Spring had finally made its turn upon the land; meaning for Easter was here as well, along with the Bringer of Spring, whom happens to be the master of hiding.
Well, unless a certain sprite was always easy to find him, not as to how the children try and fail to do.
"Good morning Cottontail!" Jack shouted, spooking the giant rabbit out from his hided spot.
A low growl could be heard from a shrub not far from where Jack had call to, having the large rabbit of six feet over height his fellow guardian member.
"You trying to worsen this for me, you rotten little show pony?" Bunny asked, moving closer to Jack, many of his colorful eggs following his steps, some going elsewhere to hide, in hopes of children finding them.
Jack gave a good deep with laugh, only for that Rabbit hadn't have the time to rid some the paint from last minute work, looking much as a two year old youngling's painting.
"Sorry to bother you, just helping some of the spring fairies, then I'll be out of fur." Saying; as Jack side-step him, soon standing by him, looking, out through the park of kids of many ages, looking for eggs.
Bunny joins him in seeing of his work done well, in matters of even better than years in the past. But something caught him, in the distance.
"What?" Jack asked, looking to where Bunny was looking; only seeing it was Trickery, rolling around in a flowerbed, not be taken in of those around, but the two Caretakers.
"What is going on with the nightmares be doing out this far into the new season?"
"That's just Trickery, my new found pet."
"That then is, as your pet is part of the demons then."
"Trickery's a harmless little fluff ball. Like you; but smaller. And has no annoying traits." Jack smugly said, crossing his arms, praising the little kitten. Soon to ask the following question, in slight worry and wonder. "But did you know what Trickery was?"
"Once having to deal with Pitch for so long, you never really forget the feeling of what danger is. No matter how small it could be."
Jack gave a sigh to hear this, but not saying anything, less chance of saying something regretful. Thinking quickly to change the subject and for the better.
"North says anything about the grand get together for all dryads? Whatever those are?"
"That be us, Frostbite, all the spirits are to come to the event. Mostly to know what others are doing and such, being that its North turn to host, this is going to be hard for to handle."
"Why?" Jack asked, thou, had a feeling he knew the answer.
"My time where I have to say Christmas is better than Easter, but the moment it's over. So is the deal."
"You two have the weirdest hobbies together."
"As long, as the jester of April's Fools leaves me along. I'll no problems." Bunny started out with, before shuddering from the memory, soon telling what it was. "Aim's a chance I want no firecrackers in my drinks again."
Jack placed a hand over his mouth to hide his wide grin but it didn't go amiss with Bunny, who glared back, in a warning matter.
"Moon forever forbids if it does happen."
"Watch it you."
"I'm not the one you have to worry about. As if I would, ever think of such thing, to do that, to my best friend." Jack ended with rolling his eyes in a teasing matter.
Bunny only glared on, reaching slowly for one of his weapons, with Jack taking the silent hint, took off. Quickly, leaving in a fast pace for the other side of the world, far from the weapon irrational carrying rabbit.
Once in the open sky, Jack had mostly; having his wind friend gliding him, having the hours tick by from day to night, sightlessly through the air. Using; his staff for stunts, now as a surfboard, hanging ten, on the edge of it, had almost ran into something or someone.
"Tooth? You're early for teeth, huh?" Jack asked, once seeing who it was and able to get back to hovering.
"Jack good to see you and your teeth, white as snow I hope?"
"Yes, no need to check, but why you out during so early in the night?"
"Last minute rounds, some of the fairies are doing a head count of each tooth collected. Would love to keep chatting, but got to get moving, I will see you the event. Bye Jack, take good care of your teeth. Bye!"
In a flash, the Tooth Fairy was gone just like that, zooming through the sky. Jack hoping she wouldn't run into anything else along the way. But incase for Jack, missing that how the wind was carrying him, not noticing he floated into a giant web, breaking it on impact, landing on his back when he stopped rolling.
"I was trying to warn you. Head that far in the clouds, young Frost?"
"Hi Hollow." Jack answered back, slowly sitting up, dusting himself off, and looking at the mess made by him. Spouting out; a quick word to the other. "Sorry."
"No harm. Are you okay?"
"Fine, a little out of it from the crash, but okay." Jack answered back, finally getting back to his feet, seeing Hollow fix the web once more.
When done, Hollow looked to Jack, cocking its head to the side.
"Jack, come here please."
"You have a cut right here." Hollow, pointing the area by using its own covered face, as Jack moved closer, as seeing the other looking for something within the cloak.
"Umm, what are you looking for?"
