So I saw Rise of the Guardians...and all I have to say is ignore every bad thing the critics are saying about it. They don't know anything. This movie is amazing. End of story.

So anyway...I have no idea where this story came from. It just...came. I hope people like it!

Disclaimer: Don't own Rise of the Guardians.

Oh, and one final, important note...please read my friend Mia Vaan's story Guardian of Light. She's working really hard on it and has only received one review for it...from me. So please, please go read it and review! It'll make her very happy!

Oh, and don't forget to review this story, either!


Nightmares

When Jamie woke suddenly in the middle of the night, he knew something was wrong.

His clock showed midnight. He sat up in bed and looked out the window; there was snow upon the ground, meaning that Jack had already spread his magic across Burgess. But that wasn't what was bothering him.

The fourteen year old could hear fearful moans coming from his sister's room, which only meant one thing. She was having a nightmare.

And nightmares meant Pitch.

The Boogeyman had gotten better since his attack on the Guardians years before. Jack had assured him of that; Pitch had learnt his lesson and was back to hiding under beds and dealing with nightmares. He claimed that sometimes, kids had to learn that way.

Jamie could sort of see where he was coming from. He himself once had a nightmare about his father forgetting about him and his sister, and after he woke up, he had rung his father in such a panic that it lead to them talking for hours. It had reassured the boy that even though his father wasn't around anymore, that didn't mean he had forgotten about him.

But the very idea of his six year old sister experiencing a nightmare sent anger coursing through his veins.

He leapt out of bed and hurried over to the door; in the hallway he slowed down just enough so his mother couldn't hear, and when he reached Sophie's door, he opened it and strode inside.

Black sand was hovering above her head, showing images of herself being chased by a giant monster. Pitch was by her side, watching with interest. He wasn't smirking or taking glee from the nightmare – he was just watching.

Jamie strode over to the bed and reached out, touching the sand. I'm not afraid. The sand immediately turned golden, and the monster changed into the Easter Bunny. Sophie stopped running, and in her dream, she began to laugh.

Pitch looked up at Jamie...and couldn't help but take a step back from the look on the boy's face. Jamie glared at him.

"My room. Now."

The Boogeyman didn't move, and Jamie ended up grabbing him before dragging him from the room.

They were in the hall and had almost reached Jamie's room when his mother appeared in her doorway, glancing at the boy curiously. The fact that she hadn't gone into shock meant that she couldn't see Pitch, and Jamie was relieved.

"Jamie, what are you doing?" she asked.

"Getting rid of the Boogeyman," said Jamie, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. "He was giving Sophie nightmares."

"Um...OK," said his mother. "Is she all right now?"

"Yes, she's sleeping soundly again."

This satisfied his mother and she turned back into her own room, shutting the door behind her. Jamie sighed in relief before entering his room, shutting the door behind him as well. He let go of Pitch and turned to him, arms folded across his front.

"Why did you give her that nightmare?" he demanded.

Pitch looked the boy up and down, and couldn't help admire his bravery. He didn't know many people other than the Guardians who were willing to stride into a bedroom without fear and drag him away from a nightmare.

"I didn't give her the nightmare," he explained. "I don't do that anymore. A child has a nightmare on their own, and I simply show up to watch."

"You don't stop it?"

"That's not my job. You should know this."

Jamie growled in annoyance, turning away from the Boogeyman and holding a hand up to his face.

"Jamie, are you all right?" his mother called from her own room.

"Yeah, I'm fine," the boy replied, before turning back to Pitch. "I do know. I just...forgot. I was just so angry that it was my sister getting the nightmare. I wanted to protect her."

"I can understand," said Pitch. "She's your sister. And if you want to protect her, I advise talking with her. She's being bullied."

Jamie's eyes widened.

"How do you know that?" he demanded.

"I could tell from the nightmare," Pitch explained, his expression showing just how in his element he was. "Nightmares that include being chased by giant monsters are usually about bullying, especially if the child experiencing it is young and small."

Hearing this, Jamie's anger remained...but it was diverted away from Pitch and towards whoever was bullying his sister.

"Some kid's gonna get a black eye," he said, punching a fist into the palm of his hand – and then he noticed Pitch turning to leave. "Hey, um...thanks."

Pitch turned back to him...and Jamie couldn't help but notice the look of surprise upon the man's face.

"For what?"

"For telling me," said Jamie. "You didn't have to."

"It's my job to make sure the children learn from their nightmares. That sometimes requires help from their family."

"I guess," said Jamie with a shrug. "But what would you normally do? You know, if you couldn't tell anyone else about them."

