"Jack! Elaina!" Elaina heard Emily shout as she rushed back into the castle.
"What is it?" They both asked as they gave her equally worried expressions. They haven't seen her rush in the castle like that since the Summer and Spring spirits got into a fight in Georgia which then ended up causing a few Tornadoes somehow.
"One of the fire spirits...they're attacking the Snow Queen."
"Where is she?" Jack asked quickly as he immediately gripped his staff with pure fury dancing in his eyes. "Where are they?"
"They're in Texas in North America. They've been at it back and forth, and the Snow Queen is on the defensive. I tried to get involved, but the Snow Queen told me not to, and although she doesn't order me around, she seemed desperate to do it on her own, but I know that she'll listen to you. They need to stop!"
"And you couldn't stop them?"
"If I did, it would've caused a natural disaster. You have to try and talk her down."
"Alright, let's go Elaina!"
"Right!" Elaina nodded her head and morphed into the wind, wrapping herself around Jack as tightly and as comfortingly as she could. 'We can do this, together.'
'Yeah, let's just hope we don't see the Easter Bunny...it's Easter Sunday.'
'Oh, no!' Elaina gasped as they went through the portal, and they immediately made their way for Texas.
Once they got there, they didn't notice anything at first so they traveled to East Texas, and that's when they saw it. A huge blizzard that was burying an entire town in at least three feet of snow at the moment. "I won't let you set the forest on fire!" Kala's voice could be heard crying out.
"I am a FIRE SPIRIT! It's what I do, and you have no authority over me!"
"The one who has ultimate authority over you just tried to stop our fight, because she knew how disastrous it would be, and I sent her away so I could try and make you see reason!"
"See REASON! It's not even your SEASON! It's not Winter here! It's spring! It was supposed to be in the high eighties for heat in Texas, and you dropped it down to FIFTEEN degrees JUST so that you could prevent me from causing a fire! I have a job to do!"
"Then do it tomorrow...not today! Today is Easter Sunday!"
"Yes, and the children will not have an Easter here regardless! You've buried the town in three feet of SNOW! The Easter Bunny can't hide eggs in snow. He has to remain hidden, and the eggs that walk around can't climb over the snow! We would've both ruined Easter for this section, but at least I would've done it by doing MY JOB!"
Having seen enough of the argument, Jack flew closer with Elaina fuming behind him. "Now, that's enough."
"Oh! Good! The Winter General! Take the Snow Queen and leave me to do my job in PEACE!"
"You will not do your job here." Jack warned in a deep and low voice that always gave Elaina a slight shiver, but at the moment she could only agree with his controlled rage.
"THE HELL I WON'T!" The fire spirit shouted as she tossed a fireball at Jack.
Jack rushed up to meet it and allowed all of his ice magic to focus on the fire ball, and as Elaina rapidly flew around it, the fireball eventually cooled and disappeared before it could even touch him. "No, you won't. Don't make me fight you. I really don't want to. Kala, go back to the Domain. You've worried Mother Nature enough for one day."
"Y-Yes, Jack. I apologize."
"Don't apologize to me. Apologize to her."
Once the Snow Queen was gone, Jack focused his efforts on the Fire spirit. "And what exactly are you going to do?"
"I'm going to fight you, beat you, and tell the General of Summer that you not only tried to fight one of mine, but that you are interfering with Spring! Wildfires aren't supposed to happen in Texas for Spring this year, and you would know that if you paid attention when we were all gathered for a council meeting."
"No need to deal with her." The General of Summer appeared with pure rage in his eyes. "Julie! Get down here, NOW! If you don't you can kiss your powers goodbye!"
"R-Right away, General!" The General of summer sent an appreciative nod towards Jack before both of them disappeared.
'Elaina, do you think we can rid of all of this snow?'
'I think you should stop the blizzard first.'
'Right.' Jack lifted into the air, and allowed his power to unfurl in it's silent waves, slowly stopping the blizzard.
He was about ten minutes away from successfully stopping it when he heard an unfortunately very familiar voice. "Wha-! No!"
'That would be Bunny.' Elaina winced.
'Yes, unfortunately that would...' Jack slowly flew down, trying to continue to focus on stopping the blizzard. "Hello, Bunny. Funny seeing you here on this fine day!"
"A fine day he says!" Bunny growled as he took out his boomerangs. "Ya damn Gala! Ya endangered hundreds of kids with your stunt!"