Not answering his question, pulled out a small bag, opening it, pouring some kind of powder into the other hand that was open to catch the purple dust.
"Hold still please."
Jack did as he told, feeling the slightly itchy dust land and sting a bit on the cut, soon having the open cut, becoming nothing more; than a dull pinch.
"Do I even want to know what's in that powder?"
"Well with how you thought what my treats were made of . . ."
"I'll take that as a, ask at your own risk. Thanks anyway though."
"You're welcome, young Frost, now please excuse me, I have some other things to do."
"Mind if I come along?"
"If I say no, you'll come along anyway. Why bother with saying such a word."
"You must like having me around."
"Just; as North telling, himself that he will give up sweets for life, hardly the truth, young Frost."
"I'll take what I can. So, what do you need help on?"
"Some tombs fell over during the winter, care to help, putting them back in place?"
"Sure, they can't be that heavy." Jack said back, moving to the first he saw, luckily it was a small one, able to pick up on his own, with some others as well that follow.
Until; it was time to move even farther into the graveyard, seeing much larger ones.
"How do we do this?"
"You're on a team. I would think teamwork would make this easy?"
"Ha-ha, you're getting better at telling jokes."
"Still weak as you telling me I am funny, you must really lack a sense of humor?"
Jack just smiled, rolling his eyes, letting Hollow win this round for once, and getting back to work. But, it didn't take long for him to open his mouth once more; it had only been an hour or so.
"Have you heard North is holding an event?"
Hollow kept working, not listening, even moving a bit away.
"Are you going?"
"I don't really have a choice in the matter, least want to make any repeats."
"What do you mean?"
"Some of my fellow screamers went alone, having no idea what to do or say, they lack backbone for being smaller sprites of our kind, and the last thing anyone wants is to be hated so quickly when first greeted."
"It's not like others would stoop that low."
"Oh, in the highest moon, no, but more for the facts there are many who bring goodness on many levels leaves others unsure what to say, when they are on that fine line, as they would say."
"Ah, okay, I kind of get now. Well, I can hang with them; I bet they'll like me."
"Don't fret if they shy away."
It wasn't long later; they were done, having the night fully taken the sky, meaning the event was in just hours away.
"I'll see you there." Jack said, before taking to the sky, waving when seeing Hollow did.
Later that night, North's workshop was hastening with all walks of life. Jack near the second floor, nearing the largest window there was in the ballroom had, enjoying the coolness to calm down his heated body from the lack of air the lower floor seem to have.
At least he was seeing all kinds of spirits he had met over his three-hundred year life and some new ones. Smaller levels of keepers, he had to guess, such like him in a way, enjoying others around them, many had taken the time to fill the room with music to liven the room and guest even more.
Catching eye of some fellow pranksters, but choose not to meet them, for the choice of wardrobe would just have them laughing at him for looking like an overgrown blue jay, thanks to clothes, the oh-so nice elves, giving less of choice, to wear.
Not a chance Jack was going to kill this party for, him, by doing that, maybe when others are too busy to notice.
"Jack Frost what are you doing up here, come join the rest of us, yes?"
"I don't think so, maybe later. Okay?"
"Too crowded for you?"
"Yeah, that's it."
North nodded, leaning next to Jack on the large armrest, glance from spirit to spirit. There were moments when he gives a good deep belly laugh of how some spirits acted around each other. Mainly right at this moment for North's amusement was Bunny having a spiteful conversation with the Ground Hog, whom sardonically return every chat back.
Jack caught on and thought too, it was pretty fun to watch. Luckily there were some Yetis to break it up, in case it got out of hand. If Bunny is in it, then it will, give it one more snarky remark from the Ground Hog, there's the fist.
"Ah, Хэллоуин made it. Good, thought shy one would skip again, nice to be out and about."
Jack beheld at North with a questioning gaze, before searching where his sudden change of topic came from.
"North, what's a K-khell-o-ouin?" Jack asked when finally giving up.
"Halloween is here. Over there." North stated, pointing where less being were around. He was about to add something else, only to see that side Jack once stood was empty.
Down on the bottom floor, stilling being loud and lively, some found enjoyment in quite chats, no needing making a scene.
"Ola, Halloween, how have you been?"
"Fine, very well in deed, thank you for asking, Azúcar." Hollow said, considering to the others at the table, nodding to each. "Stingy, you look as drunk as ever."
"Cheers to that."
"Angel you have been resting for some months, yes?"
