The Kingdoms of Fallen Stars

Vigilantly Seeking Answers

Gustav tossed his satchel aside, Baby Tooth explaining to the Yetis that he and Fanghook were friends. The Yetis welcomed Gustav, a bit wary of them at first. When he realized they, nor the elves, would do him no harm, he relaxed a bit.

"Okay… can someone tell me where we are, exactly?" Gustav asked, Pascal squeaking curiously from his shoulder.

"I can tell you exactly where you are!"

Gustav whirled around, North and Wick taking a defensive stance as they threatened to strike.

"Who are you? Are you friends with the Queen?" Wick asked, narrowing his hollow eyes.

"W- Wait, what? The Queen? What Queen? Who are YOU?!" The Viking boy questioned.

Baby Tooth squeaked frantically, flying up to North and Wick as she tried to communicate with them as she had with the Yetis. After a few moments, North nodded slowly, sheathing his swords.

"Wick, lower your scythe. It seems the boy is actually from Hiccup's land." North said. "Alright, it seems you, young man, are no longer on naughty list. What is your name?"

"Gustav Larson. Yours?" He asked.

"You may call me North. This here is Wick, we are both guardians. You must have heard of us, no?" North replied.

"Kind of… you've been mentioned a few times." He glanced around. "Is this your hut? It's pretty big if it is…" Gustav asked.

"This is no hut, Gustav! This is my workshop, where toys are made each and every day to disperse to all the world's children at Christmas time." North waved his hand around.

"Christmas? Never heard of that." Gustav nodded though, impressed. "So… why did these crystal things bring me here?"

"Those were given to Hiccup and Merida by me as a means to come here quickly." North raised a suspicious brow then. "Why do YOU have them? You did not steal them, did you?"

"No! Well, kind of, but… you don't understand! I was staying with them in Arendelle, and we were attacked by these… skeleton things!" Gustav exclaimed. "They need help!"

"Bozhe moy!" North breathed, his eyes widened with shock; "It isn't bad enough that WE have been ambushed, now Arendelle also?"

"Wait, what do you mean? Those skeleton guys attacked you too?" Gustav asked.

"No… Maharaja, the Monkey King, he swarmed Rapunzel's tower, they captured Tooth!" North exclaimed.

At this, Baby Tooth emitted a panicked squeak, devastated by this news.

"And that horrible Queen did something to Eliza! She's… she's all evil and stuff now!" Wick wailed.

Gustav's head snapped up at the sound of Eliza's name. "W- Wait, what? Eliza? You saw her?! Where is she now? What do you mean she's evil? How is that poss-"

"Slow down, young man, slow down! You know Eliza?" North asked.

"Yeah, she was with Hiccup and the others in Arendelle! I… I made a terrible mistake the night before she went missing… I hurt her feelings, and then she ran away." Gustav bowed his head sadly.

"This is bad… very, very bad. Arendelle is under siege… Tooth is captured… we know nothing about Jack and Alice's condition. The Queen is taking over everything, she is winning battles on all fronts!" North exclaimed.

"Who is this Queen you keep talking about?" Gustav asked.

"She's super mean." Wick nodded. "She's scary, too. She's got these big, sharp teeth, and a funny voice, and she likes hearts… something like that…" Wick tapped his head as he thought. "Oh, and she wears this big, poofy, red dress. She really, really hates Alice."

As Gustav listened, something clicked when he mentioned the color red. "Hang on…" He pursed his lip in deep thought. "When Eliza was asking me to keep a secret… she kept visiting this… this 'friend' every night… she said she needed to in order to help her family, these people named Alice and Jack. She said she was trying to stop a big war or something, and she always came back with something. Like in the beginning, she had this scepter stick thing, a dress, jewelry… it was all red…"

North narrowed his eyes, crouching down so he was at Gustav's level. "Gustav… are you saying that when she would go off on her own each night, known only to you… that it was the Queen she was seeing?"

"Maybe… I can't be sure." Gustav replied.

"What could she mean by 'stopping a war…?' Perhaps stopping the war between her and Alice… but how would that come to be?" North asked himself, pacing around.

