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Ameliorating

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When the celebration and joy of defeating Pitch winds down the Guardians find themselves around the fire of North’s workshop. Sandy is laid out in one of North’s chair’s dozing in and out of being awake. North and Tooth are both sitting on the couch watching as Jack tells a story animatedly, this is the 4th one by Bunny’s count, though he’s only half been paying attention, the bloody show pony has made it impossible to actually ignore him. Bunny shifts in his chair, Sandy’s dream sand is getting too close for comfort as he zones out they hadn’t had a moment to rest or think in three days.

The newest Guardian eventually sits down, exhaustion hitting him too it seems, kneeling to half sit, staff still tight in his hand. North finally stands with a loud yawn “Well, time to turn in, Tooth, Sandy, Bunny, the Yeti’s have prepared your rooms, Jack, we have a spare room for you for now.

Bunny knows he should be getting back to the Warren and clean up his googies and maybe preparing for next Sunday, try to get some believers to think he just got the wrong day, but he wants to rest first. He’s sure similar thoughts cross the other Guardians mind, Tooth needs to sort the children’s teeth back in place and Sandy needs to spread dreams but he sees them agree, showing how much the lack of belief is still hurting them. The newest Guardian though stands “I actually have to go, frost and snow won’t spread itself” he laughs a bit flying to a window and out into the cold before they can think to even say goodbye or otherwise.

He notices a slight smell Bunny can’t determine leaves with the winter spirit but he decides that’s a problem for future Guardians as he slowly starts towards his room. When he gets into the pastel colored room, a bit of spring in the icy North Pole, all the Guardians have places to stay at the other’s homes, rarely used but an open invitation to stay when needed or wanted, decorated to their own tastes and having whatever they may need if for some reason they can’t return to their own homes. Bunny removes his weapons before curling up on the bed and dozing off.

He’s awoken in the morning by lots of noise, he grabs his boomerang and runs out, worried Pitch is attacking again only to find the others buzzing around. Tooth is buzzing around nervously “Crikey what’s going on mates?”

“Tooth thinks Jack is hurt,” North looks as tired as Bunny feels, “Snow Globes aren’t taking us to him.”

“Baby Tooth told me when she returned from her rounds,” Tooth explains, “She said there was something about Pitch before we met up with him in Burgess and it’s just… I don’t think he’d tell us.”

North frowns, given how many of their enemies hide in the shadows trusting their helpers and instincts are often all they have, though Bunny personally wishes they relied more on proof, he’s a team player, “I can track the damn snowflake, I’m sure he’s fine but to stop ya starting a hurricane with all your worrying.”

Before any of the others can respond he’s running through the tunnels, following the snowy sent to the newest Guardian, only differentiated from regular snow by the added smell of pine and lemon, eventually it gets strong enough that he should be able to easily find him. He’s somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, winter starts early and ends late here so naturally the trouble marker is here, where Bunny is automatically freezing, “Oi, Frostbite!” he yells looking around in the snow not seeing the boy, “Tooth’s worried about ya, lets take you to the pole so she chills out.” Sniffing around he’s lead to a pile under one of the few trees that grow this high. Brushing at the small mound reveals the boy’s bright blue hoodie, quickly revealed by the rest of the spirit. He shakes him awake, “Frost, you okay?”

“Bunny?” he lazily opens his eyes, seeming to be unable to focus on the Pooka, “Wa’ you doin’ here? ‘M jus’ restin’” he slurs out.

“What happened?” Bunny asks hesitant to ask the boy to stand until he knows how hurt he is, could Pitch have attacked him while he was without back up?

“Pitch, jus’ need some rest,” he can’t really keep his eyes open and the little Bunny can see of the shirt under the hoodie is spotted red with blood, though the Pooka would just say he was too cold to keep this slow conversation going.

“Okay Frostbite well you can rest at the Pole as opposed to out here in the wind,” Bunny replies deciding to pick up Jack as his eyes close again despite some attempt at protest. The Guardian of Hope can’t help but frown at first the painful gasp then after a slight shift to try avoiding any apparent injuries his frown stays at how light the winter spirit is.

His tunnels are fast,but having to stay upright, he’s significantly slower than he’d prefer but eventually he gets back to the Pole. “Bunny,” North runs up to him, “What happened?” He motions the medical Yeti’s to take Jack, and others to find the other Guardians

“He said it was Pitch, seems like he at least has a concussion though.” Bunny frowns.

“Well, if it was Pitch, he will pay for this.” Bunny finds himself agreeing easily when they push the door open to North’s infirmary.

They Yetis work quickly, pulling off his sweatshirt to reveal a very bloody white shirt, the Yeti’s are cutting that off when Sandy and Tooth join them, just in time to see the myriad of cuts and bruises covering his chest and back, though they’ll be in in good company as he’s also covered in scars. Tooth lets out a small gasp as Bunny is sure they all have the same thought train as him, the multitude of injuries had to have come from being ignored and hated and alone for 300 years. They had ignored him that long, long enough he hadn’t asked for help or even indicated he was hurt, he may have become a Guardian but they have a long way to go before they had his trust, or that they honestly deserved it.

