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Spread Your Wings

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“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” Bunny commented, giving himself a stretch. Easter was over, now it was time to relax and unwind a bit. 

“What?” Jack said, distracted from his very busy task of attempting to balance a flower on his nose. It wasn’t working, but Bunny admired his tenacity at not giving up. And the effort was entertaining.

“Wings.” Bunny said succinctly. Spirits, with two known exceptions, had wings. It was the one of the most obvious and identifiable ways to recognize them, the wings themselves thought to be a reflection of the spirit themselves.

North’s bird like wings were pure white, growing so thick and fat with feathers around his holiday, that he could very nearly double in size. The feathers tended to fade and thin out a little after Christmas, but they were always there, not so obviously from the falcon style. 

Toothiana had not two, but six wings, showing off her level of power, each shaped like a dragonfly’s iridescent wing, but the edges sharper and harder than a steel sword. Her girls had wings much like hers, but only two, an echo of her power.

Even Pitch Black had wings, warped scaled looking things that were closer to scythes than wings, apparently made of twisted shadows.

It was sometimes debated that Sandy didn’t have wings, but most people were idiots, and didn’t notice his moth shaped wings wrapped around him, forming what appeared to be his clothing. It was when the wings came out that it was time to run far away from the Sandman as possible.

Bunny was one of the two exceptions, something that was the source of much debate and contention among the spirit world, which he didn’t give a rotten egg’s thought to. He was an earth based elemental, he didn’t have any business being up in the air, no matter what North preferred.

The other exception was Jack Frost. Who flew through the air like a leaf caught in the wind, laughing merrily the whole time, without nary a feather or a glimpse of wing in sight.

It was… bewildering. When he’d first met Jack decades ago, it was just one more annoyance on the part of the frost spirit. But now that Jack was a Guardian, and Bunny had come to learn more about Jack, it had become a mystery.

One of many, Jack was a walking mass of contradictions, as much as Bunny was. All of which Bunny was taking great delight in learning.

Jack blinked a few times, leaning forward slightly, weight propped up by his staff. “You have them?!” He exclaimed, tone incredulous.

“Since coming to Earth, yeah.” Bunny shrugged. It was something about the planet, he'd never had them in space, thank goodness for that. “Bloody nuisance they are.” He added with a grumble. 

“Nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that way about them.” Jack confessed, a relaxed grin spreading across his face.

Bunny tried not to grin at the confirmation that Jack had them. There had been a slight possibly that Jack perhaps might not have, or the dour thought that something had happened that they’d somehow been removed.

Which left the question of what kind of wings would suit Jack Frost best. Bunny’s mental image of what they might be changed from day to day, depending on his mood, and how much teasing Jack had done that day. If they were feathered, bat winged, shaped like a moth.  

If they were feathered like North’s, Bunny couldn’t think of any reason why Jack would hide them away. Bat winged did tend to carry some negative connotations, and he could see Jack hiding those away, but they didn’t seem quite right for the fun loving spirit either.

Jack’s grin faltered as Jack paused and glanced around. “Is that why you invited me down to the Warren today?”

“Partly.” Bunny admitted. It wasn’t exactly a common occurrence to have Jack visit the Warren, but it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence either. Their busy and off times tended to coincide with each other, and they spent a fair bit of time together as of late.  Not nearly as much as Bunny would have liked, but he’d take what he could get and be happy. “Gotta give them a stretch at least once a year, and it’s too crowded back at the Pole.”

“The Pole’s large enough for North’s wings, and they’re the largest I’ve seen!” Jack exclaimed, incredulous, but not fleeing either.

“They’re alright.” Bunny demurred, just a hint of a cocky grin on his face. Jack gave him a sceptical look, but there was an intrigued edge to it.

“Alright.” Jack slowly nodded and Bunny tried not to cheer. “You first though.”

“No running.” Bunny gave Jack a suspicious look, not quite able to believe that Jack would acquiesce so easily. For someone so fearless, Jack could be one of the most skittish people Bunny knew.

“Promise.” Jack earnestly agreed.

