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A Friend in Need

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A Friend in Need
It all started in late spring. For weeks they had been searching for Katherine and Pitch with no luck and North was beginning to run out of hope. He knew the girl was alive, he could feel it in his bones yet no matter how hard they tried or what part of the world they searched there was simply no trace of her or the Nightmare King that had taken her. He didn't help that their best tracker had suddenly become fidgety and zoning out into his own world. One moment Bunnymund was listening to their battle plans and offering valuable Intel the next he was hugging himself and his eyes darting everywhere but to those around him. He avoided touching everyone and on more than one occasion made as if to leave. North had watched all this with growing concern but after three days enough was enough.

"Rabbit man, we need you to focus," he snapped at the interstellar rabbit or rather Pooka. After nearly a year of knowing one another North had come to think of the strange creature as a friend but he could never fully understand him. His frown grew as Bunnymund ignored him entirely, not even reprimanding him on the "Rabbit man" gibe. No, the Pooka's mind was anywhere but where it should be.

"Bunnymund?" Toothiana asked, reaching out for the larger being. It was rare for her to reach out to anyone. She was the newest member of their group and there was still trust issues they were all working through but at that moment their was worry in her amethyst eyes. Her small hand was inches from Bunnymund's green clad shoulder when the Pooka's eyes darted toward her and he suddenly jumped back. Toothiana gave a surprised bird like cry and darted back, her large wings nearly slapping North in the face.

Nightlight jumped out of her way as her wings flared and even Ombric seemed a little out of sorts by the Pooka and fairy queen's sudden antics. "What in the Moon has gotten into you two?" he asked as he adjusted his hat. "Bunnymund, are you alright?"

But the Pooka only stared wide eyed at Toothiana before shaking his head. "I...I need to go. Personal issues, my friends. I'll...I'll be back in a few weeks. I'm sorry."

North bristled at that. "Personal issues?" the young Cossack challenged. "Katherine is missing and you're leaving due to personal issues? What can be so important that it would jeopardize or chances of finding her?"

For once the proud Pooka had no response but his emerald eyes, although hidden behind egg shaped green glasses showed fear. True and utter fear and not for their friend. "I must go," he said quickly as he thumped his right foot against the ground. "Explain later. I'm sorry."

"Oh, hell no," North snapped, lunging for Bunnymund as the tunnel opened.

"Nicholas, no!" Ombric yelled after him but it was too late. The two warriors had already fallen into the hole.

"Mating season," Toothiana muttered as she watched the hole close. Ombric and Nightlight turned to her in shock. She shrugged as if it was no big deal. "It happens to all animals at some point. Even men."

. . .

North cursed as he fell through the hole and lost his grip on the Pooka. This tunnel, like so many others, sloped at a steep angel and before he could get his footing he was tumbling head over heels down an impossible long tunnel. Bunnymund was ahead of him, sliding with the slope as if it were second nature. In his case it very well could be. Before long the tunnel opened to the Warren and North rolled onto a cobble stone path. He gave another curse as he landed hard on his left shoulder. There had to be a better way to reach the blasted place without the use of twisting and steep tunnels that was sure to one day break someone's neck. Even the eggomotive would have been better than freefalling through the tunnels.

Bunnymund was crouched on his hunches a few meters away, his nose twitching and eyes almost wild. He didn't look anything the his usual calm and collected self. His ears were pressed against his head, nose and whiskers twitching uncontrollably. He looked panic stricken.

Dusting himself off and ignoring the pain to his shoulder, North approached him slowly. If anything the Pooka looked like a wild animal about to attack. "Bunnymund, what has gotten into you my friend? What is wrong?" he asked in his most soothing voice.

Bunnymund shook his head. "Not good...not good what-so-ever. You need to go, right now."

"Not until you tell me why you're acting so funny."

Again the interstellar being shook his head. "You need to leave. Right now," he repeated. "Please." He was hugging himself now, looking desperate.

North was utterly confused. From the little he knew of Pookas and Bunnymund himself he knew that Bunnymund feared very little, not even the Nightmare King despite what had happened to his race. "Why do I need to leave, Bunny?" he asked, resorting to the pet name Toothiana had taken to calling the Pooka.

Bunny looked about and it was then that he noticed the little eggs avoiding the Pooka. Usually they were all over their master the moment he returned to the Warren yet it was as if they wanted nothing to do with him. North looked around. Even the warrior eggs were staying a fair distance away. "Are you ill?" he suddenly asked his friend. If Bunnymund were ill that could explain why he was acting so strangely.

A small whine came from the furry warrior and it nearly made North jump with fright. He had never heard such a sound before. "Worse, far, far worse. Rut."

"I don't understand. What do you mean 'rut'?" His eyes suddenly widened as the word's meaning hit him. "You're in heat?"

The Pooka frowned. "I'm a buck, I don't go into heat I have a rut."

"Oh." Well that could explain things. "Then do what you have to do and hurry up. We need to find Katherine."

Again Bunnymund shook his head but this time there was a whimsical smile to go with it. "If only it were so simple. I am the last of my kind. There is no one to mate with let alone rut with. I need to go into hibernation until it's over."

North frowned now. "And how long is that for?"

