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04 March 2014 @ 11:52 pm
Jack/Sandy, Jack & Bunny Fic  
This was the other idea I had for a romantic gesture from Jack to Sandy, along with Without Voice To Speak. I'm in an odd mood, I think?

Title: Letters of Roses
Rating: PG
Fandom: Rise of the Guardians
Characters/Pairings: Jack Frost, E. Aster Bunnymund, mention of Sandy and Cupcake. Jack & Bunny, Jack & Cupcake, Jack/Sandy
Summary: On Cupcake's advice, Jack screws up his courage and goes to ask for Bunny's help. It was not what Aster was expecting
Wordcount: 3703
Warnings/Notes: Um. Fluff & angst, flowers, flower language, and possibly an extremely dodgy Bunny voice/Australian slang, to warn you in advance -_-;
Disclaimer: Not mine

Letters of Roses

"Ya want what?"

Jack flinched, wide-eyed with surprise, and alright, that was maybe a bit over the top. Aster admitted that. But stone the crows, it wasn't the sort of thing he expected to have Jack bloody Frost ask him, was it?

"Ya pulling my leg?" he asked. Squinting suspiciously at Jack, yes, but at least he was at more or less the right volume this time. "What do you want with flowers? Bit out of your line, isn't it, mate?"

Considering, ya know, spirit of winter an' all? And Jack didn't mean t' be practically inimical to Spring, Aster did know that now, it wasn't like Jack did on purpose (well, most of the time), but generally he and flowers did not get on. To understate the issue a bit. What the bloody hell did the larrikin want blooms for at this stage?

Jack flushed, a delicate feathering of frost across his cheeks, and dropped his gaze to his feet, his hands wrapping around his staff like a lifeline. He hunched into himself in a defensive huddle, glaring stubbornly at the ground, and Aster blinked at him. What the ...?

"... It's for a message," Jack mumbled at last, an angry little twitch of his shoulders betraying a touch of defiance. Oddly, that almost relieved Aster. Good t' know he wasn't a pod person or anythin', at least. Not that it made this any clearer.

"You'll have to speak up a bit, mate. I've got big ears an' all, but you still gotta say something first."

He leaned down, trying to peer under Jack's hunch, and got a right glare for his troubles. Jack leaned back, stiff and the kind of angry ya got when you figured someone was gonna be comin' at ya no matter what ya did. It'd taken Aster a long time t' recognise that in Jack, the bizarre mix of cockiness and flinching wariness tha' the younger spirit walked around with, but once ya fight a boogeyman with a guy you tend to learn a thing or two.

Later than ya shoulda done, maybe, but sometimes it really was better late than never.

"I said, it's for a message," Jack said, glaring up at Aster with a weirdly fragile sort of defiance, and Aster just stared at him for a sec, scratching confusedly at his cheek.

"Alright," he tried, goin' easy a bit just to get the edge off the stiff wariness the kid had going. "Okay, but what sort o' message needs ..."

He trailed off, a frankly alarmin' idea trickling into the back of his mind, and he squinted sharply at the boy. This was ... this was Jack. He wouldn't, would he? He'd hardly have the time for that sort of thing, gallivantin' around like he did. Or the interest. The guy had barely even talked to anyone in three hundred years, surely he'd not be tryin' that out already?

But there was really only one kind of message people regularly sent with flowers anymore. It was the only real conclusion to come to. Weren't a lot of other options.

Just ... Jack? Really?

"When you say 'flowers'," he asked, squinting carefully at the angry flush still on Jack's cheeks, "ya wouldn't mean roses, would you? For, ah. For a romantic-type endeavour, or anything?"

Jack went white. Well, whiter than normal at any rate. Aster twitched, almost snapping a paw out in alarm, before he realised that it wasn't the colour rushing away from Jack's face but rushing towards it. The bizarre sort of furious blush you got when ya'd been resurrected out of a frozen lake with ice and meltwater in yer veins. Jack wasn't faintin' on him. Jack was just, from the looks of things, desperately wishing he could right about now.

