Autumn was so boring.
Resting his back against the trunk of a tree, Jack Frost, the eternal young, spirit of winter blew a chilly wave of air through the bangs over his eyes, tapping the ground with his staff, producing intricated frosted patterns on the solid earth.
Gazing over at the frozen pond he called home, a warm smile spread over his face at the sight of the kids of Burgess skating and playing over the eternally frozen surface—Jack had taken care of that himself, making sure to freeze it to the very bottom so his story wouldn't have to be repeated; he didn't want for Jamie and Sophie to have a similar fate to that of his and his sister—and, deciding he had nothing else to do anyway, approached the children to join in the fun.
"Hey Jack!" exclaimed Jamie, seeing that the spirit was hovering over to the pond's border line. "We're gonna have a figure skating competition right now, wanna join?"
The teen gave him a laugh. "Sorry kid, it wouldn't be fair; I've been doing this for more than three centuries now, I'd kick all your little butts" as he finished talking, he moved over to the pond, making ice appear and surround his feet, taking the shape of ice skates, and after gathering another amount at the base for the blades, he started sliding gracefully around the others, making their heads spin at the sheer spin of his legs over the ice. After making a couple spins in mid-air, he landed right in front of Jamie, receiving the children applause with a deep bow, grinning at the rose-like design on the ice, before freezing it over again so it was plain for the children to skate.
"Aww…but then, what are you gonna do? You've been sitting over there the whole morning" the little believer gave him a concerned look, which just lasted a second before being replaced with an excited grin. "I know, it's fall, right? Why don't you go visit Bunny? Easter is in six months, he shouldn't be that busy"
Jack put on a wary face. He had already thought of visiting one of the other guardians, but he wasn't really sure who.
North was out of question, Christmas was in three months and it seemed this decade had way too many children born in it. Tooth was also busy, what with Halloween approaching, she had to prepare for the imminent arrival of thousands of fallen teeth due to—she shivered at the mere thought—sugar cavities. Sandy was always busy, and he really didn't have a place to hang around in.
And there was Bunny.
Jamie was right, Easter was in six months, so the rabbit didn't really have anything to do; working with perishables eggs made him have all the work done in the limit of time. But he didn't want to bother him right now; he had been spending a lot of time at Tooth's palace lately, and Jack supposed it was something important so he decided to just wait until everything was in order.
He was pretty sure that, being as busy as she was, Tooth would've already finished her business with the spring spirit, and at this season, Aster had to make sure the Warren—especially the trees and egg-producing flowers—wouldn't have trouble with the coldness that was just around the corner.
And he was the Guardian of Fun, for Moon's sake, it was his job to go jab at people's ribs.
Changing his wariness for a playful grin, he redirected his attention to Jamie, who was trying to not fall from his spot due to his slipping ice skates. "You're right kiddo, I mean; Bunny doesn't really have anything to do! What kind of friend would I be if I let him there, in his booooring Warren? I'm the Guardian of fun, for crying out loud!" giving him a pat on the head, he started flying towards the Pooka's home, not before hearing the unmistakable sound of someone falling face-first on solid ice, and then a joyful scream from the little brunette.
"Hey! A tooth!"
The Warren was, just as Jack thought, colder than usual. Autumn had already showed its face around the place; the trees were almost all losing their leaves, leaving the floor a crunchy mess of red, orange, yellow and brown; the colorful rivers running all around the place were now calm and quiet, and the flowers were either closed or what looked to be hibernating, with their stems bowed down and leaves wrapped around them.
Hovering over the vast expanse of land for a few minutes, the ice spirit decided to look for the older guardian on foot, seeing at how the rabbit wasn't in a visible area from above. Stepping over the crunchy leaves, Jack wandered around the center of the Warren, going up and down the place, using the dirt path that seemed more freshly used, if the lack of leaves were something to go for. The winter spirit was starting to get bored, where was that damn Kangaroo anyway?
As bored as the boy was, he did let out a yell of surprise when something wet and cold touched his foot, followed by a little nip to his right ankle.
Turning around as fast as he would in a windy day, he stared dumbfounded at the little ball of grey fur staring curiously at him from his position at his feet. It was a little bunny, its grey fur marked with tribal marks around its little paws and over its forehead; it looked awfully like…
"Bunny...?" the boy whispered over his astonished state. Was this really Bunny? Did he lose his powers again? Did every kid in the world turn 18 at the same time and stopped believing in the Easter Bunny...?
"Oh blimey" a deep voice, thick with an distinct accent spoke right behind Jack's back
Slowly turning back around, the frozen boy stared at Bunnymund's green eyes, shifting his own from the great Easter spirit to the little look-alike of the other. This kept on going for a good two minutes until the Pooka sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"What are ya doin' here, Snowflake?"
"Uh…" Jack couldn't exactly form a coherent sentence at the moment; he just kept staring at Aster and, slowly, raised a finger to point at the little bunny behind him. "Care to explain that first, Cottontail?"
