Oh god it's been ages since I wrote anything, pardon the crappy writing. And why am I such a jerk to my favorite characters? ;_;

Anyway, enjoy!

Jack smushed himself against the black metal bars, stretching his arm out as far as he could. A mere inch separated him from his staff, and no matter how hard he pushed himself, it was just out of his reach. He pressed on for another moment, and then let his arm drop. Jack released the small breath he was holding, and slid his arm back into the cage. It was unbearably hot in his tiny prison, and even with his little sleeves rolled up, he was still dripping with sweat. Wiping off his forehead, he took a seat and considered his options. Which were, at this point, very limited.

Pitch watched from the shadows, mildly amused by the boy's struggles. He was always searching for his adversaries' weak point, and he knew he'd found it when he learned of Jack. Young, inexperienced, and oh-so-very-alone in the world; the child would be easy to break. And when he did, any secrets the guardians had filled him with would be his. Afterwards, bending him to his side would be easy. Having a double agent would be a great advantage…

Capturing Jack in battle had been simple enough. It was the first time Pitch had seen him fighting alongside the four guardians, and it was obvious he didn't fully understand what he was up against. It was child's play to separate Jack from the others and overwhelm him. He could smell the fear on the boy as he blotted out the nighttime sky; creating a wall of darkness between him and his new friends. A quick blow to the head was all it took, and Jack was out cold.

Figuring out Jack's specific breaking point wasn't difficult, either. Behind the magical staff and rebel attitude, he was nothing more than a kid. First, Pitch removed his one source of power, the one thing that gave him a sense of control: his staff. Better yet, he decided to dangle it in front of him; adding to his frustration of being locked in a cage. Next, he worked on wearing him out. Things were always so much easier when captives had no energy to fight back. And seeing as he functioned exclusively in cooler climates, turning up the heat was a logical conclusion. Finally, Pitch would plant the seeds of doubt. He'd only just started working with his new teammates after all, who's to say they wouldn't leave him behind?

It was quite fun really, picking him apart piece by piece. The first hour after Jack awoke had been the most entertaining, what with him shouting every threat and insult his immature mind could think of. But it wasn't long before he quieted down. Pitch imagined he must be quite parched after all that screaming; another tool he could use to chisel away at Jack's resistance.

His shoulder ached from the repeated stretching and straining, but Jack refused to show any weakness. He had been at it for hours; testing the metal bars for any flaws, stretching for his staff, trying in vain to pick the lock. He knew Pitch was watching; he could feel the man's eyes burning into him. He considered for a moment lying on the floor to rest, but quickly dismissed the thought. He didn't want to leave himself open to any attack, or miss any opportunity to escape. The metal was warm to the touch anyway, and would only serve to make him hotter than he already was.

As much as Jack tried to remain calm, panic was starting to eat away at the little concentration he had left. He was out of options, and running out of time. Jack had never had to endure such surroundings before; if it ever got too warm wherever he was, he simply migrated to a cooler area. The heat here was absolutely suffocating. He'd been able to withstand it for the first hour or so, but he was quickly running out of stamina. The thirst wasn't helping things, either. He was certainly paying for his earlier brashness; his mouth felt like it was full of cotton. And the solution to his entire problem was only an inch out of his grasp.

Jack took a brief moment to clear his head. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back. A few seconds later, the tension left his arms and shoulders. Slowly, his brow started to unfurrow as he began to calm down. Pitch smirked to himself as he watched Jack's guard slowly fall away. What a perfect opportunity to say hello.

Sneaking around the back of the prison, Pitch fit one hand through the bars and grabbed Jack's shoulder.

"Good morning, boy."

Jack eyes snapped open as he jerked himself free from Pitch's grasp. He landed on his side in the middle of the cage, wheezing as he tried to get his heart rate back down.

"I do hope you're enjoying your stay," Pitched smirked, "As you'll be here for quite a while."

Jack narrowed his eyes, carefully watching every move the man made. He shifted onto his knees, and balled his fists in anticipation of a fight.

Sarcasm dripped from Pitch's voice. "My sincerest apologies for not checking on you sooner. I was expecting some sort of retaliation from your… ah, 'friends'," Pitch rolled his eyes. "But as it seems… everything is rather quiet."

Jack did his best to hide his surprise, but Pitch caught the subtle change in Jack's demeanor. Of course, since the moment he arrived with the boy, he had sent out large groups of fearlings to keep the four legends preoccupied. The rest of his army had been keeping watch and preparing for battle. So far, he had caught several of Tooth's little fairies trying to sneak their way in. But whatever their plan, Pitch was more than ready.

"Having known them for so long, it's really not that much of a surprise. They know a lost cause when they see it."

Looking towards the ground, Jack licked his lips and tried to speak, getting nothing but a rasp on his first try.

"What was that? You'll have to speak up." Pitch smiled, halting his leisurely pace around the cage.

"You-you're… a bad… liar, Pitch."

Pitch's smirk fell off his face. He could sense the fear coming off of the kid. He saw all the right signs. He knew that Jack was falling right into his hands, yet still the boy persisted? Surely this was just a continuation of his rebellious nature.

Pitch scoffed back. "You really think they'll come to rescue you? Don't be so naïve! When will you get it through your thick head: they only wanted to use you. Isn't that obvious by now? They've known of your existence for years and years! And suddenly, out of the blue, they just decide to want your help? Even you have to admit there's something odd about that."

Pitch strode over to the staff suspended from the ceiling and ripped it down. Jack's eyes widened.

"They only sought you out because they thought you'd be useful, Jack! A tool, nothing more. And without this stick, you are worthless to them."

Grasping the staff in both hands, Pitch began to bend it. Jack surged to his feet and rushed to the bars, reaching his hand through and desperately grasping at his stick. Once again, it was but an inch too far away.

"N-No! Don't! Please don—"


Jack froze. Pitch held the two pieces in his hands for a moment, admiring his handiwork. Then, without a second thought, he tossed them to the other side of the room. Pitch knew such damage could be repaired with magic, but judging by Jack's expression, he did not. Which was exactly what he was hoping for.

Jack's face was frozen in disbelief. His arm fell limply back to his side as his lungs struggled to work properly. He blinked a few times, and suddenly realized how very dizzy he was. The room was spinning. He slid to the ground, metal bars supporting him. He didn't even register Pitch's hands on his shoulders once again.

"They're not going to rescue you, Jack. They know that if I can't have something, no one can. You are no different in this matter." Pitch released his hold and rose up to his full height.

After a moment, Pitch heard a small whisper. "…they'll come."

He paused, and looked back at the boy. All that, and he was still clinging to hope?

Pitch let out a small chuckle. "Alright then! How about this: I'll let you go see for yourself." Pitch unlocked the door and swung it wide open, standing clear. "Please, go take a look around! You won't find a trace of them. In fact, go all the way to the North Pole. I can assure you, you'll find them all sitting around the fire with hot cocoa."

Jack looked at Pitch, then at the open door. He thought for a moment, and shifted his legs. They felt like jello, and his hands were shaking as much. He could hardly stand, let alone walk out of there. Pitch was all too aware of this. Jack thought for a moment, and then lowered his head.

"No? Wonderful. You'll take my word, then." Pitch slammed the door shut, locking it once more.

"We'll talk more later. I'd advise you to get some rest, but seeing as you're in my domain, the dreams might not suit you." Pitch turned curtly and walked out the door, hands behind his back and grin on his face. It wouldn't be long now.

With trembling hands, Jack reached up and threw his hood over his head. He drew his knees up to his chest and hugged them tightly, shutting out the rest of the world.

Jack whispered quietly to himself once more. "…they'll come…"