But then his chin came up. Jack's. Then his shoulders went back and his head came up, a stubborn, mulish determination in his eyes, and alright, alright, there was a bit of Aster that'd always admired that about the kid. Nothin' else, originally, not the pranks or the jokes or the wicked mischief he'd once figured was all there was to Jack. None of that. But he had, ever and always, admired the gumption of the lad. He'd always admired that.

"Not roses, no," Jack said, hard-eyed for a sec before shuffling uneasily. "Well. There's one rose in it, yes, but not that kind of rose. I think." He glared desperately, bouncing a little on his toes. "Look, I just have a list, alright? We looked it up, and I've got a list, and I just ... I need your help? I'm Jack Frost over here. I don't do flowers, you know?"

"I know," Aster agreed, quite sincerely. Had been his point, after all. But curiosity reared its head, a tickle of recognition, and he crouched forward abruptly in fascination. Jack flinched a little, eyeing him worriedly, but Aster was too busy feeling a curious smile creep across his face, and a rush of maybe nostalgia in his gut. It wouldn't be ... "What kind of list? You don't mean what I think you mean, do ya?"

Jack blinked at him, the defiance fading back under wary alarm for the moment, but he shrugged gamely enough. Rubbed one foot nervously against the other leg, but he let the aggression drop a bit to try and explain.

"I don't know what you mean," he said honestly, watching Aster warily. "I had a ... I wanted to say something to someone, okay? And I asked Cupcake, because she's surprisingly good at this sort of thing, she reads about it a lot, and she said ... Um. She said that you could say this kind of thing in flowers? That there used to be a whole language and everything, and it was all very romant--"

He cut off, flushing a little again, but Aster only grinned at him a little bit. Not enough to wound. He shouldn't make fun. He knew that. He could see how serious Jack was about this, and some things ... well, some things were too fragile to make fun of that way. This kind of thing, especially. Of all things Aster knew, he knew that.

Spirit of Spring, after all. Spirit of all the newborn, fragile things. This one he recognised, alright.

"I told her I wasn't good with flowers," Jack went on, tired and exasperated all of a sudden. Or at least showing it all of a sudden. His shoulders slumped, a tired sort of hopelessness that caught Aster harder than it should've done. "I told her I tended to, you know, kill stuff like that. But she said that ... She said that makes it stronger. That if you're going to say this kind of thing, you should make a real effort with it. So they know ... they know how much they matter, to make you try like that."

... Canny girl, Aster thought distantly. Canny girl, and if he was remembering her right, if he was thinkin' of the right kid, very brave girl too. Holdin' onto that kind of hope, believin' so hard in that kind of dream, when he'd bet googies to bombshells she'd be laughed at because of it. There was courage in that. Same kind of stubborn, do-what-you-like, I-ain't-goin'-down gumption that Jack had about things.

Maybe made sense why he'd go to her, then. Jack had an eye for that sort. Been watchin' out for 'em for a long time, Aster reckoned. All unnoticed, all unseen.

Some kind of gumption. Yes.

"Ya know why flowers are a sign of love?" he asked at last, bein' weirdly gentle to judge by the startled look Jack gave him. Aster only looked back, waiting, until Jack cautiously shook his head. "Not just 'cause they're pretty, mate. Not 'cause they're all delicate an' girly or that rot." He growled a little under his breath. "It's cause they're new. They're a sign of life, of seeds waitin' to happen, of somethin' new started over again. They're a sign of hope, is what they are, and there ain't nothin' more important to new love than hope. When ya give 'em t' someone, yer sayin' yer hopin' for somethin' new to begin, somethin' that's gonna take seed an' grow. Yer sayin' ... Yer sayin' ya want life with someone. Ya follow me?"