Jack immediately had to dodge a boomerang, and with the help of Elaina, flew quite a ways away. "So, I don't suppose you'll believe me when I say I wasn't the one to do this?"
"Not bloody likely, mate!" He growled out as he threw another boomerang while catching the other. "Stand still so I can hit ya! Ya ruined my holiday here, ya damn monster!"
'HE IS NOT A MONSTER!' Elaina growled before carefully setting Jack on the ground, and moving to swiftly cause a small snow cyclone beneath Bunny's feet, sending him up into the air and then dropping him when she moved back to Jack's side.
'Thanks, but that doesn't really help, Elaina. He'll think that was me.'
'So? He deserved it!'
"Oh, ya wanna play it that way, do ya!?" Bunny shouted, and he he started chasing after Jack. "Do ya have any idea what ya could've done!?"
"Nothing! Because it's still Easter everywhere else too!"
"Only because ya couldn't push your damn winter wonderland everywhere else! Doesn't Mother Nature have a guy to control you lot!?"
'Wait a minute...does he really not know?' Elaina asked as she continued to keep Jack in the air.
'Um...apparently not.' Jack thought to her before sending a small ice blast towards him. Not enough to actually hurt him, but enough to get him to move or be caught off guard. "There is, but..."
"THEN WHERE THE HELL IS HE!? He needs to pull you back and either train you some more, or get rid of you!"
"BUNNY!" Jack could hear Sandy above them, which was strange considering it was day time. Sandy floated just above them and conjured a sand whip that wrapped around Bunny's ankles and pulled him upside down.
"S-Sandy!? What the hell are ya doin' here, mate!?"
"Stopping you from making a very terrible mistake, and your words are cruel and unkind to ANYONE! What if a child saw you and heard you say such things!?"
"What do ya mean stoppin' ME from makin' a terrible mistake! Ya didn't see what the damn winter sprite did!"
"He isn't a sprite." Sandy tried to tell him calmly while still holding him upside down. He then turned to face Jack. "Are you alright, Jack?"
"Yeah, I'm fine Sandy. He didn't hurt me. However, I think Wind got him riled up though."
"Wind!? What the bloody - He's crazy Sandy, and you!? Ya know him!?"
"Yes I do, and trust me when I tell you this, if you harmed him, you would have Mother Nature to deal with."
"This monster!? BAH!" Bunny laughed out as he hung upside down.
"He is not a MONSTER!" Sandy shouted as he flung Bunny into the snow. "How can you be so unkind when you don't even know him!?"
"What's there to know!?" Bunny questioned loudly as he quickly got up and brushed the snow off. "Look at what he did to my holiday!? Oh, and YOU'RE sayin' that if I mess with him, I'll have Mother Nature to deal with!? That's rich, Sandy! He's a Winter sprite! The only reason why he's around is to do whatever his precious general says."
'Jack, are you going to let him talk about you like that?'
'Yes, because now it's a Guardian fight. It may be about me, but now THEY are fighting it out.'
"You really have no clue, do you?" Sandy asked as he tilted his head in confusion and concern. Then, he turned to face Jack. "You didn't tell him?"
"You're the only one that knows that isn't a part of Mother Nature's Domain. You're the only one that's nice to me." Jack shrugged with mild annoyance as he crossed his arms with his staff in the crook of his elbow.
Sandy's eyes widened immensely as he turned back to face Bunny. "Can I tell him?"
"Sure, why not? He's still going to blame me anyway."
"Of course I'm gonna blame ya! I saw ya in the middle of the damn blizzard!" Bunny made to reach for his Boomerangs, but Sandy's whips yanked both of them out of his hands. "Sandy!? What the Hell!?"
"JACK IS THE GENERAL OF WINTER, YOU OVER SIZED RABBIT!" Sandy screamed with his symbols, leaving both Jack and Bunny in a state of completely stunned shock. Sandy used his whips to give Bunny back his boomerangs, and Bunny barely caught them. "He's the General of Winter." He repeated in a more calmer manner. "I was sent here by Mother Nature herself, because HE was sent here to deal with one of his spirits that was fighting with a Fire spirit."
'I have never seen Father that mad...He must really like you, Jack.'
'Thanks, but as much as that may be flattering on any other day, today is Easter, and they are supposed to be friends.' Jack let out a sigh and shook his head. "Sandy, it's alright. I accept the blame."
"HA! He admits it! Ya see!" Bunny hopped slightly as he jumped and pointed at Jack with a victorious smirk.
