Casted out, forgotten, as always…

The only thing that keeps Pitch company now is the darkness, the cold, and fear. His fear, the children's fear, all the fear in this wretched world-and they had just left him there! The horrid guardians! Left him here to rot with his fear. It consumes him, creeping into his mind like a disease. A disease that has clouded Pitch from reality, feeling pleasure, knowing anything now but this darkness.

For a year, Pitch had found a hiding spot in his lair. It wasn't much, just a small opening in the rocky wall. Just enough to tuck his slim body into the back of the cave to get away from the minions that once served him. The black, misting horses had tried frantically for months to kick and bite at the opening. They did just about anything to break the wall down and retrieve Pitch. Then one day they just stopped. Pitch wasn't sure if they finally gave up or he was no longer worth their time. He wasn't worth anyone's time anymore.

"No!" Pitch screams to himself. He points to no one in particular. "I am the boogeyman! This world needs me. The children need fear-they fear me! They still fear me…" Pitch mumbles and becomes still. His shimmering eyes flicker to the opening of the cave when he thought he saw movement. No, only the shadows. Nothing more. Pitch peeks more and leans forward.

He has debated many times trying to escape. Yet each time, the fear had found him. He had thought himself to be doomed when it bit and cut his flesh before he found this hiding place. Pitch has had plenty of time to heal, but that experience isn't something he was about to welcome anytime soon. Today is different though. Pitch can feel it in his bones.

Hesitantly he slips his pale hand toward the mouth of the cave. Nothing reaches back for it. He pulls his arm back and tucks his arm in his lap. He stares into the darkness of his lair as if he doesn't recognize it. It takes another hour before Pitch finds the courage to stick his head out and look around. Nothing welcomes him.

His tall figure slips out from the hiding spot and he stands upright. He winces and touches his lower back from being cramped up so long. His gaze finds the cages above and he ducks. Their swaying startles him and he had forgotten they were there. "They're mine," Pitch comforts himself. "They're for my prisoners…yes. Oh."

The boogeyman spots a single beam of light shining down from the opening above the lair. Pitch moves up to it and tilts himself to spot the moon up in the sky. "Oh…it's just you. What? Mocking me as always? I have every right to be up there! I'm going back! Tonight!" He shouts at the moon in his British accent, throwing his arm upward. His skin touches the moon light and it stings. Pitch is surprised by this and holds his hand to his chest. It has been so long since he has seen or been in the light it is painful, both to the touch and to his vision.

Pitch dismisses this and moves around his home, searching for any sign of life. When it becomes clear that it's only him, Pitch calms down a little. A few times he catches himself off guard by the movement of his own shadow and makes himself jump. He couldn't help it. He has only known to be afraid all this time. He couldn't even escape it in his sleep. He never dreams. It's only nightmares. He once found pleasure in the nightmares, but not when they're directed at him.

Pitch hasn't even been able to do his job. There is balance in this world, and to all the good that the guardian's might bring, the boogeyman is the necessary bad. There has been a huge imbalance now, and he has no believers. From that he has become weak and scared. Does he even know how to frighten anyone? What if he fails again?

Pitch scoffs at himself. "What am I doing? I am doubting my own abilities?" The voices start up again. At first it's too soft to hear, just enough that Pitch acknowledges it. Then the voices get louder, reaching his ears. Reassuring him that he is forgotten, unneeded, and unwanted. Pitch covers his ears and twists his face in pain. "Enough!" The voices are in his head now and no amount of covering his ears will stop him from hearing the nagging dread. "No more! No more I say! Get out! Get out!" The boogeyman screams at the top of his lungs until they finally silent themselves. He opens his eyes, his heart pounding. They're gone.

He hates the voices. He hates the creeping doubt. This hate fuels him suddenly and warms his gray flesh. This time when Pitch yells, it's rage. Sinking into the shadows, he travels upward toward the ceiling of the cave. He emerges upside down, near the opening of the earth where the broken bed used to be. Without any more thought, Pitch swings himself up and around through the hole and into the moon light. He continues until his boots are on the snow and he is finally out of his lair. Pitch throws his head back to hiss and growl at the moon like a wild animal.