An' there was somethin' in Jack's eyes, right enough. A fragile, terrified thing, a quivering courage about him that moment. Hope. A desperate furl of it in his chest, and it was love, Aster could see it. It was love and it was hope, a fragile spring seedling in a winter snowfield, and Aster felt it like a surge, a protective wave rising within him. This was what he did, this was what he was for. This was what being the Guardian of Hope was about.

He'd never thought it'd be pointed at Jack. Never thought that Jack Frost, of all people, the winter prankster himself, would ever tug on the threads of Spring's center and call it forward. But then, he'd never reckoned properly when it came to Jack at all, had he?

Whoever they were, this someone Jack wanted to write a message for, Aster had a sudden idea that he was gonna lamp them one if that little tendril of hope were to die because of them. He didn't even know the bugger yet, and probably had no place tellin' them what to do even if he did, but he reckoned already that there was a boomerang with their name on it if this went pear-shaped because of 'em.

"Give us a look," he said, and he was being deliberately gentle now, he knew that, but Jack was looking at him squint-eyed like he hadn't the first clue who Aster was anymore. Jack was lookin' like a jackrabbit about ready to bolt, so Aster was bein' nice and easy about this, alright? "This list. Just ... You give me a look, and I'll do me best for ya, I promise."

And Jack didn't exactly look believing at that, he didn't exactly look impressed, so Aster held out one paw towards him with the other over his own heart, and smiled lopsidedly at him.

"Scout's honour, mate. I give my word."

Jack stared at him, balanced up on his toes, a quiver through him like he was gonna make a break for it after all. For a long, long second, Jack just stared at him, while what looked like about six billion different worries tumbled around behind his eyes. And then, biting angrily at his lip, twitching worriedly the whole time ... Jack reached under his hoodie, and held out a battered, half-frosted piece of paper.

Aster took it gently, with the kind of care he normally reserved for googies and seedlings and precious things. Because, by this point, he reckoned the judgement wasn't far off. While Jack kept a twitchy, suspicious eye on him, Aster carefully pulled out the frozen folds and crouched to lay it flat on his knee.

It was written like a letter. That was the first thing that struck him. Jack or Cupcake or both, out of habit or innocence or naivety, had written out the list in the shape of the message it was intended to contain, the names of the flowers standing like sentences in pink ink on the page.

Lavender Heather. Chrysanthemum.
Acacia Blossom. Ivy. Moss Rosebud.

He traced the words with a careful paw, smiling faintly at the brash, inexperience hand that wrote them. Cupcake, he thought. Probably the girl. Seemed like her style. But the meaning ...

He puzzled over it a bit. Well, moss rosebud was easy enough. The 'kind of rose' Jack had mentioned, it meant confession of love. Fairly standard for this sort of thing. Acacia blossom and ivy, they were the sort of love, he thought. Chaste or concealed love, for the first, and then fidelity, friendship and affection, wedded love, for the latter. That was ...

He felt a little quiver at that, an odd sort of emotion, softer than he was used to. It was ... an oddly innocent way to put it, and an oddly forever sort of way, too. The kind of love that just was, and didn't ever go away. The kind of love that ... waited.

He glanced up at that. Met Jack's eyes, all wary and scared and deeply, desperately defiant. Jack knew he could read it, he realised. Jack knew what Aster was seeing in this piece of paper, this letter. And he wasn't backing down from it, wasn't ever doing that, but he was scared to death because of it.

Aster blinked, suddenly. Ducked his head, an odd pricking in his eyes and a sharp roll of almost-shame in his gut. Gumption, he'd said. Desperate, damn-'em-all courage, because Jack had brought this to him. After all they'd done to each other, with all the wariness and uneasiness that still lay between them, Jack had gotten up the guts to ask for Aster's help, with this. With something this heavy. Not a easy romance, not passion and flirtation, but ... but something that offered acacia, and asked for ivy. Something like that. And yes, there hadn't been a lot of choice, not with this sort of thing, but it still said something that Jack had mustered the courage and brought it anyway, expecting to be mocked.