"Maybe it was tricks or treats." Wick said, tilting his head.

"Wick, this is no time for shenanigans!" North exclaimed.

"No no, really! Maybe if Eliza made the Queen happy, she got treats, and if not, she would get tricked… or something… I'm confused now." Wick scratched his head again.

"Wait. Wick, you may be onto something… perhaps the Queen tricked Eliza, taking advantage of her naïve mind and…" North staggered back, turning and going over to the globe. He narrowed his eyes, scanning through all of the bright colored lights. When a remote part of the United States appeared, he slowly pointed to a lone, glowing light.

It was red.

"North?" Wick asked. "Is it supposed to be that color?"

"No, Wick. No, it is not." North replied, moving quickly. "It is time to gear up! We must go to Arendelle immediately!"

"Are we going to save Hiccup and everybody?" Gustav smiled.

"Yes, young man. And you shall help us. Your dragon seems fierce, like Toothless, and shall aid us in reclaiming the city." North said.

"Okay, but, how are you going to get there?" Gustav asked. North descended to the sub level of the workshop, waving his hand towards his sleigh. Gustav looked upon it and the reindeer with awe, nodding his head in amazement. "Woah… what everyone in Berk wouldn't give to see this…"

"Come now, there is no time to waste!" North exclaimed, everyone getting ready to take their journey back to Arendelle.

The Queen turned at the sound of someone returning inside the mountain. She grinned when Maharaja, his army, and Eliza approached, dragging a tied up and barely conscious Tooth with them. Hans had already returned from his own conquest, the card guard army remaining in Arendelle to maintain their siege. Maharaja stopped, grabbing Tooth and forcing her head upright so the Queen could get a better look at her. Tooth glared at her as much as she could muster, still weak from the fight back at the tower.

"Hm…" The Queen hummed lightly, pursing her lip as she leaned forward to inspect Tooth. "Quite a magnificent specimen. Beautiful, yet fierce… however, not as much so as I. Be gracious by my mercy to spare your life until those of Elsa and Alice Liddell are exterminated. For now, you shall serve a more important purpose." She straightened up, looking to Maharaja. "Your minions posted here have forged a cage for her upon your return. Place her in there so that I may begin my interrogation."

"Tiim ee, minii Khatan!" Maharaja responded, chuckling darkly as he grabbed Tooth by her throat, dragging her over to the cage as his minions chattered and screeched. Some threw rocks and other objects at her as they walked by, Tooth wincing and trying to cover her face with her hands. She winced, grunting a bit as she was tossed into the metal cage that hung a couple feet off the ground. It had been welded to a post up against the mountain wall, Maharaja securing the chain before taking a step back.

"Leave us." The Queen said, all but she, Eliza, and some monkey men remaining in the area as she approached the cage. The Queen motioned for a few minions to approach the cage, posted on either side as they held a metal pole with a pair of prongs at the one end. Eliza stood farther back, watching in silence. "This shall be quite simple, Fairy." She paced around the front of the cage, Tooth watching her warily. "I shall ask you a question. Answer the questions honestly. If you do not, or you refuse, you shall suffer the consequences." The Queen stopped, her eyes bearing into Tooth's. "I will begin with an easy one. The nymph in the forest… I have learned her relation to Pitch Black. However, Maharaja had informed me she does have past limited interactions with the guardians. What are the conditions of those interactions?"

Tooth sat up, anger growing in her features. "If you think I'm going to betray my fellow guardians, you must be dreaming."

The Queen chuckled mockingly, grinning. "My dear, in a few moments, you are going to wish you were dreaming." She nodded firmly to the two minions, the two grinning maliciously as they extended their poles, the prongs sparking with electricity as Tooth cried out painfully. The spots they jabbed left the feathers in those areas a bit charred, falling to her knees and gripping the bars of the cage as she trembled. "No longer accustomed to pain from living in your lofty palace, are you? This shall be a reminder. I tell you now, you shall either answer my questions or every last feather shall be reduced to ashes upon the ground."

Eliza smiled darkly in the background, Tooth furrowing her brows as she glanced over at the young girl.