Getting his footing after being exposed to the wilderness, the light, and the sharp glow of the winter scenery, Pitch stumbles through the woods. He continues to stay on task and not let himself fall back into what he was. This is a new beginning for him. He must start over and remind the mortals who he is and what he can do.

Pitch walks until he reaches the edge of a cliff with the city lights beneath him. He takes a deep breath, lifting his chest to fill his lungs with the cool air. He closes his eyes and tries to feel fear…but there is none. What is this? None at all? No this can't be-ah! Pitch feels it coming from house nearby. It draws him in, intoxicating really, the way it lures the creature over. He moves with grace from one shadow to the next until he is in the room belonging to a little boy. Pitch hovers over him with glee, breathing hard and looking on with excitement. The boy looks so scared! But what's this? The boy isn't asleep? What is it…?

The boogeyman slinks under the child's bed as the door swings open. Not that he can be seen by anyone, but he finds comfort under the bed, in the closet, or behind the door. An adult comes bursting in, yelling at the boy and shaking an angry fist toward him. Pitch coos from the scene. The anger from the man is fascinating and he can hear the heart from the little boy pounding wildly.

Yet, the father, presumably, doesn't stop there. He swings his fist toward the child and knocks the lamp down when his arm goes flying back. The lamp falls to the floor and turns on. The bright light makes the boogeyman howl so loud that it shatters the bulb. As much as Pitch was enjoying the fear and rage, the man beating the boy isn't fun for the boogeyman. It brings him back flashbacks of his minions turning on him and biting him into a corner. The voices begin to whisper at him. How did they find him here? What is that sound? Who-the boy?

Pitch can suddenly hear the little boy begging for help, louder than the voices swarming his head. Years of built up pain and torment focus upon the tormenter all at once. Pitch rises up so fast, that he knocks the bed over, flipping it on to its side with a loud crash. The boogeyman jumps for the father and grabs him by the neck.

The father clenches his throat, feeling as though a steel death grip is upon him. The man's eyes become wide as the shadows casted on the wall begin to move and mock him. All at once he remembers his childhood and his fear of the dark. Then there before him, he can see what has him by such a strangle hold. The boogeyman himself. The man opens his mouth to scream, and Pitch opens his mouth wide in return. A black stream of misting sand escapes Pitch's mouth and forces itself down into the father's. A collection of hundreds of nightmares aggressively enter the man and choke him violently. When the man can't handle the torment anymore, his eyes roll back and he slumps in Pitch's arms.

Pitch drops the man disgustedly. He stands over the collapsed body a while until he feels small arms wrap around his legs. Surprised, Pitch swings around to see what has a hold of him. He is not only shocked to have the boy able to see him, but hugging him as hard as his little arms can manage.

"Thank you Mr. Boogeyman," the little boy whispers affectionately.

Pitch doesn't know exactly what to do. He hasn't actually come in much physical contact with these little mortal monsters, let alone one being so…loving toward him. Pitch Black tries to shake the child off him, but the boy doesn't let go. He goes to grab him but finds himself appalled in actually touching the boy.

"Remove yourself from me!" Pitch bellows out deeply. It's enough to startle the child into dropping his arms and stepping back. "What are you doing? Do you not know who I am child? You even said it yourself! I'm the Boogeyman-do you believe I was actually here to help you?"

The boy nods with his swollen lip. He tries to smile the best he could manage. Somewhere deep down, so very deep down in Pitch's core, he has…what's this-pity? Pity for this boy? Can it be? Pitch snorts at this and raises his chin up. "Believe whatever you wish. I'm done here." The boogeymen moves to leave.

"Mr. Boogeyman, did you kill my dad?" The boy looks on with hope.

Pitch stops at the door, but doesn't look back. "No…but he will wish I did." With that Pitch is gone.