Said something, alright. About how much he meant this. About how important they were, this person, about how really, genuinely much Jack had to love them. How much ... how much he had to hope they'd love him back. How desperately fragile this little seed of hope might turn out to be.

Aster smoothed at the paper a bit, smoothed it down with a paw that shook a little bit, and focused back on the start of the list. Determined now. Almost angry. Because it was a letter, it was shaped like a letter. And suddenly he had to know to who.

So. An address, an explanation, an offer, a request, and a signature. Rosebud, acacia and ivy, they were the offer. Jonquil, that was a request, desire for affection returned. Lavender heather and chrysanthemum, they were the explanation, maybe? Solitude and admiration, followed by a worthy friend, by cheerfulness and rest. Loneliness, followed by companionship. Aster blinked a bit at the line. That was ... He supposed that explained a lot, in its way, didn't it?

And not ... not just about who this person was, either.

Snowdrop, the snowdrop was Jack. The signature at the end. He'd probably picked it just for a winter flower, for the snow in the name, but it was oddly fitting despite that. Purity and hope, and just a touch of death. Yes. That was ... very Jack.

But the start of the letter, the Poppy, that was for the addressee. You didn't put poppy in a love bouquet unless it had a different, more personal meaning, because 'eternal sleep/oblivion' was generally a bloody ominous start to a relationship otherwise. Though could also mean 'imagination', but ...

He paused. An itch running all the way from the back of his skull right down his spine. No. No, it couldn't mean. Obviously not. Just a ... a coincidence. Sleep and imagination. Poppy, opium, morphine, morpheus. Dreams. But it wasn't. Jack wouldn't ... He wouldn't.

Would he?

He looked up, all the shock and realisation in his face, and Jack looked back. Sick and faint-looking, afraid, but he looked right on back. And didn't flinch.

"... Bloody hell, mate," Aster managed, a quiet rasp of shock, and Jack looked away. Wrapping his hands pale and tight around his staff, curling inwards a bit again. An interloper caught where he didn't belong. A stupid boy caught hoping for things he'd never dare have. Because Aster was a Guardian, one of the oldest guardians, and Jack ... Jack was in love with the bloomin' Sandman, that's who Jack was in love with. Jack had come for a letter in flowers, a letter for a worthy friend and a companionship that had broken his solitude, because Jack was going courting. For Sandy. For one of Aster's oldest friends.

Bloody hell. This was ... this was ... he didn't even know. Bloody hell. This wasn't fair, this wasn't the sort of thing you snuck up on a bloke. What the good googies was he supposed to do about this, then?

But he looked at Jack. He looked at him, at the fear and the courage and the sick, pained hope in the kid's eyes. Aster looked at that.

And then he looked down. At the letter hanging limp over his knee, water from the melting frost bleeding the pink ink a little, blurring the defiant words scrawled in a child's daring hand for her friend. For someone who'd listened to her dreams, and wanted her to help him write his down.

Solitude and admiration. Worthy friend, cheerfulness and rest.
Chaste/concealed love. Wedded love, fidelity and friendship and affection. Confession of love.
Desire for affection returned.

And Sandy would, Aster thought suddenly. Sandy already did. Now that he thought about it, now that he was looking for it, he reckoned he hadn't seen Sandy so happy or so at peace in ... in probably centuries, really. He'd thought it was Pitch, thought it was the strength that came from surviving something like that, but now that he was thinking ...

Now he was thinking Sandy looked at Jack, sometimes. In the middle of laughing silently along with him, in the middle of mischief and games and play fights that froze half the North Pole into a white-and-gold glittering blizzard. In the middle of flashing symbols that Aster realised he didn't recognise half of, but Jack seemed to. In the middle of little secret conversations conducted entirely in silence, that the rest of them had never noticed those two knew so well. In the middle of all that, Aster realised that he'd seen Sandy look at Jack, soft and rueful and silent, and hope. Absently, distantly, for something Aster hadn't ever realised he'd been looking for. As frail as Jack's, and infinitely more tired. Sandy ... Sandy, all this time, had been hoping too.