A shrug of slim shoulders was his only answer.

The young Russian cursed. "We don't have weeks. Katherine is in danger."

"You think I don't know that, Cossack?" the Pooka snapped back. "She's my friend, too."

For a long time the two just glared at each other, both fearful for their missing friend yet unable to do anything about it at this time.

Bunnymund finally sighed. "I'm sorry, North. I wish I knew how to stop this but I can't. When I was alone I could ignore it but now that I'm amongst people it seems to have taken a hold of me again. I promise I will return to the search as soon as possible. She's a tough girl, I'm sure she's fine."

North wished he had the same amount of faith as the Pooka but after being run through by Pitch's sword only a year ago the wounds were still tender and he feared what might have befallen his young friend while in Pitch's clutches. "If you...rut will you be able to go back to normal? I mean how long does it take?"

The Pooka shrugged. "A few days perhaps. It's worse right now because I've been trying to ignore it and will still bother me for another month or so but with a mate the worse of it will be over in a matter of days. Of course that's if I had a mate but alas I'm the last of my kind so I have no choice but to hibernate."

"What if you just had a pattern, someone to rut with but not mate?" North asked. His stomach tightened and the urge to forget the whole matter and make tracks back to the others filled him but he was never a man to run from his own fears. He stood his ground, ready to do whatever was necessary to help his friend and save the little girl he thought of as a sister.

"Not a mate?" Bunnymund asked as if he had never heard such a thing.

North shrugged. "Friends with benefits," he explained. "I help you with your rut then we go find Katherine, dah?"

The Pooka's eyes narrowed in thought. "Pooka's mate for life, we don't have 'friends with benefits'."

At that North actually laughed. "Welcome to Earth. In case you haven't noticed, my friend, humans tend to bend such rules."

Bunnymund gave a nod but still didn't seem convinced. "Pooka's are not like humans...we...our animal instincts can be very...forceful. I don't wish to hurt you."

The Cossack puffed out his chest. "I'm not so easy to break, Rabbit man. I have fort hundreds of battles and even faced down the Nightmare King. I think I can handle a little rough sex with an overgrown bunny rabbit. I'll just pin you down and...what's so funny?"

"You misunderstand, my friend. It will be you who is pinned down."

North's eyes widened in surprise. He had not considered his role in this carefully. He thought he would be the one topping the Pooka not the other way around. He took a step back as Bunnymund stood to his full height, 6'1" not including the ears and while he was still half a foot shorter than North he looked more threatening than when he ate his six-arm chocolate.

"I'm a buck, North," the Pooka said carefully. "And you will be my doe."

Yep, North really needed to learn when to keep his mouth shut and let people deal with their own problems rather than chasing them down and offering to help. This was surely one of those times. Nonetheless he was a man of his word and once he swallowed the lump in his throat he gave Bunnymund a nod. "If that is what you need then so be it. The sooner your rut's over the sooner we can find and save Katherine."

Bunnymund purred in delight as he neared the taller man.

Even though North was a grown man, tall and muscular and an amazing warrior he suddenly felt very small and timid the way Bunnymund was eyeing him. He no longer felt like the Pooka's friend but prey to a mighty beast that was about to gobble him whole. It was a feeling he swore never to feel again. A feeling that reminded him of when he first was taken in by the Cossacks, too young to fight with a sword and simply another mouth for them to feed. He'd paid for his way the only way he could back then, with his body so it wasn't as if he was unaccustomed to sex with another man but Bunnymund wasn't a man and North had sworn he would never bottom again. He would always be dominate in his life...but Katherine's life may be at stake.

Closing his eyes he gave a nod and again reminded himself that he need the Pooka to help him find Katherine before Pitch did something truly awful to her. "Alright, my friend. Let's get this over with," he said as he removed his over coat and hat.

Bunnymund's nose twitched. "No, no, no, not here," he said, grabbing North's arm and half dragging him toward the meadow. "Need to ward Warren and..." His nose twitched again and he looked about as if expecting someone to suddenly appear.

North could feel the way the Pooka was shaking, as if he was just as frightened by what they were about to do as North. Taking a deep calming breath, North caught his friend's shoulder. "It's alright, Bunnymund, no one is going to come here." He bit his lip and looked down at his feet as he contemplated what to do next. "Tell me what you want me to do and we'll do it, dah?"

For a moment the Pooka simply stared at him and his shaking ceased. He hesitated before shuffling closer to the taller male then he began sniffing North's face.

North went to step back but stopped when a surprisingly strong arm wrapped about his waist and he was yanked into the Pooka.

"Don't move," Bunnymund warned as his nose pressed into North's brunette hair.

North tried to calm his breathing and be as passive as possible but he could feel the heat coming off the rabbit like creature. Then a hot tongue darted out and licked behind his ear. Again he went to pull away but Bunnymund was far stronger than he looked and he pressed his lithe form into North's. A paw begun tugging at his clothes, sharp claws tearing at the fabric. "Bunnymund, stop. Let me remove-" But it was too late, the shirt was torn right off North as the Pooka gave an inhuman growl. North moved quickly, grabbing his friend's paws and stopping him before he could tear off his pants. "Aster! Slow down, I'm not going anywhere," he said firmly before gently but firmly pushing the Pooka away.