"What did you do to Eliza?" Tooth asked in a strained voice. "She was such a sweet child, what did you do to turn her against us?" She screamed, her whole body shaking as she was shocked again.

"I'm the one who will be asking the questions here!" The Queen exclaimed. "Now, disclose the conditions of the nymph's interactions with the guardians!" Tooth slowly looked up at the Queen, her eyes narrowed in a deep scowl. She tightened her lips a bit, refusing to answer the question. At this, the Queen shrugged. "Well… we'll just have to break you into this mold, won't we? While that happens, I shall attend to other matters. The answers shall come in time of how to proceed." She waved her hands at the minions, turning to walk away.

Tooth glanced on either side of her, whimpering as she tried to evade the poles. She had very little space to really move to avoid them, her wings flapping frantically. After a minute or two, one minion screeched as he managed to jab her, Tooth crying out as she fell to the bottom of the cage with a thud. As she nursed the side that got jabbed, she screamed as she was only jabbed more in her idle position. She begged for them to stop to no avail, her eyes watering as she managed to see Eliza staring at her from a bit of distance away. She bit her lip, crying as she was shocked again on her leg.

"Eliza… please…" Tooth whimpered, pain searing throughout her body now. "… you've got to snap out of it… please… help us…" She screamed again as she was shocked harshly on her back, falling forward and curling up on the bottom of the cage.

As Tooth's cries echoed throughout the mountain, the Queen chuckled to herself. She knew with enough persistence, she would break the beautiful fairy. In that moment, everything she envisioned, draining Alice's life, slaughtering Elsa, creating not just a kingdom, but an empire of her own, was all slowly coming to fruition.

It was then that she felt a sudden lurching within her.

Having come completely out of the blue, she gasped, staggering a bit as her confident strut was abruptly halted. The Queen's brows twisted with confusion, her breath hitching as one of her large hands slowly moved to rest on her stomach; wherever that managed to fit in with her complicated anatomy. She tried to concentrate on uncovering the source of the occurrence, but was interrupted when Turbo approached her.

"Hey, finally some action going on around here, huh?" He chuckled, raising a brow. "Uh… you okay? You're looking at me funny."

The Queen cleared her throat, forcing herself to stand upright as she attempted to sustain a serious demeanor. "I'm perfectly well, you just interrupted my thoughts."

"Oh, well jeez, not a mind reader, toots." Turbo rolled his eyes. "I just wanted to ask, these cybugs are getting antsy and they're getting on my nerves too. Can I, I don't know, take them out for a spin or something?"

"Very well, remain within the parameter." The Queen responded.

"Thanks… hey, want to come?" Turbo asked.

The Queen blinked at him for a moment inhaling sharply. "No… thank you. I have… things to do."

"Okay, suit yourself." Turbo said before looking behind him. "Rosie. Rosie!" A pink cybug appeared then, chirping to him. "Round everyone up so we can go stretch our wings out. And hurry up!" The cybug chirped again happily, scurrying off to find the others.

As they headed off, the Queen walked quickly to her own isolated area, crouching down as she pricked a bit of her blood. Allowing it to collect, she sniffed it briefly before tasting it. She narrowed her eyes for a moment, suddenly gasping when she registered something. She glanced around, hugging herself lightly.

"Curse my negligence… curse its vulnerability!" She hissed in a whisper, taking a moment to collect herself before getting to her feet.

It was evening, Sandy sighing as he waved his hand. A sand image of Tooth appeared before him, the dream guardian frowning deeply as his heart longed for her. A shifting beside him made him glance over briefly, biting his lip as he whisked his hand to make the sand image dissolve into the air.

"It wasn't bothering me, you know." Pitch said, Sandy giving him a look. "As much as I still resent you, I must agree that I would be the same way if Elsa and I were apart."

Sandy's expression softened. He had felt uncomfortable allowing the King of Nightmares look into his mind, but at least felt more reassured that Alice and Jack had been there to monitor things.