The guardian of hope gave him a clearly you-are-so-not-avoiding-the-question look, but answered anyway. "īTis a helper. Y'know how Tooth can make those little fairies to help her? Work's been a little too overwhelmin' lately, so I asked her to teach me how to do it"
Jack was at a loss. Little bunny helpers? The idea sounded a bit too…adorable to have come from the big and mighty 6'1 master of TaiChi. "So you made a little you to help you paint eggs? That's so…cute!" the young guardian couldn't contain his laughter, doubling over and holding his stomach. Ignoring the fact that Aster was now growling, Jack scooped the little bunny up from the floor and cradled it in his arms, cooing over (as he checked) him, causing the small animal to sniff curiously at his face and arms.
"It ain't just one, mate" Bunny said, trying to get Jack to drop his furry charge (carefully, of course).
The winter spirit looked back at him. "…what do you mean it's not just one?"
The Pooka made a gesture with his head, quickly catching the little rabbit when Jack turned around to meet the round, fluffy and curious faces of at least a hundred little bunnies, just like the one he was holding a while ago.
"…oh crap" was the only thing he could say before Bunny leaped out of the way, and all the newly arrived helpers jumped towards the teen, surrounding him and making him fall on his bum on the floor, which gave them the chance to crawl all over him, sniffing and nipping and licking and nuzzling every piece that could be considered as Jack Frost.
Bunny grinned as Jack's hand (now the only visible part of his body) waved in the air, asking for help. Feeling merciful, he outstretched the hand that wasn't holding the helper and grabbed Jack's, giving it a firm pull and getting the boy from under the sea of fur and whiskers.
Gasping for air as he was put on his feet, the winter spirit cowered behind Aster, only to have the little rabbit he was holding looking at him over the furry shoulder, nose twitching and ears swiveling around.
Jack, finally catching back his breath, asked "What's the deal with those fur balls, Bunny? They almost drown me!"
"They're doing their job, Frostbite. They don't only help with the eggs, but also have to keep on line little nuisances like you"
But of course, thought Jack, trust Bunny to get even more ways of keeping him out of the Warren.
So this was what he was doing with Tooth all this time, uh? He knew that the fairy used a spell to create the little ones from herself; did that mean those little bunnies were a part of the Pooka himself...?
Aster didn't like the grin that was slowly eating the teen's face.
"So, kangaroo" said Jack, turning to face the older guardian "did you use the same method Tooth uses?"
"Well, yeah, it was the quickest one…are ya implyin' something, Frost?"
Before answering, Jack managed to snatch the helper in Bunny's hands, moving to sit cross-legged in the middle of the other bunnies, who moved to make him a space.
"Then, everything this fur balls do is, in extension, something you would like to do, am I right?" his grin was so big that every single one of his pearly-white teeth were visible.
Bunny just wanted to punch that smile out of his face.
"Oi! What ya think ya doin', you dill? Get outta there!"
Aster gasped as Jack then put the little one in his hands over his shoulder, which started nosing his neck and nuzzling his cold cheek.
Jack giggled at the ticklish sensation, letting the other bunnies come closer to him, some of them boldly climbed over his legs and pawed at the blue hoodie, and others curled up against his back, feet and every place that wasn't occupied.
One even decided that his front pocket was an excellent place to take a nap.
If there was one time Jack Frost really wanted a camera, it would be this precise moment.
To say that Bunnymund was mortified was being generous.
His left eye twitched, ears drooping low against his head, fur bristled round his neck, and his arms gave little jerks as if trying to reach for the little helpers…or Jack's neck.
Which one? Not even he was sure.
"Aw, Bunny" Jack started again "I never knew you wanted to cuddle so badly, why didn't you just ask?"
"Now listen here, whatever those…traitors do has absolutely NOTHIN' to do with me! They act on their own! Why would I want to be anywhere near ya, let alone cuddle with ya? Ya're as cold as a dingo's heart!"
The guardian of hope was so busy rambling to himself; he didn't notice the teen getting up from his spot, leaving all the bunnies to compensate for the loss by cuddling with each other. Jack was now in front of Aster, and without a word, wrapped his arms around the furry waist of the other.
Bunny stilled instantly, like a deer in front of highlights, and before he could react and leap away, the hug ended and a very grinning Jack Frost stood in front of him.
"Well, as fun as it is to get you al riled up over nothing, Canada needs its dose of snowdrifts and-" he looked at his wrist, as if checking an imaginary watch "-I'm already late, oh well, till next time then, Cottontail!"
With that, the frosted young flew towards one of the tunnels, before stopping, pulling the sleepy rabbit out of his pocket, and gently placing it gently on the ground. After that, he was gone.
The Pooka slowly lowered himself to the floor, grabbing the helper that was closer to him—the same one Jack had over his shoulder a moment ago—and snuggled it closely against his face, catching the light scent of the icy pain in the back on the soft fur.