Bunnymund keened in distress, as if upset that he was losing his toy. North raised a calming hand to him as he shrugged out of the rest his clothing before they were torn off too. He kicked off his boots and pulled off his pants until he stood before his family nude as the day he was born and bearing the scar across his belly where Pitch had run him through the year before. Now he was more nervous than ever but he hid it under a cheery smile.

"See, my friend. No need to tear clothing," he said with a grin.

The dark green robe Bunnymund wore met the lush grass next as the Pooka shrugged it off and removed the egg shaped green glasses. Now he looked exactly like an oversize rabbit and North's stomach knotted. No, he was pretty sure rabbit didn't sport erections quite that large. He took an involuntary step back as Bunnymund hopped toward him. Okay, bad idea, really bad idea, North told himself as the creature neared. Yes this was his friend and yes he would do just about anything to help him but this might be more than even he could handle.

"You're afraid," Bunnymund stated, scenting the air. A tiny smirk lifted his lips. "The great Cossack warrior afraid to be taken by a bunny. Chocolate?" he asked, holding out a paw with a tiny wrapped egg."

North's brows raised in confusion. What was with this rabbit man and chocolate eggs? Still, if was better he accepted it than insult his friend. Bunnymund was obviously not in his right mind at the moment. So he took the egg and unwrapped it then popped it in his mouth. It was rich with a strong taste of bourbon and milk chocolate. In fact that small shot of bourbon was more like a three finger shot. It went down smooth with the chocolate but warmed his chest and belly along the way. Within moments he felt slightly more relaxed and the anxiety left.

"Better?" Bunnymund asked.

"How did you know?" North asked, a little surprised that the Pooka knew just how frightened he was by this whole endeavour.

Bunnymund cracked a grin as he shuffled closer again. "You fidget more than Nightlight when he's trying to keep a secret."

North ran a hand through his hair in embarrassment. "That noticeable, huh?"

The Pooka shrugged and began sniffing North again. "And you were sweating." His tongue darting out again and swiped over North's jaw, licking up the sweat there. "You should lay down so I can do this properly. No need for you to suddenly fall."

"I wouldn't-" But Bunnymund had swept his legs out from under him and forced him to lay on the grass.

"You have not experienced sex until you've been with a Pooka, my friend and I assure you the first time is better laying down."

"I thought you never had sex outside your species," North pointed out teasingly.

"I haven't." There was a soft growl of warning now and North caught something almost bestial flash through his friends usually calm and peaceful gaze.

North decided not to push Bunnymund's buttons any more. He was in a rather dangerous position, laying naked before a half man half animal who was in a short time going to mount him. Yeah, that wasn't scary one bit. He almost wished he had another of those chocolates and as if reading his mind Bunnymund presented him with another before he began sniffing and licking North. It started slow, just little licked to North's face and neck, over his lips and along the shell of his ears. Then they moved lower, to his neck and shoulders and down to his chest. North closed his eyes and let himself enjoy the odd sensation. The Pooka's tongue was not nearly as rough as a cat's but it was still meant for grooming and that was exactly what Bunnymund was using it for. He cleaned North, not that the man truly needed it, before turning his focus to other things.

There was little foreplay that first time. Once Bunnymund had reached North's groin any thoughts of grooming went out the window as he all but devoured North's semi hard cock. The Russian cried out, not prepared for such a power blow job. The Pooka's head bobbed up and down North's length several times, milking pre-cum from it before he moved lower. Then, without a word, he flipped the young man onto his belly and began licking his entrance. North was taken back, his mind having trouble catching up with what was happening to him. He felt that warm tongue push into him and it was unlike anything he ever felt before. His insides were licked as his hole was stretched but it ended as fast as it had started. One moment the tongue was there the next it was gone and something much larger, much harder was pushing into him. He winced and tried to keep his muscles relaxed but he was not ready for this and no matter how much he tried he felt himself tightening up.

"I'm sorry, Nicholas," he heard Bunnymund whisper before searing pain enveloped North as his friend breached him with one hard thrust.

His arms and legs gave out from under him and all that held North up was Bunny's firm grip on his hips. He wasn't given much time to adjust, Bunnymund pulled back out a moment later before thrusting all the way back in, all the while murmuring apologies that North could barely hear over his own cries - was that really him making all the noise? He tried to focus past the pain and push back, to prove that he truly was the great warrior that could take anything thrown his way, but that first rut was anything but pleasant for either of them. His muscles were unbearably tight and Bunnymund's animal side had taken over. All North felt was the Pooka hug him tightly as their flesh slapped together...then the smaller glimmer of pleasure as Bunnymund's cock brushed his prostrate.

"There," he urged, pushing back. "Bunny, hitting me right there. Yes...yes!"