"By the way… the reason I was cross with Jack isn't because he was laughing at us. As annoying as that was, he did have a point with what he said." Pitch spoke. "It is true… look at us. You and I, a man of dreams and a man of nightmares, two of the greatest opposing forces in the universe, standing side by side, as equals. It is as if we have been allies for our lifetime. Who would have thought such a ludicrous notion?"

Sandy raised his brows, shrugging lightly as he looked up at the tree tops. He could at least appreciate Pitch's efforts in trying to speak to him civilly.

"Anyhow… the reason why I am cross with Jack is because of a suspicion I have of him." Pitch's expression darkened a bit then. "I am aware of how far back your friendship with my daughter goes. An uneasy alliance with the two of us, fierce enemies to one another. You must know that I care for her deeply, Sanderson." Pitch glanced over at him. "I would take away all of her pain if I could… and I know that I am the greatest cause of it." He frowned lightly. "However… I shall not tolerate a courtship between her and Jack Frost. As ironic as it seems, I want her to remain pure forever."

Sandy blinked for a moment, unable to contain himself as he burst into silent laughter, rocking back and forth on the log they were sitting on. Pitch was shocked at the reaction, growling from insult.

"You presume that it is AMUSING that my daughter goes off with just anyone she encounters, do you?!" Pitch exclaimed angrily.

Sandy waved his hands for a moment, forming sand pictures to convey that Jack and Emily do NOT have a thing for each other; the notion was hilarious to him.

"Oh, sure, that's what they WANT everyone to think. I am her father, she told me exactly what she thought of him. You have NO idea what it's like to care for a child, Sanderson." Pitch huffed.

Sandy stopped laughing at that, slowly looking up at Pitch while wearing a flat expression.

Pitch understood what Sandy was conveying, waving a hand at him as he rolled his eyes. "Oh, you know what I mean!"

Sandy smirked lightly, shaking his head a bit as he conjured a sleeping cap to put on his head. He gave Pitch a small wave, floating over to the shelter to get some well needed rest.

Pitch got up, about to head to his own when he saw Jack heading into the shelter, glancing around. He saw Pitch staring at him, raising a brow.

"… Evening, Pitch…" Jack greeted.

"… Evening, Frost." Pitch replied, standing up straight. "Rest well."

"Uh… yeah, you too." Jack replied, entering the shelter.

Pitch grumbled, seating himself on the log with his arms crossed, staring at the shelter.

Inside, Jack settled in next to Alice, who smiled lightly when he kissed her. "Jeez, Pitch is so paranoid."

"Were you able to sneak Bunny out of camp without him knowing?" Alice asked.

"Well, I'll tell you one thing, he's definitely suspicious of ME." Jack rolled his eyes.

"At least he won't try to track down Bunny. I hope everything turns out alright…" She paused for a moment. "… for his sake." Alice added.

"Yeah." Jack winked, moving a bit closer to snake an arm around her shoulders. Alice looked into his eyes, giggling quietly before being silenced by his lips capturing hers.

Meanwhile, Bunny heaved a sigh, wringing his hands together as he made his way deeper into the forest.

"Okay… just going to say… 'Em, I want you to be straightforward with me. No riddles, no dancing around the subject. Just be blunt.' No, no… she may get angry… 'Em, I would really appreciate if you told me exactly what's going on, so we can be on the same page.' No, then she may think I'm lecturing… oh, this is going to be a disaster! Um… 'Em, I really like being friends with you, and…' oh Bunny, you are such a dumb bloke…" He groaned, tugging on his ears.

As he continued to mumble to himself, he stopped when he approached the familiar sight of thick vegetation stretching around a finite area. He cleared his throat, blinking a bit as the vegetation slowly retracted in front of him to make an opening to enter. Taking a deep breath, he mustered his bravery as he puffed out his chest, the vegetation closing behind him after he entered. After taking a few steps, he watched as the stepping stones surfaced from the stream, allowing him easy passage across to the other side. As he was traveling across, he slowed as the gradual sound of something lovely hit his hears. He pondered for a few moments what it could be, until he realized the answer.

It was singing.

When he reached the other side, his expression softened when he saw Emily under the weeping willow, knelt down before it. She was looking upwards, her back facing him. Bunny's heart skipped a beat; he never knew that Emily could sing, let alone so beautiful. His ears stood upright, taking in the words.