He'd missed it. They'd all bloody missed it. Guardian of bloody Hope, and Aster had missed the entire damn thing. Until a husky little sheila with dreams of romance had written down a quiet declaration of love in pink ink and a defiant hand, and Jack Frost had gathered all the courage he had and come to Aster for help with some flowers.

Hell in a bloomin' handcart. But alright. Alright, he was awake and all now. Jack had asked for his help, and he was damn well up and at 'em now.

He could do this. Need a bit of somethin' special, somethin' to make the flowers survive contact with Jack Frost, somethin' to make 'em last ... Well. Last so long as Sandy would want 'em. And Sandy was gonna want them for a long time yet, Aster was betting that now. Sandy was going to want them for an eternity.

He'd have t' get the future glass, he thought. Spring was generally more about rebirth than preservation, but there was a trick or two he could use. Hope springs eternal, after all. There were a few tricks up his sleeve for when something a little more permanent was needed.

And in the interim ...

"Give me a few days, mate," he said, very softly. Jack flinched, staggered a little in surprise, and Aster realised ruefully that he'd been wound tighter than one of North's springs, wonderin' what Aster was gonna do with 'im. Wondering how Aster was gonna react to basically a declaration of intent to start steppin' out with one of Aster's oldest friends. Aster grimaced, a lopsided sort of smile, an apology, as he stood carefully from his crouch and offered his paw out to the poor bastard. Jack, after a second of hesitation, reached out to accept it carefully.

"A few days?" the younger spirit asked, holding carefully still as Aster gently curled his paw around his hand. Aster smiled down at him, wry and gentle, and wondered briefly at how far they'd come, this little larrikin and him.

"To get this fixed up," he explained, and made it as honest and earnest as possible. That little curl of hope was too fragile for anything else, after all. "If yer goin' courting the likes of one of us, mate, yer gonna need somethin' special, ain't ya? Plus I gotta make it frost-proof, don't I? Flowers need a bit of TLC before they can manage that." He paused, squeezed that ice-cold hand gently. "But I'll get it for ya. My word as a Guardian. It'll take a few days, but ... I promise you'll have something right and proper to give 'im when I'm done. Alright?"

Jack worried for a moment, biting his lip while his hand scrunched reflexively in Aster's. "Shouldn't I ... Should I let you do all the work?" he asked, hesitantly. "It's from me. Shouldn't I be doing some of it ...?"

Aster had to smile at that, had to chuckle softly to himself. Tugging Jack close, ignoring the squint of affront on the little gumby's face, reaching out to rest his other paw on Jack's shoulder. "Mate," he said wryly. "Ya came to me. For flowers. I reckon Sandy's gonna know how much that cost ya, don't you think?" And from the little scrunch of Jack's face, he reckoned the lad did at that.

They were in for a whale of a time, he thought. They were going to witness the courtship of the Sandman, fer crying out loud. Gonna turn things right on their head, this was. But, he thought, feeling the little curl of hope grow stronger in a frozen chest, it was going to be so very much worth it in the end.

And not least, of course, because it was gonna prove that Spring really did conquer all. Not least because it was gonna prove once and for all that Easter, the dawn of hope, really was the most important holiday of all.

Righto, then. Let's get this show on the road!

A/N: All flower meanings except snowdrop I got from this site: Language of Flowers. I had to just google snowdrop, because it doesn't seem to be commonly listed, for some reason.
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Current Mood: worriedworried
dickgloucester: severus_smilingdickgloucester on March 5th, 2014 10:55 am (UTC)
Awwwwww. That's lovely.
icarus_chained: Mischieficarus_chained on March 5th, 2014 12:33 pm (UTC)
*smiles* Thank you!