There was snarl next to his ear as Bunny's pace suddenly picked up and the Pooka all but rammed North's prostrate. It was so hard, so fast that North thought he might break in two. His fingers dug into the ground, tearing up grass and digging gorges into the soil. Nonetheless he refused to let Bunny have complete control. He trust back just as hard and just as fast, meeting the oversize rabbit thrust for thrust until the Pooka began moving at inhuman speed, slamming into him too hard for even his great strength could contend with. Sharp claws dug into North hips as a pair of buck teeth bit the flesh of his collar-bone. It was more than North could take and he gave a cry as he found his release. Bunny roared his own release behind North as hot sticky cum filled the Russian but it was far from over. Bunny was still hard and already on the move once more. North would cum three more times before exhaustion would take him but for Bunny his rut was just beginning.

He had fought battles, faced down a giant demon possessed bear and even been run through but the sword of the Nightmare King. He had suffered great injuries and nearly died a several occasions but none of that compared to the pain North felt now. His back side hurt and his legs felt numb. He head swam as if he had hit it against a rock had some point and his right shoulder stung in ways it shouldn't but none of that compared to how his insides felt. It was as if someone had tried to tear him in two.

He groaned as he brought a hand to his forehead. What in Moon happened to him? His mind was a little fuzzy. He remembered making battle plans with his fellow Guardians as they searched for Katherine. Then Bunny started acting all strange and he had confronted the oversize rabbit man and then... His mind went blank. Did Pitch attack them? Did North and Bunny get into a scrap? They wrestled around quite often but never truly harmed one another. His mind felt as if it was being dragged through mud. One thing was for certain. Katherine was in danger and he had to get to her.

It hurt to move. Hell it hurt to even open his eyes but when he did he felt his breath leave him in a rush. He was underground somewhere. Dark soil packed walls and ceiling met his vision. Think roots wove through the soil as if to hold it all together. North looked around. There was very little else in the room other than the nest he was sleeping in. Nest? His stomach knotted and he pushed past the pain to try and get to his feet. Wherever he was it was a place he shouldn't be. He must have fought some grand battle and lost and now he was Pitch's or some creatures captive and he was not about to take that laying down.

He barely noticed or cared that he was utterly naked and covered head to toe in bruises - they were just more evidence that he had fallen victim to something. Pushing himself out of the nest North attempted to stand only to have his legs give out. He had no feeling in them and promptly fell against the nest with a curse. This was not good, not good at all. How was he to fight if he could not even stand?

"Nicholas?" Bunnymund's concerned voice called from somewhere to North's right and the young Cossack looked about frantically for his friend.

"Bunnymund?" he called back. "They've got you too? Where is my sword? I'll...why are you laughing?"

The Pooka stood in the doorway with an amused grin on his face. "You, my friend, are an odd fellow," Bunnymund said as he hopped over and helped North back into the nest. "No one has us, you are in my home."

"You live underground?" North asked although technically he already knew that. The Warren was a magical place sustained under Easter Island but it never looked so earthy before.

Bunnymund laughed. "Yes, most of my borough is underground. Now rest, you're body needs time to heal. I fear I lost control earlier and felt it better you slept here rather than the meadow."

Raking a hand over his face North tried to remember what had happened. "Meadow...what do you mean 'lost control'?"

"My animal side. It's been far too long since I allowed my rut to take me."

"Rut," North echoed before his eyes snapped open and the memory of their sexual endeavour hit him. He looked down at himself once more, noting the different shape bruises, claw marks and bites and just how dark the skin between his thighs, groin and hips were. "Good Moon, what did you do to me?"

The Pooka shrugged as he poured some ointment into his paws and began rubbing it into North's skin. The Russian would have objected but the heady scent and warmth was enough to make him relax. "I told you, I lost control but now that the first rut is out of the way things will proceed at a more normal pace...I think."

"You don't know?"

Bunnymund gave a soft sigh. "It's been a very long time, Nicholas." His ears pressed to his head as he neared North's groin and he forced himself to ignored it even as if twitched with renewed life. "I'm sorry if I hurt you."

"Bah, had worse when my bandits took me to a whore house after a great heist," North lied, trying to ease his friend's conscious. "Very wild night, much drinking and celebration."

"Ladies man, huh?"

North shrugged with a cheeky grin.

The Pooka gave a shrug, his gaze faraway. "I had a doe once. We were young like you and always frisky. She would have bore my kits had..." He looked away and put aside the ointment. "Rest, you should get feeling back in your legs soon then I'll bring you back to the surface."

"But your rut?"

Another shrug. "I'll sleep it off. I will not risk injuring you again. Katherine needs you."

Catching his arm, North stopped his friend before he could escape to the rest of his borough. "She needs us both, Aster," he said firmly before tugging the Pooka onto the nest. "You said the first rut is the hardest, what about the second?"

Bunnymund shook his head and tried to pull free but this time North had the upper hand and while he couldn't do much more than hold on to his friend he wasn't about to let go. So when Bunnymund only looked at him with sad emerald eyes North laid back down and pulled the Pooka down to him.

"We'll start slower this time," he said, as if it were the most logical thing in the world. He raised his left hand and stroked Bunnymund's cheek. "I may be human but I won't break over a little rough sex." To prove his point he shifted his sore legs, opening them so that the Pooka was cradled between them.

"Nicholas," Bunnymund said just above a whisper, afraid that any sudden move might frighten the Russian away but North only smiled tenderly at him and raised his lips to brush them over the Pooka's.