He reappears in a dark alleyway in the middle of the city. He doesn't look happy, not one bit. He is moving in the darkness with his body tense and carrying a frown on his thin face. He wasn't expecting his first scare to go so badly. His mind plays out the scenario a few times and it distracts him from noticing that he is being followed.

Above him, an agile figure jumps from one roof top to the next. When Pitch finally notices, he spins around to look, but the figure is gone. Pitch narrows his eyes and watches closely. Then he feels someone behind him, accompanied by the light pat of bare feet touching the cobblestone. Pitch swings around and is greeted with a face he hasn't seen a long time. He had hoped that with his time away, the guardians had all died in a terrible accident involving the sleigh, but it doesn't look like he is that lucky.

"Oh Jack. You're alive. That is…truly disappointing." Pitch frowns.

"Heh, I should have figured you would say something like that. Then again, I was hoping for a hello instead…" Jack grins, leaning on his staff.

"Then it seems we continue to disappoint one another. So why don't you save us both the trouble of this conversation getting anymore bothersome and just leave me be."

"You know I can't do that Pitch. I think this is a conversation worth your time."

"I doubt anything you say is worth anyone's time."

"Aren't you wondering where the horses went?"

Pitch stops and stares at Jack sharply. He holds his stare unblinking as he studies Jack's face. Jack gazes back with much more welcoming, warm eyes. There is some truth to the look though and Pitch decides to hear him out. He leans to one foot and throws up his hand in a gesture. "So, you got rid of them. So what?"

"Yes. Well, the other's and I-"

"Why would you care enough to do that?"

"Hey?...You're welcome."

Pitch snarls, "You dare believe I would thank you? Where were you months ago? Do you know how long I've been trapped-"

"About a year," Jack interrupts. "I think you needed a timeout."

Pitch stiffens and tightens his lips. He throws his arms to one side as his scythe appears. Pitch doesn't give Jack much time to do anything as he swings his weapon at the boy angrily. Jack jumps out of the way and lands on top of a dumpster. Pitch moves to swing again, but Jack stops him.

"Woah! Hey! Calm down!" Jack puts up his hands to show he means no harm. It doesn't stop Pitch from swinging again for him. Jack flips off the dumpster and lands behind Pitch. "You weren't ready before! You are now! The man in the moon-" Jack flinches at Pitch's scream at mention anything to do with Mim. Pitch storms Jack and this time manages to cut open the blue sweater sleeve with his scythe. Jack believes he dodged unharmed, until he realizes blood is dripping down his pale skin. He holds the cut, glaring at Pitch. "At least, I was told you were ready…"

"For what?!" Pitch spits, clenching his uneven, sharp teeth.

"To be a guardian…to join us."

This is enough to make Pitch stop with the scythe above his head, blinking. "What did you say?"

Jack holds his arm, breathing hard. "The moon, it chooses you."

Pitch shakes his head, "You lie! This is one of your tricks Jack!"

"I don't lie. I promise it's the truth."

Pitch lowers his weapon and looks up to the moon. He stares at it for a while, lowering his hairless brow. "What…? This…this is your answer to me?" Jack takes a step closer, but Pitch throws his hand up to stop him. "Don't get near me Jack. I swear…" Pitch looks back to him, "This is a cruel joke, that's all it is! After all these years, the man in the moon wants me to hang around you freaks? And to what? Protect the children? I will collect them all for my next meal before I do such a thing!"

Jack stands up straighter, "But you did! You already did! I didn't believe you had it in you, but I just seen it, just now at that house. You saved that boy."

"It was a mistake."

"The child believed in you Pitch. He believed you saved him and he held you!" Jack smiles with joy.

Pitch doesn't show the same happiness that Jack shares. Instead he has an expressionless look on his features. He goes to say something, but instead just rolls his eyes and walks away. "Seriously Jack…"

Jack doesn't say anything more. He just watches Pitch walk away and disappear into the shadows. "I told you guys this would never work…"

"Give it time Jack, he'll come around." A gentle voice says behind him and Tooth smiles as she comes out from her hiding spot. She puts a slender hand on his shoulder. "It will take time. Now come on, we need to fix up your arm sweetie."