of a gasp,
"Santa forgot about you?"
"What? No." the rabbit said quickly to stop the tears about to overflow from cocoa colored eyes, "When your as old as I am, one gift a year can be a problem. I wouldn't have room for all that junk." Bunny assured,
"How old are you?" Jack blinked curiously,
"Far older than your thinking, Jackie. How about you, mate? What did the big drongo bring?" the boy didn't bother trying to correct the Easter Bunny about his name. It was futile anyways.
"...what?" Jack was a sweet, and very adventurous, child. Bunny thought for sure he'd be on North's nice list,
"I'm always playing tricks on people, so I've gotten coal the past few years. I don't mind, Da doesn't have to chop as much fire wood." brown hair swayed as small shoulders shrugged. Bunny flicked the child on his forehead,
"And why are you messing with people!?"
"Because," Jack rubbed the sore spot on his head, "it makes other people laugh and the boogerman doesn't like that." green eyes widened and the furry body began to tremble. Bunny only lasted a few seconds before laughter burst from his mouth and he fell to his side. The thought of Pitch Black being covered in slimy mucus and lumps of boogers by tons of children being too much for his mind to handle. Jack could only watch in growing annoyance as his older companion rolled around on the ground,
"What!? What's so funny!?" his Irish accent becoming more apparent with his outburst,
"Y-you...boogerman!" the mighty Bunnymund fell into another round of laughter. The seven year old huffed and stood tall on his feet. With a fierce battle cry that can only come from a child on a mission, Jack charged into a flying leap. A yelp escaped the pooka's mouth when the younger landed on him with a solid thud,
"I was being serious!" the child whined. He crawled over the furry back and looked into emerald eyes, "Boogerman-"
"Boogieman, Jackie." Bunny chuckled,
"The scarey man doesn't like it when kids have fun. It makes it harder for him to scare people, I think."
"What do you mean?" the rabbit gently pushed the boy off his back and sat up. Jack rolled his eyes,
"He never sticks around when too many people are laughing. Like when Ma hid my candy behind some really smelly leaves." a frown appeared on the youth's face, "It was really stinky, so I refused to go near it."
"Your mother is a smart sheila. I could learn a lesson or two from her on how to handle loudmouth ankle-biters like yourself." Jack simply crossed his arms and stuck out his tongue in retaliation.
"BWAH!" the pooka screamed dropping the egglette he had been painting, allowing its little legs to kick in dismay when it landed on luscious green grass. Furious emerald eyes turned to the winter spirit that hovered behind him with a smug grin plastered on his face, "Bloody hell, mate! Why you gotta do that to a bloke!?"
"'Cause its funny." Jack's pale feet landed on the soft grass,
"How did you get in here anyhow?"
"North lent me a snowglobe."
"You mean you stole a snowglobe."
"No, North let me borrow one to come visit; 'Bunny needs loosening up' were his exact words." the white haired boy mimicked with a Russian accent. Bunny's glare intensified,
"Get out." a paint brush was pointed in the direction of the main tunnels, making Jack's grin droop,
"Come on, cottontail-"
"No." a furry paw picked up the pouting egglette and continued the pattern of yellow daisies on a blue background,
"...can I paint some eggs?" bluish gray ears perked up at the others question,
"What?" a stunned rabbit gazed over at the blue clad boy who rolled his eyes,
"Can I paint some eggs?"
"You..." Bunny started, "want to paint my googies...?"
"If the 'googies' don't mind, yes." the Guardian of Hope stared at the winter spirit a few seconds longer before he pulled a brush from the jar beside him,
"Alright, let's see what you got, Frostbite." Jack hummed happily as he accepted the brush and sat down, an egg immediately hopping up to him,
"Wow, I didn't think you'd actually let me help." the teen joked,
"Considering last Easter, I shouldn't be letting you any where near my Warren." Bunny subtly watched as Jack paused, a slight tremble in his hand as it reached down to tightly grip the wooden staff lying in his lap. The two spirits stayed silent for half an hour, a tense truce thickening the air,
"Thank you..." Jack's voice was quiet, making Bunny's ears twitch towards him while green eyes widened. Had Jack Frost, extreme prankster of the century, just thanked him, the Easter Bunny? The large rabbit continued to stare; the way the kid held his brush, the soft smile gracing his features, and simply his presence had Bunny thinking of hair and eyes the same shade of warm brown on a boy of Jack's age,
"Frostbite...what happened during Easter?" the older spirit observed Jack's body stiffen and heard the wooden handle of the brush creak with a threat to break,
"What does it matter? It won't change anything." his voice was eerily calm
"It might change my opinion."