“… That’s more for me own wings, than showing yours.” Bunny muttered, twisting to scratch at an ear with his hind paw. “They’re… not exactly normal.”

Jack paused, thinking it over for a moment. “No running.” He finally agreed. “As long as you don’t mock me for mine.”

Bunny froze in mid-scratch. “Why would I-?” He turned to look at Jack in confusion.

Jack had an excellent poker face when he wanted to. “Why would I run from yours?” He challenged back, a stubborn set to his jaw.

“Fair point.” Bunny agreed. They both had their own mysteries. “Ya might wanna back up a tad for this.” Bunny commented.

“Alright.” The sceptical look was back, but Jack did as requested. Bunny waited until he felt  Jack was far enough away not to get hit by an errant limb before starting to change his shape.

It was one of the things he was most grateful for in being a shapeshifter, that he could hide them away. He wasn’t kidding when he commented about them being a bloody nuisance.

Jack gave a small gasp as the ‘fur’ on Bunny’s back rippled, then started to reach upwards, like giant petals of a flower reaching up towards the sun. Petals that quickly grew to Bunny’s length, then doubled, then doubled again. They flapped lazily, the joints feeling strange on his spine, each one of the four wings moving independently.

The weight of the wings made him pitch forward into the grass, claws digging into the rich soil for traction, to keep from sprawling out completely as the wings began to thicken and change shape, to what North had described once as a ‘pterodactyl’s wing’, but Bunny thought resembled more of an oleander leaf with an odd kink for respective elbow and wrist. They were lightly furred, as variegated as the rest of himself was.

Once the large grey wings had formed, he kind of flapped them lazily, twitching them as he attempted to regain balance.

“Whoa.” Jack breathed, staring at him in awe, eyes wide and very blue.

“Reckon ya see why I don’t let them out much.” Bunny grumbled. He was more than just the embodiment of his holiday. He was very, very old, one of the oldest on the planet, and tied not only to Spring, but life itself.

It was a heavy responsibility on his back.

To his knowledge, he was the only one with wings like this, their shape and number alien to the planet. They didn’t have Dragons on this planet, much less a proud, protective Stormcutter.

“You look like one of those moths.” Jack put his hands on top of his head, mimicking Bunny’s ears. “The ones with the furry antenna.”

“Thanks.” Bunny deadpanned, and Jack shrugged, only slightly repentant.

“It’s the right proportions.” Jack commented, stepping forward, and giving Bunny a hand up. Bunny took it gratefully, the wings flailing around slightly as he attempted to get his balance. It took a moment, Jack holding him steady until he could stand on his own two feet again, using the ends of the wings as a bit of a prop.

“I can use them as limbs ta move about if I wanted to.” Bunny pointed out. “Have before. North don’t like it cause it looks a bit too much like a giant spider.”

Jack stared up at the wings thoughtfully for a minute before nodded. “Yeah, okay.” He agreed, reaching up towards Bunny’s wings, then hesitated, pulling his hand back. Touching another’s wings without permission was considered taboo, not that Bunny really cared about that. But then his wings didn’t have the same kind of sensitivity as most other spirits.

“I could use some assisting with a bit of groomin’ too, if you don’t mind.” Bunny added, just a touch of hopeful cajoling in his voice. He could do it on his own, but it was a literal pain to do.

Jack laughed, his expression brightening. “Ah, I see how it is.” He teased. “You just wanted my help.”

“That was part of it.” Bunny tried to shrug and failed, the joints on his back limiting his movement for the moment. “You’ve seen mine, your turn.”

Jack hesitated, then made a long suffering sound. “Yeah.” He reluctantly agreed, stepping back again to lean his staff against a rock. “They’re not as grand as yours, so don’t laugh, okay?”

“No promises.” Bunny swore. Jack chuckled quietly, reaching for the back of his hoodie, and pulling it over his head, hiding his face in blue fabric for a moment, before he pulled it off, leaving his pale chest bare.