Where are you this moment; only in my dreams.

You're missing , but you're always a heartbeat from me.

I'm lost now without you , I don't know where you are.

I keep watching , I keep hoping , but time keeps us apart.

Is there a way I can find you, is there a sign I should know?

Is there a road I could follow, to bring you back home?

Winter lies before me, now you're so far away.

In the darkness of my dreaming, the light of you will stay.

If I could be close beside you, if I could be where you are.

If I could reach out and touch you, and bring you back home.

Is there a way I can find you, is there a sign I should know?

Is there a road I could follow, to bring you back home to me?

Bunny exhaled slowly, watching her as she placed a gentle hand upon the tree's bark.

"Mother…" She spoke quietly. "… I am deeply troubled. My heart seeks to be placed in his hands, but… I do not know if it is right. I have known him for so long, but only vaguely. I… want to know what happiness feels like, mother, but…" Emily closed her eyes for a moment, bowing her head. "… am I taking the right path?"

Bunny furrowed his brows lightly, but widened his eyes in awe when from the top of the tree, bright beams of light shone down upon Emily. When she looked up, the visage of a woman bathed in moonlight, her pale hair hanging about her ivory skin and crystal blue eyes, lowered to stand before Emily.

"My precious daughter… do not fret over objections which are not your own." Lady Pitchiner spoke. "I see your heart. The love you feel, and the love felt for you, is true. It is simply hesitant." She bent down, gently lifting Emily's face. "My beautiful flower… my time in the mortal world has long ended, but it is not so for you. My happiness and longevity lives on through you. I wish for you to be blessed with both."

Emily looked up at Lady. "I want nothing more than to eliminate any lingering rift between he and I. But father… he-"

"Is still clouded by the darkness that afflicts him." Lady interrupted. "Deep down, he means well… but he still goes about it in the wrong way. My dear girl… you decide what is the right path."

Emily nodded, closing her eyes as Lady leaned forward to place a kiss upon her forehead. As she did, her form dissolved into light in the air.

A few moments past, Bunny taking a step forward and daring to speak. "... Em?"

Emily gasped, practically scrambling to her feet as she whirled around. She had moved so fast, it even surprised her when she tripped over herself. Bunny dashed forward, reaching out his arms to hold her steady. She glanced up at him, taking a moment to regain her stance before Bunny cleared his throat, awkwardly taking a step back.

"How long had you been standing there?" Emily asked after a minute or two passed.

"A few minutes, maybe..." Bunny answered. He noticed Emily was trying to maintain her composure, but could see in her eyes that, for the first time he had seen since he had known her, she seemed nervous. "Emily... why do you love me? I just... I want to know why me, why now..."

Emily folded her hands in front of him, holding her head up as her hair levitated. "Bunnymund, you and I both have endured the suffering of the ill consequences of war. You went on to translate that suffering into a foundation of which you built your life upon filling that void with giving to others. You emerged from your suffering by providing joy to children, and you yourself feel joy from it. But for myself... as the years passed, my anger, sadness and disappointment festered. I wanted to hurt people; it is why I was trapped within a star by Typhan. I failed to live to his standard... I had become no better than my father. After coming to Earth... I fought to claim this land, and became further withdrawn." She looked up into his eyes. "Until now... until I have come to know just a fraction of your character, I did not make this realization because I did not give you, any of the guardians other than Sanderson, a second thought."

Bunny's ears lowered a bit. "Em... it doesn't have to stay this way. I mean, look at this place... you can make... really beautiful things. You can bring joy to others too."

"My work would not be appreciated. Humans are... they overlook the beauty of nature. They see is as a resource for survival or as a burden, nothing more." Emily said.

"Okay. There's your problem. You're so pessimistic." Bunny said.

Emily sighed, her spine stiffening. "Bunnymund... I have been tormented in my indecision. I have fought against all hindrances; my father's disapproval, our surmountable difference in poise and behaviors, our opposite outlooks upon life, and I have resolved to settle my heart and grant it relief."