"I..." bright blue eyes closed, "You're opinion of me will never change."
"You don't know that."
"I do know that."
"Have a little hope, Frost." those words seemed to make something inside the Spirit of Winter snap. Jack dropped his third painted egg and brush, standing abruptly,
"You took away my hope a long time ago, Aster." white hair ruffled when the North Wind swept down around Jack and swiftly carried him away to the tunnels that would lead him out of the Warren,
"Wait, Jack-!" Bunny moved to chase the frost spirit but the East Wind kept him back with blasts of chilling air until Jack was nearly to the surface,
"...How did you know my name...?" Bunny was left alone in the field to wonder. He could only try to ignore the way his heart tightened with remorse and the echoes of a piano on the edge of his mind.
The Easter Bunny hopped closer to the quaint cabin, his long ears twitching at the sound of an instrument behind the wooden walls. Jack's scent drenched the area of the small home and when Bunny peered inside he saw a brown haired boy playing a piano diligently, equally brown eyes concentrating on the sheet music set before him. A furry fist rapped lightly on the glass pane of the window and for a moment, Bunny feared the seven year old wouldn't acknowledge him. Why else would the child not meet him at the clearing like he did every other week? The rabbit's heart leapt with joy when the boy's attention snapped towards him and a bright smile lit up a round face. Jack instantly jumped off the wooden bench and stumbled towards the back door where he met Bunny by bouncing into his arms,
"Bunny!" Jack shrieked with delight,
"Hey, ya lil anklebiter." Bunny chuckled, hugging the child, "You missed our meeting." the pooka allowed himself to be pulled inside the comfort of the home.
"My Da took Ma to see the doctor. Ma said I had to practice until they came back if I wanted to go play." he scrambled back up onto the bench,
"I understand, Jackie." though Bunny was secretly relieved his favorite child had not forgotten him, "Don't want you getting in trouble with your parents."
"Can you stay until they come back?"
"I don't think I should-"
"Please?" cocoa colored eyes widened and watered, starring up at Bunny pleadingly,
"...fine." the spirit sighed. He could never say no to Jack's lethal puppy dog eyes,
"Yay! I like playing the piano more when I have an audience." the boy's teeth showed themselves in a grin,
"A piano, eh?" Bunny sat in a nearby chair that, luckily, fit his tail, "I didn't know someone as energetic as you could have the patience to learn an instrument."
"Hey, Ma says I have natural talent." the child pouted then smiled, "Ma was a well known piano player-"
"Pianist" his older companion corrected,
"in Ireland. She argued with the ship's captain for two hours to get it on board. Da always jokes about it."
"Considering your lung capacity, I'm not surprised." Bunny replied. Jack, not knowing what a 'lung capacity' was, ignored him,
"Ma started teaching me when I started walking. Da says she was vibrating with excitement, but I've never seen Ma vibrate before so I think he was lying." the small boy stated, making Bunny snigger,
"Alright, let's see what you got, Jackie." fluffy brown locks bounced when he nodded his head exuberantly. Jack turned back to the grand instrument and thin fingers instantly set to work pushing black and white keys. They gracefully glided across the smooth surfaces, striking chords and speeding into a crescendo, hitting a wrong note every so often, as expected of a child still learning. The swift digits danced through the notes and Bunny's ears twitched in pleasure as the music surrounded and filled him. The sweet noise seemed to end all too soon, but Bunny couldn't help the softening of his features into a gentle smile when the boy bounced in place and turned to look at him,
"Your mother wasn't joking. You do have some talent in that scrawny hide."
"Told you!" Jack declared. Bunny rolled his eyes in good nature,
"Yeah, you told me so, but talent is wasted if the heart decides it ain't worth it."