Now a Pooka's mouth was never meant for kissing, his lips were too narrow and North's nose seemed to get in the way but Bunnymund tried to mimic his friend's movements until finally they found a way to do so that was just right for them. North tangled his finger into the Pooka's fur as his legs rubbed furred hips. He shifted his hips ever so slightly then stopped when he felt something strange inside him. It wasn't painful exactly but it did feel foreign and not really comfortable, as if he was filled to the brim with something he shouldn't be.

"Did you put something in me?" he finally asked, his voice suddenly timid and unsure. He didn't want to think of what could be inside him. Visions of his early years with the Cossacks momentarily filled him and brought a fear he did not want to relive.

Bunny's fury fingers brushed back North's hair. "I didn't want to hurt you again so I placed several eggs inside your rear to keep you open. Do they hurt?"

"They? How many?"

"Three. You were very tight."

"Three?" North held back a gasp. Three. He had three eggs inside him? Did he look like a blasted chicken? His hips shifted and he tightened his muscles, trying desperately to bush them out. "Get them out," he ordered. He agreed to help Bunnymund with his rut not have strange objects shove inside him.

"Relax, Nicholas," Bunny urged, one paw trailing down North's side to caress his ass but rather than remove them he pressed two fingers against North's hole and pressed the eggs deeper in, right into his prostrate.

"No, Aster!" North cried, trying to snatch that paw away from his rear but Bunnymund was too fast. He grasped both North's hands and pressed them into the nest with one hand as the other continued to torment North's hole. It was such a mix of pleasure and torture that North feared he might lose his mind. His back arched and he struggled to break fear but the Pooka was far stronger than his lithe form portrayed. He had North pinned and took pleasure in the man's cries until North's head pressed into the nest, his whole body arching as an orgasm rolled over him. His cum matted the fur of Bunnymund's belly and North's stomach alike. Then the Pooka was pressing firmly on North's stomach.

"Push them out, Nicholas," he instructed, as if speaking to a small child. "There we go. One...two...ah, and three. See, not so bad."

North would have glared at him but his body felt too tingly and good and when Bunny shifted and pushed inside of him he felt no pain even is his muscles were still sore and tender. Bunnymund nuzzled his jaw and licked his collar-bone as he thrust slowly in and out of North, taking his time compared to their first tryst. This time North was able to move with him and keep up, at least until he saw that flash of something in the Pooka's eyes. At first the young man was unsure what he was seeing but it was the tell tale sign of when Bunnymund's animal side was starting to take over. The Pooka slowly began to thrust harder, faster and to distract him North would kiss him and talk, trying to keep he logical side of Bunny with him as long as possible. He tried different positions and even tried taking charge - which turned out to be a big mistake. When the animal side emerged North was pinned as Bunny rutted, no longer gentle or kind but bestial, hard and fast and North would try to talk him down, bring his Bunny back. Sometimes in lasted minutes, others hours but when North did when and managed to keep Bunnymund from losing himself his heart sang and he rejoiced. He had never had such wild and thrilling sex. For him to be able to have the power to bring his friend back from the edge of becoming a wild animal became the greatest treasure of all.

North couldn't sleep, not that he didn't want to or that Bunny - he rather liked the shortened version of his friend's name, it made the proud Pookan warrior seem almost soft and cuddly - was in the process of another rut. In fact the Pooka had calmed down considerably after the first three to the point it now longer felt like they were having rough and wild sex but the border line of making love. No, what kept him up was his own mind and past fears he thought tucked away forever under a mask of rebellion and warrior pride. Now it all lay bare before him as if Pitch Black himself had torn down his carefully crafted walls to discover long forgotten fear and hurt that no one was meant to see.

Bunny's forehead pressed between North's shoulder blades as he hugged the Russian from behind. "You're doing it again," he murmured, unable to find sleep with the jumble of emotions and thoughts rushing through his friend's mind. He had been doing everything in his power to keep from entering North's mind but with how strong the young man was projecting, regardless if it was on purpose or not, Bunny simply couldn't. He caught snippets of a long ago pain and sorrow but it made no sense to him and he was beginning to worry that their friendship was about to suffer after mating season ended.

"Just memories, nothing to concern yourself over."

"Perhaps Toothiana can help you."

"No!" North gasped, almost tearing himself from Bunny's embrace before he caught himself and calmed down. "No, these do not concern her. Besides, she would not have my baby teeth. She's only begun covering Russia." He felt Bunny nod into his bare back and relaxed.

"True. Perhaps you would feel better if we discuss it?" the Pooka offered.

For a long time North said nothing and after a while Bunny shrugged his shoulder and snuggled into his back more, sleep tugging at his tired mind.

"I was an orphan," North's voice said so quietly that if it weren't for Bunny's super hearing he made not have caught what the young man had said. "I know you and Toothiana suffered a great loss when your families were taken from you but I envy you both. I never knew mine. I don't know if they died or gave me up. I don't know if they even loved me or if they would be proud of what I'm trying to do as a Guardian. did they love me or was I an inconvenience to be disposed of at the nearest orphanage?"

Bunny wasn't sure what to say so kept his mouth shut and let his friend continue.

"At least you and Tooth know you were loved. You both have memories of them to look back on. I'm sure you both can remember many happy times with your families."