He nodded, having a moment to just lie back in the chair, finally answering with words. "Oh how the day of tiny saints take out on being, is unbelievable."
"I am sure we could guess that."
The one named, Azúcar, waved to Hollow to look back at her, to say. "Thy petty lord is ill again, so he will not be here." Ending with an eye roll, of knowing it was pointless to speak of that being, but had to be done.
"I wouldn't think he ever would. Still aching from happening those years back, he'll be his bitter self soon enough. We do what we can until he returns."
"Hollow! Glad you made it!"
All but the said person from the table looked to the voice; Hollow just took a moment to take a slip from the drink that grabbed while finding the table, before fixing the hood back in place.
"Who is this Hollow you speak of, Mr. Frost?" The small skull girl asked, fixing her salsa dress.
"He means me, little Azúcar." Hollow finally said when Jack was close enough to the table, having the chance to ask. "You want to sit with us?"
"If that's okay with everyone else, I wouldn't want to break up anything you guys were doing."
"The white sprite that became a guardian of children, and wants to sit with us, I think I should stop drinking at this moment." The one named Stingy said, in an almost sober matter.
"It only is an hour later, until you're under the table anyway." The other, Angel answered back, in a faxable tone.
"True, better finish this before it gets warm."
Hollow choose not to listen, having Jack sit between Angel and Hollow being.
"A little early for dressing up, isn't young Frost?" Hollow asked in a questionable wording, finally getting a good look at what Jack was wearing.
The winter sprite just laughs it off before adding. "It wasn't my choice anyway; the elves made me do it."
"Unlikely, but I won't pry."
"What a strange name you were given. Hollow? Why give such a name, Jack?" Angel asked, finally glad the drunk went to go get some more drinks, mostly for himself, but the others as well.
"Wasn't me. I asked Hollow and just bluntly said. Hollow Eve, now goes away, before I turn you into a toad." Mocking at the end of how Hollow sounded on a flaw tale.
"I am laughing on the inside, young Frost, really. But I think you mixed up some words there." Hollow said, returning the joking tone back, when soon saying. "I never said toad. You must have heard wrong. I said I would turn you into a parlor trick of a rabbit."
"I don't think this world is ready for another Easter Bunny, I can barely handle the one we have now."
"I am glad we have an agreement somewhere, young Frost."
"Not a problem. How you guys hanging in as of late?" Jack then asks, wanting to know a little from the rest.
Angel didn't say but shrug.
"Working in a church for long days at a time, tend to take a toll on certain people. He's just tried right now." The young skull gal said with glee, then adding. "Just as much when handing out treats and blessing to those who have passed."
"You're the Soul of Saints and Day of the Dead spirits."
"Someone has been looking into their history." Hollow pointed out.
"As a guardian of children, it's my job to know what makes them tick, in case they choose to someday forget us."
"You have done more than Stingy, prankster to the end, may he end up under the table sooner than before." Angel stated, as seeing the said person coming back.
Stingy was about to speak, before having a nasty case of the hiccups for a moment, calming down enough to say. "You're needed with your team, blonder." Ending just enough to settle a loud roaring burp from coming, having it only sound like a mouse squeaking when done.
"Right, okay, Hollow I'll see you in a bit."
"Very well, young Frost, though don't make me wait forever."
"He's odd." The other three said once Jack was far away enough.
"You haven't guess of the people I have to sit with then. Far as they come as worst from just as the daily compost from cows." Hollow stated back at them, being ready to have some snack thrown at the keeper of Halloween, but they did so with laughter here and there.
Over on the other side of the ballroom, Jack met up with his team, wanting to get this small meeting over with, as seeing Jack was, wanting to keep his of the promise intact.
"Alright, show pony, what's with that?"
"What are you talking about, Kangaroo?"
"Speaking with the likes of them?"
"I am a guardian guys, I can take care of myself. No fighting, we're here for a good time."
"Jack I just think maybe you should stay nearby is all."
"Tooth, come on, don't be like this. They are not like him. Far, from what others say."
Let it be. They came here for fun, not fight, as Jack said. Leave it alone.
"Thank you, Sandy for understanding."
While the rest were having their small banter, North watch through the room, being on his toes, for how lively but how edge everything seem to be, even before this.
"Okay, guys that's enough. We're equals, do different things, but work together fine. I can't believe I have to say it for you to understand." Jack said, having the words bring North back in joining the others.
"Friends, Jack is right, let's not bicker over this, for, the night is still young."