Bunny may not have spoken with highbrow words, but he was smart enough to understand the gest of what she was saying. He furrowed a brow, shaking his head. "So that's it then? All of these riddles and games I played to get to the answer... and the answer is that you love me to make yourself feel better?"

Emily exhaled sharply. "Bunnymund, perhaps I'm not explaining myself correctly. I am well aware that... the cause of your suffering all those years ago was my father. I was expressing my own obstacles in the hopes that perhaps I would find that you would overcome your own to-"

"So you just pity me, is that it?" He asked, holding his hands out. "I can fend for myself. I- I may not be as smart or as proper as you, but I know how to handle myself. I should have known this was some big rouse. You don't really love me, Emily. You don't know how to love." He took a step back, turning to leave.

He felt so frustrated; deep down, he had really began to feel something. How dare she make HIM feel bad? As he made his way to the stepping stones, about to storm across them when a sound hit his ears that made him stop dead in his tracks.

"I truly am doomed to suffer with my own wretched heart forever..." Emily spoke barely above a whisper, falling to her knees as her color changed to a deep blue. She closed her eyes, her face twisting as she could not restrain the sudden swell of emotion within her. Tears rolled down her cheeks, quiet crying eventually escalating into wailing.

Bunny turned around, his ears pinning against his head as shock filled him. Never, ever, had he seen Emily so vulnerable. The more distressed she became, the more he regretted saying what he did. He exhaled lightly, slowly approaching her as sobs ripped through her chest.

"Em...?" He called out quietly, crouching down in front of her.

"Leave me be... please..." She begged.

Bunny was so accustomed to her pride and arrogance that his heart actually sank seeing her this way; even more so that he had been the cause. "Em, come on... I'm sorry. Maybe I'm a little pessimistic too, huh? Go on, call me a hypocrite. I can take it."

"No, Bunnymund. I am the daughter of your family's murderer. I have realized I am undeserving of you. How selfish I have been to attempt to ask you for your heart. I have resolved to live forever with his burden upon my shoulders." She glanced to the side. "I wish you a safe and successful journey, Bunnymund. I have tried to fight the pain which afflicts to me, but I shall take responsibility for what he has done, what I have done. I shall take it all unto myself and diminish." Emily said.

Bunny frowned deeply, looking around him as the unearthly beauty and glow of her sanctuary began to dull slowly, as if it was disappearing with her. She closed her eyes, her color greying as she hung her head. His heart began to beat faster, panicking. As she began to release her life, his hands shot forward, no longer thinking rationally as he pulled her face upward, crashing his lips onto hers. Emily's eyes widened from the contact, her greying essence transitioning quickly to a color she had never enveloped before; pink. Bunny broke the kiss after a few moments, staring longingly into her eyes upon realizing what he had done.

"You are not going anywhere, Emily Jane." He said firmly. "You told your mom you wanted to close the rift between us, well here I am."

"But Bunnymund, you are right..." Emily's voice shook. "I do not know how to love..."

Bunny sighed, mentally kicking himself. "Come on Em, this isn't you. You're strong, you're fierce, you don't take anyone's dung. I was being a stupid wombat." He looked up at her regretfully. "But hey... maybe I could teach you... and you can teach me some manners, huh?"

Emily blinked, and surprisingly, she actually chuckled through her tears at that. "Refraining from scratching your ear with your hind leg would be a start."

Bunny snickered, sighing contently. "Emily... you know why we have different lives? After I lost my family, I became a guardian. I had friends, I had the children... people believed in me, still do. But after you lost yours... you didn't have that."

"I destroyed an innocent ship." Emily said.

"Typhan threw you away. I'm sorry, but he did." Bunny said.

"He punished me for my sin." Emily said.

"You don't believe in yourself." Bunny said firmly. "So you don't believe in anyone else."

Emily stared at him, this moment of clarity making her mind go blank for a moment. "... and you...?"

"I didn't a few minutes ago... and I have no idea what I would have done if you gave your life up for it." Bunny frowned.

"Will you have my heart, Bunnymund... and all of me and who I am with it?" Emily asked.

