Jack blinked his eyes open, he must have been asleep, but he couldn't remember falling asleep though. The last thing he remembered was cuddling up to North and letting the tears fall. He was lying in bed; he loved the feeling, the soft covers against his skin, his head resting upon a feather cushion. The window had been left wide open letting the wind in.
His staff was leaning against the wall next to the bedside table that had a tray on it. Jack sat up looking at the tray. There was a note from North: "Jack, I had to leave to talk to April. We are sorting out paperwork and will have you legally release soon. You won't have to worry, we will sort everything out. I left food for you, you need to eat. If you do not like it, it is okay, yetis will bring you something different. Also, if you need me ask a yeti, they will get me. North."
Jack smiled and cuddled the note close, closing his eyes. North was nice to him and he truly appreciated it. North had been nice to him before knowing Jack was innocent, it was obviously a part of his nature. Jack pulled the tray onto the bed, he was hungry. He looked carefully at the food and liquids. He first decided to try the juice. Apple.
He smiled and froze it, removing it from the glass he sucked at it like an ice cream. It didn't melt in his hand or get sticky like it would for most; it was surprising it melted in his mouth in fact. He then poked at the bowl of cereal, a thing of milk on the side. He didn't like milk too much. It tasted nice in ice cream, but it was terribly strange tasting when frozen.
He grabbed a bit of the cereal and bit it in half, it was sweet and crumbly. Then he grabbed a raisin out of the cereal and tried it, it was sweet. He liked this cereal. He ignored the spoon as he picked up bits with two fingers eating it slowly. When he ran out of cereal he decided to try the fruit, most he has already tried: banana, apple, melon, most he liked... the coconut confused him, it was already cut in half and looked quite yummy yet it was filled with milk.
Jack carefully poured the milk out into the now empty cereal bowl before trying to get some of the white stuff out of the shell. He stared at it for a second before eating it; he raised an eyebrow and decided he didn't like it. It froze at his touch and like he said before, milk wasn't nice frozen.
A snicker came from the doorway. He looked up to see Bunny leaning on the door frame. "Not a fan of coconut, I see."
"It's all... milky" Jack whispered, uncertainty trained his voice. Of all the Guardians he would like to see, Bunny was definitely the least. "Where is North?" he asked hopefully.
"He's sorting out paperwork, for you."
"Oh..." Jack pulled the sheets further over himself, cuddling the pillow like a teddy bear.
"Don't worry, he'll not take too long, he wants us to all eat together tonight."
"Really?" Jack looked up at Bunny, eyes bright.
Bunny couldn't help but smile as he nodded. "The way this is going, we will be seeing a lot of each other, us Guardians. We don't really believe what the old winter spirit says about you being in danger, seems like a very weak excuse, but it would be best if we were to keep a close eye on you, precaution and all."
Jack nodded, understanding. He guessed it wasn't completely for his safety but a good part for the safety of others too. He doubted they trust him completely yet. But if this meant he got company and wouldn't be forced into solitude, he didn't care too much for the reason.
He cuddled the cushion closer and Bunny frowned. He carefully, slowly, approached Jack. When there was no reaction, he sat down on the bed next to him. He had expected Jack to flinch, move away, but Jack just looked up at Bunny with those big blue eyes of his. They were curious, hesitant, but they weren't filled with fear or hatred towards the person who had been so determined to view and treat him like a criminal. It felt much worse. Jack didn't care what Bunny had done. And that was sad; Jack should be enraged, not uncaring.
"You know... if you ever get accused of any crime again, you should probably ask what your guilty of," Bunny suggested.
Jack grinned. "I'm hoping I won't have to use that useful piece of advice."
"You never know, maybe I'll be the next one to use it, accused of false accusations."
Jack's grin vanished and he shook his head, looking away. "It's not like you could have known."
"I never truly saw your face; I jumped to a conclusion, a rather big one."
"You all did."
"Doesn't make it right. We all left you to that prison for all those years, that doesn't make it right."
"It's your job to protect children, how was I anything to do with you?"
"You're a child, ain't ya?"
"I'm three hundred years old!"
"Your point, mate?"
"Not a child."
Bunny smirked, making Jack back away slightly. Suddenly Bunny pounced and Jack found himself pinned to the bed laughing as Bunny tickled Jack. "You know, this usually isn't as effective on adults," Bunny pointed out with a smirk as Jack tried to pull away.
"Oh? You saying you could take it."
Jack grinned and with a careful movement, before Bunny could stand it, Jack had his staff freezing Bunny to the wall. "Hey!"
"Now it's my turn!" he shouted and ran up to tickle Bunny, laughing almost as much if not more than Bunny as he did so. Bunny was nowhere near as affected by Jack, in fact, he was laughing more from watching Jack then the actual tickling.