Jack eyed North, nodding his head to him, for backing up him, and with that left. Chatting along with other spirits he met along the way. Sneaking a glance to see April's Fool head to where Bunny was, a good sign something was about to happen.
Finally making it the table, having some of the others showing off some tricks, some simple, some mind binding.
"You guys getting for this year?"
"Ola, Jack, si, it's always best to do so. Would you like to try a new flavor of a sugar skull I have been working on?" Azúcar asked, holding up a bright green skull, eye sockets painted purple with matching outline for the teeth, around having a mask of a many colors filling in the rest.
"Umm, sure, thanks." Jack answered, while grabbing the skull that fit in the palm of his hand, looking to the other, who was waiting for him to try. To which he took a bite, swallowing before answering. "What a fast buzz it gives. It's good."
"Make of the purest sugar cane known to man. A master piece if I do say so myself."
"Glory hound, is what you really are." Stingy and Angel said at the same time, where the other just made a face at them.
Hollow just took another sip, minding oneself, not wanting to get in the middle the others childish banter.
"Children, they are." Hollow stated, quietly to oneself, knowing they wouldn't hear, but someone did.
Jack tried not laugh to that, sitting back down by Hollow, who was still eyeing the others. Finishing the rest of his treat, already knowing he was going to get an earful from Tooth later. Ready to just about to forget; the pesky moment from before.
"Things okay there, young Frost?"
"Yeah, nothing really, so you don't worry about it."
"The rest of the naiads seem to be more well manner from the last time."
"Oh, wait for it."
Just as if those words were the trigger, a small popper of fireworks had gone off. Mix in there, were mummers of confusion, a shouting match between a jokey April's Fool and an angry Bunny, whose fur was splashed in countless hues flatting his fur like an animal caught in the rain.
Many others though, were laughing at the display.
"That bloodily wanker better not has blown up the drinking stand." Stingy said, mostly to himself, running off to get whatever lived through the troubles.
"Bring more bread, for the sake you might make it through the night." Angel shouted back, but when getting no reply, had to go after.
"They're like brothers, also being close in their living bouts; they have learned to deal with each other well." Azúcar said, when seeing the lost look on Jack's face. "They're around the same age, as their myths."
"Ah, okay, it's just they are very different is all. One being a keeper of saints and the other being an old drunk, don't seem to make the best of friends."
"And yet, you bother to be around me." Hollow said in return of that simple fact.
Azúcar gave a tiny giggle when Jack gave a sheepish smile, feeling he was caught in some kind of act.
The night went on being that calm, Angel saying he was taking Stingy back to his resting place, who true to his words, drank himself under the table. Azúcar doing the same, shocking Jack when she hugged Hollow quickly, rushing off to catch up with the others, calling out a goodbye to Jack, giving one right back as they left.
"Heading home too?" Jack asked Hollow, who somehow finally finished the lone drink, it had all night.
"Not sure, you might follow and have me stay."
"Hey, you're getting good at this." Jack said in glee, wrapping Hollow in a side hug, which was only, pushed him back a bit.
"Small steps, young Frost."
Removing; his arm from Hollow's shoulder, still having the smile in place, and slowly getting up from his seat, leaving Hollow little choice but to do the same.
"Hey, let me show you around the workshop."
"Shouldn't you speak with Master North?"
"I will, come on."
As they left the ballroom, which had some others still there, giving farewells. The yetis and elves, cleaned up. Jack rushed up the stairs, Hollow slowly following, up the stairs and hallways, coming across near the study of North's.
"North, I need to ask you something."
"Yes, what is it Jack?" North asked, before seeing the caretaker of Halloween. Soon giving, a soft smile, over to smaller spirit, before, saying. "Hello, little Хэллоуин, did you enjoy yourself? I did not see chatting with others."
Hollow nodded, having to give a bow to North. "It was a fine party. Loud, and lively when you host, as always. Thou some of guest . . ."
"It can't be help with them, they are very friendly and cannot control what they do, and next party will be even great though."
Jack smirk to this, even had to say. "Is your belly telling you that?"
"Jack Frost, you know my belly well! Now, what was it that you wanted to ask?"
"I wanted to show Hollow around the place . . ."
A sudden calling from crow was heard; its wings fluttering hard to zoom pasted everything to land on Hollow's shoulder. The bird again, giving a few more craws to Hollow.
"I am afraid, that will have to wait, and I must leave now."
Not waiting for a reply, misted away from the others sight, the crow taking off from where it came from.
"What was that about?" Jack asked, looking to larger than life man, questioning his name. "North, do you know?"
"Day was coming, not much one can do."