Bunny smiled crookedly. "Em, I don't care whose daughter you are... whose enemy I am... where either of us come from. Yes... I'll take it."

Emily's entire demeanor changed, new tears swelled in her eyes, but they were ones of happiness. She leaned her forward, taking his hands in hers as she kissed him. Bunny held her close, his hands threading through her silky hair. Small, sweet kisses soon lingered on a bit longer, delving deeper, their love finally taking shape. As they knelt together in the soft grass, only the soothing sound of the waterfall could be heard. As they broke for air, Emily breathed in deep as she rested her forehead against his.

"Bunnymund... I wish to seal our bond... to forge it unbroken for all time." She whispered.

"Uh... okay?" Bunny tilted his head.

Emily gave him a bit of a flat look, though maintained some playfulness in it. "Must I spell out my intentions?" She asked, glancing down for a brief moment before looking into his eyes once more.

Bunny's eyes followed hers, raising his brow. "Oh. OH. I, uh..." He chuckled nervously then. "... you really uh... get straight to the point when you want to, huh?"

"It is only natural... as I am... as we are." She replied quietly, her small, slender fingers tracing along the sides of his face. "Are you willing to go forth with this?"

"Well Em, I am a bunny. It's just... this is all going so fast all of a sudden..." Bunny said.

"The journey to the waterfall can sometimes be a slow one... filled with obstacles and harsh trials. But once the edge is reached, the reward of being set free, to feel that thrill, it is worth the journey. It leaves one eager to begin the next." Emily said.

"Maybe you aren't so pessimistic after all." Bunny smirked.

"You have good influence upon me." Emily replied, smiling gently.

Bunny rested an arm around her shoulders, looking into her amber colored eyes. Many times he had seen such hostility in them, but not now. Now, he saw only gentleness. They were like a pair of suns, warm and inviting. As he tilted her head up for another kiss, he felt her nimble fingers undoing the belt strap around his shoulder, gently removing it and placing his weapons aside. When he opened his eyes again, he blinked a bit, noticing something different.

Emily's attire had a similar feature to Pitch's in that it was difficult to tell where exactly their skin ended and where their clothing began. Emily's dress, that seemed to flow in the wind like small ripples in a lake, also had somewhat of a translucent quality to it. As Bunny looked upon her, he noticed that the flowing material had vanished completely, Emily raising a brow at his expression and chuckling lightly. She was certainly full of surprises, Bunny thought to himself.

He drew her gently onto his lap, their chests becoming flush together as they started out with small, lingering kisses. They soon progressed into deeper, more passionate kisses, their arms wrapping tightly around one another. Emily broke the kiss after a while, exhaling audibly as she trailed kisses around his muzzle. She leaned back a bit then, allowing Bunny to feel her bare chest. He leaned forward, trailing kisses along her jawline and neck, Emily chuckling lightly as his ears tickled her face.

They progressed further, both of them becoming quite enamored as they stared into each other's eyes, entranced. Bunny cleared his throat, gently squeezing Emily's shoulders.

"Last chance to turn back." He smirked lightly.

"And wait another few hundred years for this opportunity to present itself again…? I don't think so." Emily barely managed to hold back a laugh.

A hush fell over them when they realized that what was about to happen next would be irreversible, it would be the most intimate and sacred act that could ever transpire between them. Their breathing became a bit deeper, but still steady, and Bunny reached down to hold one of her hands, reassuring her. The initial motion was slow, careful, Emily taking her time as Bunny helped guide her hips down. Once the resistance was broken, Emily emitted a light gasp, Bunny gently shushing her as he moaned lightly from the sensation. After a few moments of stillness, their movements started off slow, still cautious, getting a feel for what felt right. As time went on, everything began to quicken, they became more and more desperate to satisfy the increasing desire they had for each other. Their lips crashed for about a minute before Emily let her head fall back, crying out Bunny's name into the night as their lust piqued. Luckily for them, they were out of ear shot from the encampment, the two of them taking a moment to catch their breath.