"Jack..." Sandy sagged with pure confusion mixed in with remorse. "Why are you accepting the blame?"
"Because it was one of MY spirits that caused the blizzard. Mother Nature got to me in time in order to get to her, but I should've..."
"Wait...the two of ya are bloody serious! HE'S THE GENERAL OF WINTER!?"
"Yes, I am. Have been since 1712."
"17...1712!? But when I met ya it was..."
"Yeah, been around a bit longer than you think, Cottontail."
"Well, if ya'd been the General of Winter for that damn long, why didn't ya take control of your damn winter spirit?"
"I didn't know she had gotten into a fight. I'm sorry."
"Sorry or not, you should've taken control of your spirit before THE BOTH of ya ruined my holiday! Now, Sandy, how do ya know him!?"
"We visit, we spar, we talk, and I tell him how all of you are." Sandy answered honestly with a slight smile.
"Why do ya tell him 'bout us?" Bunny's ears twitched for a moment, and Jack tried not to laugh at it, so he simply smiled instead.
"He asks how you all are, because you're my friends. So, I tell him."
"Oh, and ya don't think that's gonna backfire on ya!? For all you know he could be trying to get information to try and get to one of us! It's not like one of Mother Nature's spirits haven't tried to do it before."
"I would never do that to him." Jack snarled low, trying to keep his temper in from Bunny's words, but it was slowly slipping.
'Careful, love.' Elaina whispered to him mentally, and just like that, he was calm.
'Thank you, Elaina.'
"And why should I believe ya!? I'm standin' on three feet of snow!"
"Fine, don't believe me, that's fine, but isn't Sandy supposed to be your friend? Perhaps you should take him at his word. If you really consider him your friend you'll trust him and what he says. He can obviously hold his own, so it's not like I'm forcing him to do anything, and considering you were upside down moments ago..."
"Sandy..." Bunny's ears went flat against his head. "...ya tellin' the truth, mate? Ya think of him as a friend?"
Sandy gave a proud look towards Jack who gave him a soft smile in return. "Yes. He's my best friend, in fact."
"What? Not even I was able to become your best friend and we've known each other for millions of years...LITERALLY!"
"I know...it was strange, but yeah, I think of him as my best friend."
"Does he know things about ya that the other's don't? Does he know things about ya that I don't?"
"Yes. I trust him that much."
Bunny's ears showed many different types of emotions as they lifted up, down, twitched, and at times they would go completely flat against his skull. Eventually he settled on the ear movement that seemed to signify determination and anger all at once. "This ain't over, Frostbite! I won't ever forgive ya for ruinin' my holiday. Even if ya didn't do it yourself, it was your own spirit, and you should've had a better handle on them if you've been a General for that long!" Bunny tapped his foot twice against the snow, and a large hole appeared under his feet.
Once he was gone, and the hole was closed with a dandelion flower as the only evidence there was something there, Sandy floated down to Jack and gave him an apologetic smile. "Sorry about that..."
"It's not your fault, Sandy."
"But the things he said to you...ABOUT you...as if you weren't there..."
"You may not like it, but I'm used to it. More often than you would think."
Sandy shook his head and placed a hand on Jack's shoulder. "It's still no way to treat someone."
"I know that, and you know that...Hell, I'm pretty sure even Bunny knew that, but Sandy, look behind you." Sandy did as Jack asked and saw all of the snow on the ground. "This is what he saw, and he saw me in the air in the middle of the blizzard. He's also right, I should've had a better handle on my spirit. She meant well, I'm sure, but she didn't come to me with her plans, and I should've checked on her. She's not used to Texas and its' heat. She's used to the Northern states and Canada."
"He's probably going to be mad for a while..." Sandy sighed as he shook his head, sending the conversation was a losing battle, and Bunny had already done the damage. "I just wish the others knew you like I know you."
"Thanks, Sandy." Jack chuckled lightly, feeling slightly calmer with his presence, and he felt that Elaina was calmer as well. "That means a lot, it does, but I've been around since 1712 and I'm still trying to get believers...just one would be enough! Just one mortal child to see me."
"Child!? I thought it wouldn't matter who." Sandy tilted his head at Jack as a look of bewilderment crossed his features.
"Well, it does. I can't explain it, but it does."
"And...you said the Man in the Moon gave you your name?" Sandy inquired with a risen brow.
"Yeah, why? Do you know something?"
"No, it's just...strange."