"You mean if I didn't like playing...?"
"That's what I said."
"...I do like playing." Jack lightly tapped out a scale on the keys, "It makes me happy and I like being able to make something so pretty." he grinned wistfully. Bunny opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted by the creaking of the front door,
"Jackson?" a female voice called and the child hopped off the bench to run up to the brown haired woman that was his mother,
"Ma! Da! You're back!" he threw his little body onto his mother's skirt and clung as his father helped the woman take off her coat, "Is Ma okay?"
"Of course, dear." she chuckled and knelt down to hug her son. Bunny slipped out the back door that was, thankfully, out of view of Jack's parents. He didn't want them thinking their cabin was haunted, especially when Jack was the only one with the eyes, "Your Da and I have a surprise for you."
"Really!?" Jack shouted in excitement and began hopping in place,
"That we do, son." the man of five foot eleven ruffled his son's hair, "You're going to be a big brother!" the child stilled,
"We're having a baby, Jackson. You'll have a little brother or sister in a few months time. Aren't you excited?" his mother asked, Jack stayed silent,
"Jack...?" his Da stepped forward to place a hand on a thin shoulder before the boy bolted, yanking the back door open and running past Bunny into the surrounding forest,
"Jackson!" his mother called but her husband stopped her,
"Sinead, give him some time. The doctor warned us this might happen."
"But Conan..." Bunny didn't hear anymore of the adult's conversation as he raced through the woods after Jack, easily catching the child and swinging him around into the rabbit's chest to hug the sobbing boy,
"Jackie, what happened?" Bunny asked quietly, rubbing soothing circles on the youngsters back,
"My-my Ma and Da are abandoning me!" Jack clutched fistfuls of bluish gray fur, tears streaking down his face,
"They wouldn't do that, mate..." though Bunny had seen such an act happen, Jack's parents didn't seem like the type to throw away their flesh and blood,
"They're..." he gasped for air, "they're having another baby. They're gonna replace me!"
"Hey, no need for tears, ankle biter. Just because your parents are having another little one don't mean they're gonna get rid of you." big paws easily engulfed the child, protecting him from the world,
"R-really?" brown eyes filled to the brim with hope made Bunny's own center react, jumping and singing to the small boy who called so desperately to it,
"Really." the Easter Bunny assured, "I had an older brother myself, growing up." he chuckled at the sudden interest Jack showed by jerking his head up and listening with steadfast attention,
"You had an older brother? What was he like? Did he look like you? Was he mean? Did you get along?"
"Slow down there, Jackie. First off, my older brother was my worst enemy."
"He was always making fun of me and calling me names. He'd throw mud at me and beat me in every game. No one could get me as mad as that drongo did, but he was my best friend too. My brother was smart and courageous; he'd be the first to stand up for me, defending me the moment someone even thought about hurting me. He taught me new things everyday and sneak treats to me when our mum wasn't looking. He was always there for me." the large rabbit finished, a nostalgic smile spread across his face, "Your new sibling may not be perfect, but to them you will be everything." Bunny shifted the smaller body in front of him so that he could look Jack in the eyes, "So, I want you to promise me something, Jackie."
"What?" the boy sniffed, using his sleeve to wipe away the remnants of tears from his round face,
"I want you to be the best big brother you can be to the tyke."
"I...I'll try." the youngest answered after a moment's thought," Bunny...?"
"Can you promise something too?" the green eyes of the lagomorph stared down at his companion with curiosity, "Will you always be there for me too?" Jack asked, pleading with the pooka who was taken back by the request,
"Of course, Jackie." Bunny finally answered,
"Pinkie promise." the boy held up his right pinkie with all the seriousness a child could acquire. Bunny raised an eyebrow, but refrained from mentioning the fact that his species did not have pinkie fingers. Instead, he held up the closest equivalent and wrapped the furry appendage around the smaller, furless one, "I promise to be the best big brother ever." Jack started,
"I, E. Aster Bunnymund. promise to always be there for you, Jackson Overland." and when little Jack beamed up at him with the brightest smile of pure happiness, E. Aster Bunnymund promised himself something. To protect and watch over this child who had grabbed his heart with innocent hands and refused to let go. Until the boy giggled,
"You have a funny name."