The sound of the door opening made Jack stop tickling Bunny. He turned to see who had entered having to use a lot of self-control to not take on a defensive pose. His eyes widened and he would have backed against the wall if it not for Bunny being behind him.
April, the woman from the prison stood there looking at the two with a very serious expression. Bunny felt embarrassed as he broke the ice. "We were playing..." he explained, placing a paw on Jack's shoulder so as to relax him and show April it was no fight.
"I can see that," April said coldly, making Jack cuddle closer to Bunny who muzzled his hair reassuringly. "I'm guessing this means you believe Old Man Winter?"
"Of course," Bunny replied. "This explanation makes much more sense than our previous information," he replied, his grip around Jack tightening. "If Jack denied the crime and Old Man Winter admitted to it, there was no way Jack could still be named guilty, right?
"You will be standing down as witness, I guess?"
Bunny nodded. "I still stand as witness to a murder, but not one committed by Jack Frost," Bunny said.
"Fair enough. You will have to fill out some paperwork as well, as you already know."
Bunny nodded. "Of course... has North finished with his?" he asked looking at Jack, not wanting to leave the kid alone quite yet.
"Nearly, are you coming?" she asked turning to leave.
Bunny hesitated, then nodded, letting go of Jack and hopping forwards. He turned around for a second to look at Jack. "Finish eating," he said, thinking "lie down... we will be checking your physical state later... we probably shouldn't have had you so active so soon after your prison sentence."
Jack gave a small nod. "Are Tooth and Sandy here?" he whispered.
Bunny shook his head. "They're working... don't worry, I won't be long and neither will North... Would you like me to tell one of the yetis to keep you company?"
Jack shook his head. "The wind is here," he replied.
Bunny nodded. "Call me if you need me, okay?"
Jack nodded as Bunny hopped out the door. April looked at Jack, it wasn't with hated or even suspicion; she simply looked serious. And Jack didn't like serious, he liked fun. Once he was alone he stood still for a few minutes before doing as Bunny had said, finishing off his food, even the coconut and lying down. He didn't feel tired, but he didn't feel very energetic either.
He daydreamed for a while, imagining North showing him around the toy shop, playing with the kids, flying with Tooth and Sandy, tickling Bunny. He smiled and hoped that these dreams could eventually become a reality.
He was surprised when the door opened and North walked in. He looked a little tired but jolly all the same. "Jack! You should be resting," he said, but smiled as he sat on the bed. "You ate all your food," he said looking at the tray.
"It was yummy, I like food," Jack replied sitting up, smiling, happy for the company.
"Does your tummy feel okay?"
Jack gave a small nod. "Why wouldn't it?"
"You said you were not given actual food in prison, some people react badly to that."
"Oh... well, so far I'm fine," he replied with a small smile.
"That is good!" North replied. "From what we have seen, you are strong boy. You should be good."
Jack smiled and nodded.
"Are you feeling any better?" North asked, a bit more quiet and a bit more serious.
Jack looked confused. "Better?"
"About all that has happened... with Old Man Winter..."
Jack hesitated, then gave a small nod. "I... I don't like it, but... I... it could have been worse, I mean... at least... I don't know," he finally cuddled up to North. "I don't know... it all just feels so foreign."
"I know Jack... it will make sense in future."
Jack nodded and closed his eyes. "I kind of wish I was a murderer, it would all be so much simpler."
"Ha! Simpler? It would be no such thing! I mean, at least now we have motives: the spring spirits were murdered to frame you for what we have guessed so that the old spirit can be the main Winter Spirit. Everything makes sense, your just confused child in middle... now if confused child where murderer, there would be no explanation in world!"
"Motives are not always the most important thing."
"No... not always, but had we made more of an effort to find your motive... we may have found the truth sooner. You may have been free sooner..."
"I don't care."
"Don't care? But you were locked up... alone..."
"I was alone before, too," he pointed out, "and I'll be alone soon again," he whispered more to himself then to North, but North heard.
"We won't let that happen Jack," North said, placing both hands on Jack's shoulders. "I will not."
"It may not be within your hands."
"Of course it will be, I don't have to leave you alone and besides, we can't just have you wandering off on your own, hundred and seventy years... who knows how your little head is doing, you may wonder off to a dessert by mistake!"
"Doubt that," Jack whispered, but smiled.
"Yeah, well I take no risks with children. I am Guardian after all! And you are child," he said, pulling the sheets up to Jack's chin and making sure he was comfortable. Jack closed his eyes, making himself comfortable. "And naughty or nice... we protect children," North finished.
He had always said that, always believed that, but he had believed Jack had been naughty and so he had failed in protecting Jack. Even when Jack appeared on the nice list, he failed at protecting that one lost child. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "It won't happen again, never again."