As the Yetis are almost done bandaging him up, only a rather deep gash across his shoulder is left, Jack bolts awake trying to get away from the Yeti’s grip “Let me go!” he yells

Tooth flies over to him before the others can move, “Jack, Sweet Tooth, you’re fine, they’re helping you,” She says putting a hand on his shoulder trying to calm him.

“You were hurt, Bunny brought you here,” North says, stepping towards him.

Jack seems to slide back a bit, barely holding back from continuing his struggle away, “I know I was out of it but I’m fine,” he seems to realize his lack of shirt, and by extension the obvious injuries, but doesn’t redact the statement, though he does pull away from Tooth, covering as many of them as possible.

“You will be fine, just let us help, please Jack,” the Guardian of Memories asks softly pushing him softly back onto the bed.

Jack looks between all of them then his staff in the corner, Bunny is certain he’s debating running, that he’s panicking, “We’re not holding you hostage ya gummby, but we do want to help you, you got hurt and we’re your teammates.”

Jack hesitates but slowly lays down, letting the Yetis continue their healing.

Several hours of talking and jokes follow as the Guardians try to encourage their newest trust to grow by knowing more about them.

Tooth and Sandy have to leave eventually, promising to visit later. North leaves to put out the literal fires from the elves. Leaving just Jack and Bunny.

Jack gives the pooka a small smile though his concussion made it clear it was in pain. “Ya know the best way to get better is to rest.” Bunny snarks

“I’m fine.”

“Mhmm,” Bunny nods, raising his hand to turn the bedside light on, hoping the less harsh light will knock the spirit out. He stops midway through the motion as Jack flinches, pulling his arm up between himself and Bunny’s hand, grimacing slightly as he turns his head away from Bunny. Ice runs through Bunny’s core as he realizes that Jack was bracing for a blow from the Pooka.

Bunny’s ears drop as he frowns,“Oi, Frostbite,” he starts waiting for the other spirit to look at him before he raised both hands making sure Jack can see them easily, “I’m just turning off the light,” he offers like he would a kit, moving a bit slower to switch the lamp on and the main lights off, Jack untenses a bit “No one here’s gonna hurt ya, Mate.” He says sitting down.

“I didn’t say you were,” Jack smirks easily any sign of fear quickly erased from the winter child’s face “I don’t know what you’re talking about kangaroo.”

Bunny decides right now isn’t the time to push as he leans back in the chair he’s sitting in, “Okay then,” he nods, “Well as you’re not sleeping anytime soon, what should we talk about? If I have to be stuck with you til Tooth gets here I refuse it be in silence.”

Jack quickly jumps in about how the last snowball fight was his best yet and slowly Bunny has to agree, as their time wears on they continue to talk about any number of things, from which season was better to the hobbies they’ve picked up over many years, Jack told Bunny about the most recent rumors from the wind on the other spirits the older Guardian hadn’t seen in years and the Pooka returned with stories from the Guardians past.

“I’m sorry,” Jack breaks in at some point near early morning.

Bunny squints “What’re you on about?” unsure where this change of topic is going.

“Everything, I just I took Sophie and then I heard this voice, and I just knew it was important but I didn’t know where and it was saying my name so I followed it, and it took me to pitch’s hole and I tried to get the baby teeth fairies out and I couldn’t and the voice just kept calling my name so I just tried to find it then I’d get them out. And Pitch was there and he knew just what to say and then before I could do anything he threw the teeth at me and I was in the tunnels and I ruined Easter. Then even after you were all mad I couldn’t beat him in Antarctica and I almost joined him and couldn’t save Baby Tooth from the cold and he broke my staff after I gave it to him for her and I just… I just mess everything up and I’m sorry.” He hasn’t looked at Bunny the whole explanation or as far as Bunny could tell breathed during it either. Jack wipes his eyes and looks at Bunny he can see the boy’s eyes are shiny,”I’m sorry,” he repeats breathing just a bit too heavy for the Pooka’s liking

“Mate…” Bunny pauses, the rush of words still swirling through his head along with the last few days all silenced by a single phrase we messed up bad “You… Why didn’t you join Pitch?”

“What?”

“Hell I would’ve.” Bunny laughs bitterly, “We treated you horribly, all but blackmailed you to help with the teeth, kidnapped ya into our problem that were pretty dangerous cause of the moon of all people, blamed plenty of group messes on you, sent you away, crikey I was about ready to attack you before we did. And you not only didn’t join him when he offered everything you wanted, your memories, belief, someone who was a lot nicer to you then we had been. You came back to us, protected belief in us, and fought him. Why?”

“I…” Jack trails off, looking down “I don’t know he said they’d fear me and… I just couldn’t. And even if I could I saw what that did to Old Man Winter. I want people to believe in me for the right reasons.”

Before Bunny could respond the door opens to reveal the ever busy Tooth Fairy with a small smile. Instead of replying to Jack, Bunny smiles at the newest Guardian, “I’ll be back later, mate, don’t let Tooth keep ya up too long.”

When he’s back to the Warren he looks at the tunnels full of his destroyed googies, then thinks of the few faint lights that are flickering on the globe, and then finally to their newest Guardian. He sighs moving towards the Oceana tunnel to begin the process of cleaning up the mess, this one will be the easiest of the many he and his fellow Guardians will have in the coming times he realizes.