Hugging North a little tighter, Bunny nodded. "Yes."

A small whimsical smile tugged at North's lips. "When I was small I used to imagine my father was a great warrior who died in battle and that my mother had not choice but to give me up, either to save my life or because she was somehow forced. The only thing I had growing up was my name. It was all I ever knew other than the nuns. They did not appreciate my imagination. I ran away as soon as I was old enough. I suppose that was why I was so happy when the Cossacks took me in. I always thought that maybe, just maybe my father had been one of them. Of course joining them came at a cost, one that had I been older and smarter I may not have so readily agreed to, but I was young and starving and probably wouldn't have survived much longer on the streets."

Bunny froze as the meaning of North's words reached him. He swallowed a lump in his throat and began rubbing his friend's chest, hoping to sooth some of the tension building in his friend. "How old?" he couldn't help but ask.

North closed his eyes, not wanting to answer but needing someone to finally hear the pain he had hidden so well over the years. "Younger than Katherine, and just as small."

It was Bunny's turn to squeeze his eyes shut.

A small laugh escaped North. "Of course they waited until I was feeling like part of the group to spring that little tidbit on me, and not quite in the right mind set. I was presented to the leader during an envoy. I thought I was to shepherd the sheep with the other boys on the journey but then one night things changed. He was not a gentle man."

"How long did that go on for?"

"Until I could fend for myself than they made me a Cossack."

"Sick bastards."

North shook his head. "Not all of them. Many of my men were boys like me. We grew up amongst them, learned to fight but we refused to kill. Be became better than them."

Furry lips pressed against North's cheek. "You are better than them, Nicholas. You didn't allow yourself to sink to their level."

Turning in Bunny's arms he gazed at his friend. "Don't get me wrong, Aster. Not all Cossack are bad, there are many good men amongst them, many that would never consider harming a child but they wouldn't think twice of killing another man. That's why I left. I refused to murder innocents. I will only kill if absolutely necessary. Even if that person is Pitch Black."

"That day might still come, my friend."

With a sigh, North nodded. "I know."

Silence filled the space between them for long seconds before Bunny rested his forehead against North's shoulder. "The worse of the rut is almost over. If you wish to return to the surface I can take you back," he offered even as his heart raced with the thought of losing this wonderful man's touch. He almost jumped in surprise when large hands gripped his upper arms and hefted him up a little higher on the Russian.

"I did not tell you this for your pity, Aster. I told you because it needed to be told. I am here to help you and that is what I intend to do," North said sternly, his jaw set and sapphire eyes angry that the Pooka would even think to pity him. "Just because these memories surfaced after so many years does not change the man I am today. I am my own person, my past does not dictate who I am or who I will be, I do."

A small laugh pushed past the Pooka and he smiled at North. "Then you are alright?"

"Yes, my friend, however I believe turnabout is fair play."

Bunny's brow rose and he let out a surprised squeak as he was rolled onto his back and North settled between his legs. "Huh, Nicholas, you're supposed to be the doe and I'm the buck."

The Russian just grinned as he wet two fingers then probed the Pooka's rear. "Perhaps but as I said 'turnabout is fair play', no?"

The rabbit like being's back arched as North pushed first one and then two fingers into his tight ass. He'd never been breached before and he suddenly very sorry for what his friend must have felt by just having two digits pushed inside him, but North took it much slower than Bunny had. He eased his fingers in, gently and carefully stretched muscles with a patience Bunny could never afford. It didn't take long for North to find Bunny's sweet spot and gently tease it. Bunny moaned with every thrust of those fingers, as they scissored and stretched him and then a third entered. He never felt such pleasure and was so thankful to North for introducing him to it. He came once just from those fingers and a second when North decided to give him head. When North finally entered him the rut was slow like that of lovers rather than a couple in heat. With every thrust North petted Bunny, gently tugged on fur and spoke words of such kindness that Bunny was almost tempted to make the man his mate. Almost but not quite, nor would the young man allow it.

"You'll find a mate, Aster," North promised, kissing his lips gently. "In time you'll find someone to complete you but until then I'll always be here for you." He took Bunny's paws in his hands and laced their fingers together as his thrusts grew deeper and faster. "You'll see. I can feel it in my belly."

Bunny laughed at that. "I'm quite sure that's..ngh..something else entirely...uh!"

North laughed as well as he rammed into the Pooka's prostrate - at least he thought it was Bunny's prostrate, assuming Pooka's had such things. He had followed his instinct for many years and if there was one thing he knew without a doubt it was that his belly was never wrong. Sadly, it would be another 500 years before that prediction would come true.