Pitch thought.

"I observe to see what the problem is, and to make sure it doesn't get bad enough to scar them. The child usually figures out what to do on their own; if not, then I have to influence the nightmare and show them."

"So in a way...you're helping kids," Jamie realized. "Sort of like a Guardian."

Pitch looked almost insulted by this, and Jamie held up his hands in apology.

"Those Guardians don't understand that sometimes children need to learn from fear," said the Boogeyman. "There must be a balance."

"I think they do understand," said Jamie. "They just don't like it when you decide to plunge the world into eternal darkness. And if you knew there must be a balance, why did you do that?"

"Because I wanted to be believed in. How do you think it feels to be alone in the world? Ignored by everyone?"

Even though Jamie hated what Pitch did, he could...sympathize with him. After the events of that Easter, Jamie had spent a lot of time talking to Jack; he felt sorry for his friend and all the years he had to spend alone in the world, with no one other than the other Guardians to talk to. And even then, the other Guardians kept their distances; Jack had only ever seen the Sandman while out flying, North some Christmases, and then Bunny on the Easters he messed up with snow. He never saw Tooth at all back then, even though she was his most frequent companion now.

But Pitch had been worse off, and was even now; he had no one. Jamie could see why the Boogeyman did what he did; it was to get some sort of attention.

"Then maybe you should have talked to them?" Jamie suggested. "Worked something out. You know, instead of trying to ruin their jobs and threatening all the kids."

Pitch then took a step closer, and for a moment, Jamie felt intimidated by his height...but it faded and he stood his ground.

"You children were never in danger," said Pitch, his expression hidden. "I didn't want any of you to get hurt. I just wanted you all to believe in me."

Jamie looked into the man's eyes, and...saw something there. Deep and hidden, but there. It was the same thing he saw in his mother's eyes when she told him off for almost running across the road, and in his father's eyes when he explained how he couldn't take him when he left.

It made him realize that Pitch's job was almost like a parents'; sometimes children had to learn the hard way in order to grow up and survive the world around them. And although parents don't like telling off their children for misbehaving, setting down rules and doing things for their own good, it had to be done. Tough love because they care.

Which meant...

"You actually care about us kids, don't you?"

Pitch's expression was still unreadable, but when he turned away Jamie knew he'd pulled at a string. The man was silent for a long time, staring out Jamie's window, and the boy didn't dare walk round to face him again.

Eventually, he sighed.

"Before I was chosen, I had a daughter," he finally spoke.

Jamie's eyes widened. He didn't expect Pitch – of all people – to have a daughter. But considering his realization, it actually made sense.

"A daughter?"

"She was a little younger than you," Pitch continued. "Was always getting into all sorts of trouble. I gave her rule after rule, and although she didn't like them and would argue with me, I stood my ground. I loved her and cared about her; I didn't want her to get hurt. But sometimes she would break those rules and learn the hard way. Those experiences made her realize the reason why I set those rules. She would apologize, then we'd hug; we were very close."

Jamie listened almost sadly; he wanted to ask what had happened to her...but remembering what Pitch had turned into made him think twice about it. It could have ended badly.

"I'll have a talk with my sister," said Jamie, changing the subject for Pitch's benefit; he could tell the Boogeyman wanted to. "She'll tell me. And I really mean it; thanks for telling me. I care about my sister a lot."

"I know," Pitch said back, finally turning back around again to face the boy. "Not many people other than your Guardians are willing to stride into a room and pull me out like that."

"I was angry," said Jamie with a shrug. "And maybe I'll talk to them, as well. Figure something out with the whole...being alone thing."

Pitch looked surprised again...but it faded, and he turned towards the window with a distant look upon his face.

"Another nightmare. Time to go," he said, before climbing out the window.

"Oh, and just so you know," Jamie called after him, "I may understand what you do, but if you ever go near my sister again, you'll be the one getting nightmares."

Pitch didn't reply as he disappeared into the shadows, but somehow Jamie knew he'd got the message.


The next night Jamie was sat up in bed reading when a figure appeared in the shadows, looking down upon him with an unamused expression.

"What did you do to those boys?"

Jamie raised an eyebrow, trying to hide his smirk. He knew what Pitch was referring to.

"What boys?"

"Those boys who were picking on your sister," the Boogeyman explained. "I'm having to deal with their nightmares about getting chased by a black knight wielding a giant sword."

"And you make sure they learn their lesson from it. No one messes with my sister and gets away with it."

"You've been hanging around with Frost too much."


Don't forget to review...and don't forget to read that other story, either!