"Stuff it, Jackie."
"I, E. Aster Bunnymund, promise to always be there for you, Jackson Overland." a large, blue furred rabbit said aloud, his voice echoing slightly in the snow filled cemetery. Deft fingers delicately traced the name carved into the slab of stone set before him. There was no body buried in the ground below, Bunny could sense the lack of disturbance in the earth beneath his feet. He had never found out just how or where his Jackie had died. Emilie Overland, Jack's beloved little sister, had lost her belief by the time Bunny, or any of the other guardians, came to visit, and the townspeople had kept their children blissfully ignorant with lies of the deceased teenager going on a trip to the sky, that the oldest Overland child would be back soon. The adults, themselves, remained solemnly quiet, out of respect for the mourning family. It only drove Bunnymund deeper into denial and self hate; not knowing what had fallen over his soon to be mate.
He had promised.
He was supposed to be there.
But he failed.
And his dear Jack had died alone.
"I promise..." Bunny muttered, his head bowing and long ears flopping forward. He didn't hear the soft sound of feet landing in the snow not far behind him,
"Do you miss him...?" a quiet voice asked and Bunny, too deep in mourning, answered without thought,
"Do you want him back?
"More than anything else."
"...did you really love him that much...?"
"Forever and always. I promised. I promised him so much, but I..." dull emerald eyes closed, refusing to allow the salty water gathering in them to fall, "I promised him..."
"...I'm sure he knew that, Bunny."
"I failed him. There's no forgiveness for that." the pooka nearly snarled,
"I think...he forgave you. A long time ago. Jackie never blamed you for anything. You know that, Aster."
The next day, after Bunny had recomposed himself, he would be furiously questioning Tooth, Sandy, and North, especially, on how Jack bloody Frost knew about his deceased love. He would turn rabid and nearly flatten his precious googies during his rampage after no one could answer his questions.
Bunny refused to ask the perpetrator directly. He couldn't deal with the way Jack Frost made his heart flutter and pull. He couldn't deal with how identical Frost and Overland were becoming. He simply couldn't.
So, good? Bad? Awesome? Agonizing torture that makes your brain bleed?
Little shout out to all the older siblings out there! I'm the youngest of my family, with two older brothers and an older sister. you hate 'em, you love 'em, they make you wanna bite their heads off, they make you wanna cry with joy, and they spoil you rotten x3 I might have Aster's older brother make another appearance, tell me if you guys like that? Hate that? I welcome any of your opinions.
Since Jack is Irish in this story, I had to give his parents Irish names. I always liked the name 'Sinead' which means 'God is Gracious' and it's the title of a song by one of my favorite bands; Within Temptation. The dad's name took me a while to find. Conan means 'Swift-footed Warrior', I decided he is from a line of Celtic warriors and I thought it fit since Jack is very...nimble and quick xD Their kids have such different names because they were both born on American soil (even though its not America yet, I think) and they wanted their kids to fit in more with others.
Please tell me what you think! The next chapter will be mainly, if not all, composed of flashbacks of the confessions, courting, and other mushy romantic stuff that happened between human Jack and Bunny. It may be really long or split up into several chapters, but will end with Bunny very dramatically mourning over Jack's death. Be prepared to cry when that happens! :D
Bad news: the next chapter may not be out for a while. I'm going to try and get out a chapter of my other story before posting more for this one. A Dance of Death was published first and I feel like I'm cheating my other readers by not working on DoD. I'm planning on posting one chapter for DoD then MH (Melody of the Heart) then DoD then MH and so on. DoD has two or three chapters left though, so once it is finished, I will be working primarily on MH until it's completion (with who knows how many chapters). MH will also be reaching it's climax in a few chapters. I just want to get the courting of human Jack out of the way first before starting on Bunny's realization of Frost and Overland being one and the same. I have a...surprise for you guys in the next few chapters, because every romantic relationship has its share of anger, tears, and bruises.
Reviews help inspire me and make me write faster! :D