500 years has a tendency to change people. Katherine had been saved and North's magic grew and he learned from the wizard Ombric how to slow his aging. Out of all the Guardians only North, Ombric and Katherine were human rather than immortal but with the help of MiM and their own magic they managed to live far longer than any other man or woman. While Ombric was thousands of years old, North and Katherine were now 500 plus years yet looked as if they were only in their early to mid fifties. North had big plans aside from his Guardian duties. He had fallen in love, planned to get married and start a family but those dreams were dashed when the love of his life, the only person who remotely understood him, had given him up for her own Guardian duties. That was nearly 400 years ago and North had nearly given up his title as Guardian of Wonder for a more mundane life. It was Bunny how had comforted him those many long nights, reminding him that despite Katherine living him - the little girl had grown into a fine, strong woman that defended children with all her soul - North was still very much needed and very much loved by not just the Guardians but the children of the world. North was the Earth Bound Guardians - as Toothiana had come to them after Ombric, Katherine and Nightlight moved to the Moon - leader and they needed him regardless if almost half their number had moved. North would find love again and have the family he always wanted in one form or another. After all, North, Bunny, Toothiana and Sandy - the first and oldest Guardian even if he was the newest addition to the team - were a family and needed to take care of each other. Reluctantly the Russian agreed and stayed, even if he never did get the family he wanted.

Bunny had changed as well, he started spending more and more time in Australia, enjoying the culture and people. He became some sort of ranger and traveled the outback in search of new ingredients for his chocolate and would always have North taste test them for him. He even acquired the Aussie accent which had made North double over in laughter the first hundred years or so of hearing it in which Bunny would point out just how funny North's Russian accent was whenever he spoke English. When the holidays became official they became the greatest rivals, always having to prove just who had the best and who could out do the other. The rest of the Guardians would place wagers or tease them that they're jobs were way too easy compared to the rest of them, name Toothiana and Sandy who worked 24/7 all 365(6) days a years. But North and Bunny would laugh it off and continue their rivalry even if only in jest.

But some things didn't change. While North refused to become Bunny's mate he was always there for his friend's rut. The first century or so Bunny was too shy to approach anyone other than North for help. He was afraid of hurting Toothiana due to her small size and would never think of approaching Katherine, Ombric or Nightlight. Sandy was an enigma and far older than even the Pooka race. While the Sandman seemed sweet and loveable there was always that undertone of a threat. He was far too dominate for Bunny to safely rut with. North also became more dominate with age and while he would still bottom for Bunny more often than not be wanted to top. For a long time this was find but after a while Bunny began looking toward other spirits for release as did North. In fact, North had begun a relationship with Toothiana. But every few years Bunny and North got together for a mating season or just because they were lonely. Being a Guardian was not an easy life. Even after 500 years they were still best friends, the greatest rivals and occasional lovers but that all changed with their newest addition.

"No!" North's voice boomed throughout the Warren one night when Bunny had suddenly requested he visit. He had laughingly thought that his friend was making a "booty call" as the modern age called it, he never thought he would be getting "the talk" from his long time friend. "I will not give my consent to this. We have been friends long time, Aster. Do not ask this of me."

The Pooka ran his paws over his ears, a nervous gesture that usually made North smile, instead his frown grew and fingers twitched for the feel of a blade. Had he known what Bunny wanted he would have come armed and ready to skin the Pooka.

"Nick, it wasn't supposed to happen. It was an accident. I don't even know how it happened," Bunny rambled as he paced back and forth. "I have done something like this in thousands of years. I mean he was upset and all I was doing was comforting the brat and then...then..."

"He is not 'brat'," North corrected, one hand balling into a fist. "He is Guardian, you must accept that."

The Pooka nodded but his pacing never ceased. "Point is, I never meant this to happen. I don't even like him."

The Russian gave a snort. Bunny was lying now. He knew his friend too well to fall for such a line. "Of all the spirits in the world, Aster, why him?"

"I don't know! Gods, I wish I knew. He's an arrogant, troublesome little monster who just gets under my skin. His jokes aren't even funny! He's cocky and full of himself and thinks he knows everything about everything and...are you sure he's not biologically your son because he acts just like you back in the day."

North raised a surprised brow. "Excuse me?" he asked a little flabbergasted by the suggestion. "What do you mean he acts just like me?"

Bunny didn't hear a word he said and continued his rant. "This is all your fault, you know. Had you just let me mark you we wouldn't be having this discussion and I wouldn't be going through this hell. We would have been happily mated and never going without. I could've made you happy but no...you wanted to fine some woman to marry and bear your young. How's that going for you, mate? Any takers yet?"

Now Bunny didn't mean to sound so mean and North knew that but his words still hurt. In fact, after Katherine there was a large number of women who approached North as a love interest but they were more interested in his power and status as Guardian than love and after a few centuries North had buried himself in work rather than trying to find a wife. He had practically given up. Still, his hands curled into tight fists, ready to strike his friend.

The Pooka hung his head. "I didn't mean that, Nick. I'm just...I think I'm in love. I think I really do love the blighter and it scares me."

"He's just a child, Aster. 300 years is nothing compared to us," North pointed out but Bunny only smiled whimsically at him.

"Then I really must have been rocking the cradle when you and I rutted."

North's brow rose questioningly.

"You were barely 24 and still had a baby face," the Pooka reminded him. "Compared to that he's ancient and in need of some loving."

For a moment North stared at his friend in stunned silence before waving his hands between them. "That is not point. He is boy, always will be. He will physically stay a teen forever, like young Nightlight. That child is millions of years old yet you would never consider him as mate."

Bunny shrugged. "Nightlight's a cute kid but never met my fancy. Only two blokes have down that so far, you and Jack."