'That's the look Father gives when he does in fact know something, but if you ask him again or push the subject...he probably won't want to talk for a while.'
'Thanks for the heads up.' He let out a frustrated sigh. "Fine, but why did Mother Nature send you?"
"She apparently caught onto our friendship and used one of her animal bird spirits to track me down. She then told me where you were, and that you were likely caught by Bunny since you didn't go back WITH the Snow Queen or the other General. She was worried, and apparently knew EXACTLY who to send."
"Apparently so." Jack nodded and smirked.
"So, how's your girlfriend?"
"It's what you would call the one you love that you're with."
"Ah, okay, well, she's fine. She created a small snow cyclone that lifted Bunny into the air. Both of you actually said the same thing about Bunny calling me a monster, but she said it telepathically. She calmed me down when I was about to lose my temper. She's good at that."
"I'm sorry this happened."
"Again, not your fault. Don't worry. I already knew he didn't like me, so it's fine."
"You know, he has a habit for naming things...he's probably gonna call this the Blizzard of '68." Sandy joked with a half smile. The other half was still apologetic.
"Really? Well, that's not too bad of a name. At least we'll know what he means when he says it."
"Yes, at least there's that. Would you like to fly with me while I go deliver dreams?"
"I would love to, but I have to tell Mother Nature I'm fine."
"Actually she told me once the fight ended, I was allowed to go ahead and take you."
Jack's face lit up with delight, and he almost forgot about the fight. Almost. "Well, alright then. We can use this time to catch up."
Once they edged into the dark of night, they both relaxed a great deal, and Elaina eased Jack onto the dream sand cloud where Sandy was used to him sitting and accompanying him. "So, how exactly did your's and Mother Nature's conversation go?" Jack asked as Sandy started delivering dreams.
"Honestly, it didn't go." He chuckled light as he jumped here and there on his sand cloud sending out hundreds of tendrils that would break off into thousands later.
"What do you mean?"
"What I mean is...I didn't let her finish asking me to come help you. All she was able to get out was, 'Jack is in Texas, he didn't come back with the Snow Queen or the other General, so I think Bunny may have caught him and suspected the worse, and you're his best friend, can you...' And then I took off without needing another word."
"Wow, thank you, Sandy."
"Anytime, Jack. I'll always be there for you if I can."
"Okay, but just...don't trouble yourself over me. I can handle just fine on my own."
"Ah, but you see, I know you're not on your own, because you have your girlfriend by you at all times. So, let me ask you something...how far have the two of you gone?"
"Like...around the world?" Jack squeaked as a lump of nervousness crammed itself in his windpipe, keeping him from not only breathing properly, but speaking properly.
"No, you innocent boy! You know very well what I meant."
"I...we haven't had sex yet if that's what you're asking."
"WHAT WHY NOT!? It's certainly been long enough!"
'OH IF YOU ONLY KNEW WHO YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT!' Jack and Elaina mentally chorused together in immense embarrassment. "We just decided to take it slow."
"Jack, there's slow, and then there's not moving at all." Sandy chuckled lightly as he turned to send out another set of dream sand to the left of his dream cloud, causing Jack to shift where he was sitting.
"Have the two of you at least held hands?"
"Yes, and we've danced. We've also kissed...a lot. It's a daily thing really...sometimes hourly if neither of us can help it. She helps me cook, she spars with me, she lights up my days when I'm feeling down, and sometimes we just enjoy each other's company, not needing to say a word to one another."
"Can you tell me a bit more about her?"
"Like what? You know I can't tell you what she looks or sounds like."
"I know, but you're my best friend, and this woman makes you extremely happy. I want to know more about her."
Jack nodded his head as he allowed his legs to swing back and forth on the dream cloud with his hands in his lap. He let out a sigh and a slight chuckle afterwards. "She's...she's stunning. She HATES wearing shoes just as much as I do, but she'll wear them sometimes anyway, and when she runs in the forest in the Domain her hair flows behind her like a river, and her dress moves with the wind as if it was always a part of nature. Sometimes, we'll just spend hours playing games, racing, and chasing each other as we run through the forest, and when she wins, she always jumps into the air with the most beautiful smile on her face and her eyes light up brighter than any star."
'Jack...you're making me blush...a lot.'
Jack then let out a slight snicker. "What is it?" Sandy asked as he felt warm and joyful just from hearing how much Jack obviously loves this woman, and then he's suddenly snickering.