Still holding her tightly to him, Bunny allowed himself to rest back, exhaling deeply as he felt the soft grass and moss cushion him. Emily's hands gently threaded through his chest fur, her head resting upon his shoulder as she was comforted by his rhythmic breathing. There was a tranquil quiet between them for some time, finally broken as Bunny massaged her upper back with his left hand.

"It would be nice if I didn't have to leave." He spoke quietly, gazing up at the stars.

"Then stay." Emily replied. "We can remain in each other's company for as long as we wish."

Bunny sighed then. As much as he would like that at this point, he knew in his heart that he could not. As the wave of euphoria withdrew, it left reality in its wake, slowly settling back in his mind. "I can't, Em. I still have a job to do."

Emily sat up a bit, reclining as she pet his face. "Then I shall remain by your side in battle."

"Huh?" Bunny glanced over at her. "I thought you said you weren't going to fight."

"Bunnymund... you are my mate now, from this night until the end of time. Where you go, I shall follow. Where I remain, so shall you remain." Emily said.

"But... what about your dad? Didn't you make him some kind of promise?" Bunny asked.

Emily sighed, sitting up more as she hugged her knees to her. "I did. I made an oath to neither help nor hinder him. He had made a promise when I was a child that he would return for me; because of unforeseen circumstances, the promise was broken. I suppose the same could be same in this instance."

"Guess your neutrality is over then, huh?" Bunny asked.

"I suppose it is. I sense a great change upon the wind. It is calm now, but something is coming." Emily said. "You could always resolve to remain here... enjoy paradise for eternity."

"No, Em... the others are depending on me. I can't let them down." Bunny replied.

Emily nodded lightly. "Very well. In that case, you must rest and save your strength."

"I want to stay awake for a little longer though." Bunny chuckled.

"Absolutely not. You cannot neglect your rest one day before battle. I shall help you enter sleep." Emily said, resuming her reclining position as she gently pet the top of his head.

"Okay, okay, fine..." Bunny smiled lightly. "I could get used to this..."

As Emily rolled her eyes playfully, she leaned down a bit, her face closer to his left ear as she began to sing quietly, beautifully.

Lay down your head and I'll sing you a lullaby

Back to the years of loo-li lai-lay

And I'll sing you to sleep and I'll sing you tomorrow

Bless you with love for the road that you go

May you sail far to the far fields of fortune

With diamonds and pearls at your head and your feet

And may you need never to banish misfortune

May you find kindness in all that you meet

As Bunny was soothed by the soft ringing of Emily's voice, her majestic elk trotted slowly up to the tranquil side of the lake that the waterfall poured into. He bent down, closing his eyes for a moment as he breathed upon the water. The act caused small ripples to form, travelling gently outward as they grew in size. As they did, small creatures began to splash about the path of the ripples, glowing brightly as their watery wings unfurled. The little water pixies took to flight, their soft, incoherent whispers filling the air as they dispersed. The small creatures perched upon any and all surfaces, bending down to plant a small kiss upon wherever they touched down. With each kiss, they left behind small drops of dew, dotting every leaf, every flower petal, every blade of grass. Bunny watched the small creatures with awe as Emily hummed to him lightly, chuckling a bit as one floated over to Emily. It nuzzled her cheek before leaving a small dew drop on her cheek, floating over to do the same to Bunny. It happily flew along, continuing to disperse dew among the others.

May there always be angels to watch over you

To guide you each step of the way

To guard you and keep you safe from all harm

Loo-li, loo-li, lai-lay

May you bring love and may you bring happiness

Be loved in return to the end of your days

Now fall off to sleep, I'm not meaning to keep you

I'll just sit for a while and sing loo-li, lai-lay

May there always be angels to watch over you

To guide you each step of the way

To guard you and keep you safe from all harm

Loo-li, loo-li, lai-lay, loo-li, loo-li, lai-lay

Bunny felt his eyelids become heavy, yawning as despite how hard he tried, he could not resist the lull of Emily's voice and her gentle petting on his head. He eventually became lost in it, drifting off to a peaceful sleep as Emily watched over him. As she gazed upon him lovingly, she realized in that moment that they had finally been blessed with what had been robbed of them many centuries ago.

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