Bunny twitched slightly with the urge to go grab his paints and attempt to match Jack’s colouring. He could see the faint blue of Jack’s arteries against the nearly translucent nature of his icy skin, the pale pink of his egg shaped nipples, the shadow of the navel, how his hands and face were slightly more pink than the rest of him from wind burn.

It was subtle, not at all dramatic, but Bunny liked it.

“Alright.” Jack said, giving himself a small shake. “It’s been so long I’m not even sure I remember how to do this properly.” He muttered.

“It’s fine, take your time.” Bunny waved it away, swaying slightly as he kept his balance. It wasn’t like he could go anywhere until his limbs remembered how they were supposed to work.

Jack got a determined look on his face, then nodded, turning his back to Bunny, showing off the lovely sweep of his shoulder blades, the graceful curve of his strong back. He took a deep breath, then closed his eyes, slowly letting the breath out.

At first, Bunny didn’t see anything. Just Jack’s pale skin was about the same shade as a newly sprouted egg. He wondered if Jack would let Bunny paint on him sometime, idly debating what colours would work best to complement and contrast. 

He almost missed the first sparkle of frost just under one of Jack’s shoulder blades, then stopped his musing to focus on what he was seeing. It almost seemed more of a trick of the eye than anything substantial.

And then another flicker, and another, slowly forming what appeared to be an outline of something delicate folded up against Jack’s back. The frost seemed to unfurl, and Bunny realised that much like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, Jack had somehow managed to fold and scrunch up his wings, so they were all but gone.

Jack made a soft groan, and suddenly his wings rippled and snapped open, long enough to brush Jack’s wrists.

Butterfly wings. Jack had butterfly wings, made of nearly translucent frost. They were barely there, more of a suggestion than a solid object, almost ghost like in their beauty.

Jack paused, panting slightly for breath. “They’re a bit ridiculous, aren’t they?” He commented, glancing over his shoulder to give Bunny a crooked smile. “Freaking fairy wings, right?”

“They’re lovely.” Bunny said honestly. He wondered if he touched them they’d melt, or if they were stronger than they looked, much like Jack himself.

Jack scoffed in return, clearly not believing him. “They’re embarrassing.” He countered.

Bunny gave him a confused look back, then pointed to the giant alien x-shaped monstrosity on his back.

Jack sighed, sounding aggravated, as he turning to face Bunny, partially hiding his wings from view. “The first spirits I met were Ice Elementals.” He muttered, glaring down at the dirt, away from Bunny. “They… Tried to tear them off.”

If touching someone’s wings was Taboo, removing someone’s wings was Forbidden. Bunny had known only one spirit that was rumoured having to have successfully done so to another.

Neither spirit survived. The one whose wings having been removed dying of shock, and the one who had performed the action not surviving the mob that had formed and ripped them to shreds afterwards.

“They’re not that bad.” Bunny said lightly, making a mental note to get names later.

“Hah.” Jack mocked, then gasped. The delicate wings trembled, then rapidly expanded, each one suddenly easily the length of Jack’s staff if not larger. Jack leaned forward, resting his hands on his knees as he panted for breath.

“They… didn’t do that before.” Jack gasped for air.

“Weren’t as large?” Bunny asked, using his wings to move him closer for a better look, to look at Jack’s face in concern.

“No.” Jack confessed, his eyes wide and slightly scared.

“Yer a Guardian now.” Bunny pointed out. And had a heck of a lot more of a power base than when Jack was a young spirit.

“True.” Jack admitted, then gasped. “Oh, crap.” He gasped. The butterfly wings trembled, then suddenly erupted in a riot of colour, no longer see through, but completely solid.

“Oh.” Bunny breathed.

The front, where Bunny was currently looking, was a swirl of pearlescent white, fracturing the light like ice.

Jack lifted a wing to look at it, his expression clearing into a pleased, almost proud look. “Nice.” He breathed, turning and extending his wings, showing them off. “How’s the back?”

Bunny’s breath caught in his throat. “Oh, Jack.

“What?” Jack twisted to try to see what Bunny was looking at, hitting himself in the face with a wing.