Again North tried to argue the fact but he was running out of ground to fight on. "Yes, but Jack is...he's not mature enough for such a relationship," he tried.

It was Bunny's turn to stare at him, his green eyes watching North's every move. He had never seen his friend fidget so much before. His eyes widened suddenly and he gave North a grin. "You're jealous."

North took a surprised step back. "What? No...no, why would you think such silly things?"

The Pooka sauntered up to him, his grin growing as he studied North's flushed face. "You're jealous. My question is are you jealous of me or him?"

"I have no clue what you speak of."

"I think you do," The Pooka urged. "How long has it been, two three decades since our last romp? You came rather fast when I called this time. Is that what you thought I called about? Mating season's nearly here, another week or two. I was planning on making Jack my mate by then but...one last romp between old friends can't hurt."

The large Russian - so much larger than he was when they first met - took another step back but stopped when he bumped into one of the large golem eggs. He blinked in surprise when Bunny suddenly hopped up right in front of him and pressed his furry body against North's. "My friend, you are being very silly right now. I simply thought we would be talking about how successful your Easter was. Great success, no?"

"You're a pathetic lying, Nick. You know that right?" Bunny pressed his furry lips against North's shushing any response the Russian may have had. He expertly undid the red shirt and carefully tugged it down North's arms until it pooled at his elbows. Then he nuzzled his friend's throat, the thick hair of North's white beard tickling his nose. One paw tangled in North's hair, tugging his head down slightly so they could kissed once more. It was still difficult for them to kiss properly but Bunny licked the other Guardians lips and inside his mouth when North finally allowed him access. Ever so slowly Bunny licked his way down North's body, taking in the most recent changes, the broad chest and swell of a belly that was once tone and muscular. North was still powerfully built but age and sweets had taken it's toll. Nonetheless Bunny still adored him and not change a thing about North. He loved him even if only as his best friend. He moved lower, unwinding the sash of North's belt and then undoing the belt itself and tugging down the dark pin stripped pants. North moaned above him as his erection was finally released and it popped up to attention. The Pooka chuckled softly as he nuzzled the large, hard organ. "See, I know you better than you think, Nicholas."

North gave another moan as Bunny's tongue swiped over his cock. "You talk far too much, rabbit man. Almost as bad as Pitch." He gave a yelp when Bunny nipped the side of his cock but chuckled lowly when it was licked better. "Perhaps teasing is not in a our best interest today, Aster..ngh...won't Jack be here soon?"

"Nah, he's visiting Sandy's island for a few days. Sandy wanted a chance to get to know him a bit better," Bunny answered before suddenly sucking on the head of North's length.

The Russian gave a murmured thank you to Sandy as he braced himself against the golem. His knees felt weak as Bunny went down on him. If the Sandman managed to keep Jack occupied for the rest of the day he would have North's eternal thanks.

Petting Bunny's head, North gently but firmly pushed him further down his length before thrusting into that or oh warm mouth. Bunny was very talented in giving head and could deep throat better than anyone North had encountered before. He had little fear of hurting his friend.
He came hard, his seed filling Bunny's throat as he pushed into that tight space as deeply as he could, but as soon as the last drop was swallowed he found himself on the ground, Bunny's fingers pushing into his hole and stretching him as wide as possible.

"Sorry, Nick," the Pooka apologized as his fingers thrust into North. "Guess I've been waiting a little too long again. This might hurt a bit."

That North was used to but after centuries of being together, even if on and off, he was prepared and knew how to keep his muscles lose as Bunny thrust deeply into him. Yet, the Pooka always feared he'd hurt him. North couldn't help but wonder how he would be able to fill Jack without hurting the boy. Jack was tiny compared to North, even when he was a lad. But those thoughts fled his mind as Bunny began to move. He held his friend close, urged him to go harder and let his animal half go free. He could handle anything Bunny could dish out. They had learned through trial and error what position worked best and how to lose control without harming one another. North's head feel back against the lush grass as his prostrate was rammed into, the pleasure nearly blinding as Bunny also suckled one nipple. He would miss this. He had missed this. There was only one male in the world he had ever allowed to touch him since his Cossack days and that was Bunnymund and only Bunny would ever be allowed to fill him so. He feared for Jack's first time but also envied him. Bunny was an incredible lover and would treat the boy well, but North would miss these rare times together so he made it last as long as possible. When Bunny found his release North would change positions and take him. They wrestled as they did in the old days, fighting for dominance, fighting to see who would top the other until day wore on to night and the two lay in one another's arms, pleasantly exhausted and simply happy to be with one another.

North pressed his lips against Bunny's forehead. "You better take good care of him, Aster," he said firmly, even as he pulled Bunny against his chest. "You better not hurt him."

"I know," the Pooka said sleepily, hugging North back. "I love you, Nick. I always will no matter how much I love Jack as well. You'll always be my first."

North chuckled at that. "Sentimentality does not suit you, my friend, but I will always love you, too."

Of course things would change between them but they would always be there for one another, no matter the cause or reason. They shared a bond that surpassed mates or friends. They were like brothers yet so much more and while they will always teased one another and continue they're rivalry over the holidays their love would remain never ending.

fin