"Nothing. She says I'm making her blush, but it's all true. She's remarkable, and intelligent, but believe me, she's as hot headed as they come, and as headstrong as...well...nope, nothing compares to how headstrong she is. Once she has her mind on something, she's either going to do it then and there, or plot to do it in a spectacular and unforgettable fashion. I've learned the hard way not to challenge her in a drinking contest...EVER!"
"You drink?" Sandy asked as he took in his dream sand from the houses they visited.
"Yeah, every now and then. Not to cure anything, it's just for fun, or I just want to drink. However, I learned my lesson. Mother Nature found it incredibly amusing. Silas had to help me to my room, and Senna had to help her in there too."
For a brief moment the dream sand cloud faltered, but quickly steadied. "Wait, the two of you share a room...yet you haven't had sex? How!?"
"One, lots of restraint. Two, we don't share a room, her bedroom door is inside my room. It was Mother Nature's idea to do that since Wind is a part of me. So, we have separate rooms, but she has to go into my room first before she gets to her room, and apparently at the end of our most recent drinking contest, I thought it was a good idea to take everything off but my underwear, which caused her to go redder than a tomato. It was beautiful and made her freckles stand out more."
"She has freckles?" Sandy hummed in amusement as he moved his dream sand cloud over to another town.
"Yeah. They're all over her face and on her shoulders. I only know the shoulder part, because of one of the dresses she wore to one of my birthdays. Apparently her and Mother Nature unwittingly started a tradition. When it's a General's birthday, there will be an all day and night celebration filled with dancing, music, food, and games. Wind is always my dance partner."
"Is she a good dancer?"
"Oh, it's like waltzing on air." At that, they both doubled over laughing.
'Hardy har har!' Elaina slowly commented, and if she could put her hands on her hips to add to the sarcasm, Jack had no doubt she would've.
"Oh! That was good! I haven't laughed like that in ages!" Sandy laughed out until he was chuckling fondly as he came to stop once again.
"Same! Oh, it's good to laugh, oh! That's another thing, when she laughs...oh, it's the most beautiful sound you'd ever heard, Sandy. It's like chimes, thunder, and the wind through the trees all at once in one beautiful melodic fit of laughter. She also helped Mother Nature prank ME!"
"THEY pranked YOU!? Oh, this I HAVE to hear!"
"Well, first off, it was while I was cooking dinner for EIGHT spirits! Mother Nature told me what to cook, and we were going to have a mixture of things, but all I needed to focus on was the fruits, cheeses, and vegetables. No biggie, right?"
"Right?" Sandy drawled out in a highly amused tone while his smirk widened.
"Okay, well, when I get to the kitchen, not only are there no fruits, cheeses, or vegetables...Wind used her OWN winter magic, and Mother Nature enchanted the bowls to make the food look invisible! I was freaking out, and I was slipping everywhere! I tried to melt it, but Mother Nature enhanced it. Once I fell on my ass, I hear the two of them laughing their asses off."
"Wind has winter magic too?"
"Well, yeah. She's one of my spirits. She can only use it in the Domain though. Outside the Domain...she's the wind."
"Ah, I see. Alright then. That's a pretty good prank though." Sandy snickered.
"Yeah, I have to admit...it was pretty good. So, what kind of pranks have you pulled, and on who?"
"Oh, I once went to Bunny's Warren and mind you...we pulled this prank together, but it was my idea. North was trying to say that my job wasn't that hard, and he ALWAYS says that Christmas is better than Easter, so it didn't take much to get Bunny in on the prank...but anyway, Bunny and I worked together to create not just invisible ink, but invisible paint, and we made one whole bucket of that, and I grabbed one whole bucket of some paint from the dye river he has. It has rainbow colors. So, we took the paint to North's workshop while he was delivering presents, and we bribed the elves with cookies and milk if they stayed still long enough. They did, and half of the elves were painted with invisible paint and the other half was dye colored."
"Oh my God! How did North react?"
"Oh, he was quite angry, but he couldn't stop laughing either. Bunny and I were banished from the North Pole for a whole decade, but it was well worth it!"
"It sounds like it! I can only imagine!" Jack was now on his back, clutching at his sides, laughing so hard he could barely breathe. "To think, ol' Cottontail can pull a prank!"
"Oh, can he ever. He got me one time with my own dream sand, but that's a story for another time. You should get back to Mother Nature soon."
"Right. Thanks for the chat, Sandy!"
"You're very welcome, Jack."