“They’re blue.” Bunny resisted the urge to touch. They weren’t just blue, but nearly every shade of sky blue he could think of, from the rich deep colour of midnight blue contrasting against Jack’s frosty skin, to the cerulean of Jack’s eyes, and fading to the near white of the sky at high noon on the edges.

There were tiny flickering spots of white like snowflakes on the tips of the wings, and bold deep deep black lines that framed the colours, never trapping but enhancing the colours.

The colour glimmered and shifted, never static, catching the light and nearly reflecting it back.

Jack had the sky on his back.

Bunny felt like he could stare at those wings and never get tired of looking at them. 

“Bunny?” Jack’s soft voice wavered, and Bunny realised that Jack had probably been repeating his name. “You’re kinda worrying me. What are you thinking?”

He was thinking they were glorious, and beautiful. He was thinking of the look of pain on Jack's face as he'd revealed his hidden wings, and how much worse it was going to be, watching them shrunken, folded and hidden away. Knowing that they were there, and hidden away. That Jack felt like he needed to protect this part of himself from everyone, including them, instead of showing off how beautiful he was.

“Nope.” Bunny said firmly. “Nope, you’re not putting those away again.”

“Like hell.” Jack countered, voice cracking slightly in anger.

“When you were a young spirit, they were tiny and sparkly.” Bunny drawled, resisting the urge to run his paw pads against the lovely curve of Jack’s wings. “Might been real embarrassing you said, like fairy wings.”

“Yeah-?” Jack hesitantly agreed.

“Well, they’re not any more and I will rip the hands off of anyone who tries to damage them, swear to my googies.”

Jack jerked for a moment, then let out a breathless laugh.  “What?”

“I’m claiming them, they’re mine.” Bunny said, only slightly joking.

“Bunny.” Jack gave him a bit of annoyed glare. “You cannot go around claiming other people’s wings as your own.”

“Can too.”

“Can not.”

“Can too.” Bunny stubbornly countered. “You didn’t want em, so I’m claiming them.”

Jack let out a soft huff. “They’re a part of me, it’s not like I can take them off and give them to you.”

“Then I guess I’m claiming you too.” Bunny stated calmly.

Jack stared at him, eyes wide and vulnerable. “Don’t say that unless you mean it.”

“I wouldn’t say it unless I meant it.” Bunny laughed, slightly hysterical as his brain caught up to his mouth, surprised at his own daring. He meant it though, every word. He motion over his shoulder. “Ya think I show my wings ta anyone? North’s the only one who’s ever seen them, even that was an accident.”

No one else was given as much access to Bunny's home, or spent this much time just chin wagging. He liked Jack, and wanted to keep him around as much as he could.

He'd just never thought he could say it to Jack. Except now he had, and Jack was standing there, staring at him, and Bunny could feel his heart sinking.

“…. Oh.” Jack finally blinked at him, blue eyes the same colours of his wings. Then his face split into a wide grin. “You think my wings are pretty.” He drawled playfully.

Bunny ducked his head. “Yeah.” He muttered, feeling slightly foolish now.

“You wanna keep them.” Jack sing-sang.

“… Yeah.”

“You wanna keep me.”

“Yup.”

“Okay.” Jack grinned at him, stepping closer.

Bunny stared. “I… really?”

“Yup.” Jack reached his hand up, as if to touch one of Bunny’s wings, then hesitated. "Means I get to keep you too, don't it?"

Bunny moved his wing so that it pressed up against Jack’s cool palm. He shivered slightly at the feeling, the joy that lingered just under the barrier of Jack’s skin and tickled his senses. "Reckon it does." He commented, a smile growing across his face.

He wouldn't mind that, the two of them keeping each other, taking care of each other, watching each other's backs. Weird wings and all.

Jack’s smile shifted to something milder, and infinitely more soft as he curled in close to lean against Bunny, his delicate looking wings fluttering to brush against Bunny's giant ones. “Seems like we've both been looking for someone to spread our wings with, yeah?”

Bunny purred and curved his giant wings around both of them. He hadn't realised how much he'd craved someone seeing his wings and accepted them until Jack had. He didn't want to almost put them away. "Yup."
-fin-