A/N: I probably should have mentioned this before. But there was no blizzard of note on any Easter Sunday on any '86 year through Jack's life. However, there was a rather large blizzard and subsequent harsh winter that crippled the entire American prairie in 1868-87.

I'm going to use this as the supposed 'Blizzard of '68.' My headcanon is that as immortals, actual dates don't necessarily matter. And when they do, the numbers can sometimes be mixed up. It happens to me often enough, so...*shrugs* Why not?

EDIT 2/24 11:30pm: Also, user ICCQ, please enable your PM function so I can reply to your reviews. I want to thank you for pointing out my timeline mixup. I was planning on using the other winter from 1786-87 in another fic but put it in here instead. Don't bounce between writing two stories at the same time. It's stupid and you can get easily confused. Thank you for pointing out my error so I could fix it. ^^;


Early Frost

It had been years since that fateful day. And though there were time Pitch missed his peace and quiet, he never regretted inviting the young winter spirit to join him. Loneliness of the kind he and Jack shared was not something he would ever wish on his worst enemies.

Although he was considering accompanying Jack on his latest excursion. Apparently, the boy had been trying to break into North's toy factory and had so far been unsuccessful. And while a part of him was amused at the boy's tenacity and refusal to give up, he also understood the pain of repeated rejection. So when a dejected Frost had asked him for a ideas about what to do with winter, how could he refuse?

And thus, why he was outside standing on the frozen solid prairie admiring the frantic scene as farmers rushed into to their homes to escape the oncoming blizzard. Their fear and frustration was a breath of fresh air. While they may not have been able to see him, he could definitely feed on their fear and doubts. Oh he would so enjoy trying his hand on manipulating his freshly pilfered dreamsand, perhaps he'd succeed in creating nightmares.

Speaking of nightmares, Jack Frost appeared out of seemingly nowhere and hovered in front of his face. His brilliant smile gleamed too bright for Pitch who merely raised an eyebrow and smirked.

"Enjoying yourself?"

Jack tumbled back through the air with laughter. "Indeed! You should see their faces. They thought the winter would come slower than it did. Who do they think I am? A ghost? I sure showed them."

Pitch grinned indulgently. "So I see. The fear you've inspired is quite fresh as well. And for that, I suppose I should thank you."

Jack smiled and landed lightly on the ice, twirling his staff happily. "Are you going to try using the black sand tonight?"

"Mm. Hopefully it will turn out well, but I admit I am no dreamweaver. But if all goes as planned, then I may not need to create anything. The sand should create the dreams all on its own. All I'll have to do is focus the dreams on fears instead of hope and joy." He noticed the youth shuffle his feet nervously. "Something wrong?"

Jack glanced up. "It won't hurt them. The nightmares, I mean. It won't hurt them, will it?"

Ah Jack, ever the sensitive one. "No Jack. It won't hurt. They may not even remember if they dreamed or not. Dreams actually only last maybe a couple seconds at most."

"Really?" Jack asked, surprised and interested. "But it feels like forever."

Pitch chuckled. "Yes, that is because dream logic is different from real logic. Time is relative. Dreams don't happen sequentially. They often will skip around without the dreamer actually realizing it. They simply accept the time skips as normal."

"So if I wanted to be in, say, Antarctica right now, I would just suddenly be there?" the frost spirit asked excitedly as he leapt up to perch birdlike on the crook of his staff.

"Indeed," Pitch confirmed with a nod. "You would never think to question it because such things are normal there."

Jack tilted his head in thought. "That actually sounds interesting. Can I watch tonight?"

Pitch shrugged. "I suppose. As long as you're quiet and don't distract me."

"Deal!"

And so night fell and Jack Frost found himself standing in the bedroom of a young boy who's window was freshly frosted over and the candle was burning low. A soft, golden glow emanated from the Sandman's dreamsand hovering above the child's head.

Jack stood back by the window and watched silently as Pitch Black strode forward and studied the golden sand. Slowly, he reached his grey toned hand and touched the sand. For a moment, his brow creased in concentration as he slowly, steadily bent the sand to his will. Strands gold darkened until the entire golden rivulets were an iridescent black.

The black swirled around the Boogeyman's fingers as if identifying them as its creator before settling into a tiny, slender horse. Pitch smiled gently as if the creature was his child, which in a sense, it was. It snorted as gentle hands slipped through the strands of it mane.

Jack didn't even notice he'd moved forward until the Nightmare looked directly at him. It stepped forward and stretched out its neck to snuffle curiously at Jack's outstretched palm.

"Easy," Pitch warned.

The nightmare snorted again, then pressed against Jack's palm, nuzzling against his cool skin. Jack smiled in surprised joy which quickly became fear as the sand suddenly burst apart and swirled about. Jack jumped back and hid behind Pitch who calmly watched the swirling sand with a raised eyebrow.

When the sand reformed, it no longer resembled a horse by any means. It now had shaggy, black sand fur and a wagging tail. A wolf.

Pitch blinked and turned to glance at his young companion. "Curious. It would seem this Nightmare has imprinted on you. Treat it well, and it will be the most loyal creature in existence."

Cautiously, Jack peered out from behind the Nightmare King's dark robes to stare at the wolf Nightmare that was now sitting obediently with its head cocked to the side as if waiting for a command...or for attention. If it was a wolf, then it was a dog, and dogs liked being petted. ...right?

Hesitantly, he reached out to the Nightmare that seemed the scoot towards him, a tiny, black tongue slipping out as if waiting to give kisses. Then his fingers touched the soft sand and the Nightmare pushed back into his palms, tail wagging, and tongue licking.

It was so surprisingly warm and welcoming, Jack couldn't help but smile and scratch the Nightmare behind the ears. He giggled as the Nightmare rolled over on its back so Jack could scratch its belly.

Pitch simply watched in fascination. He wasn't expecting the Nightmare to imprint on the winter spirit, let alone change its form from the usual horse to something else. He had never seen a Nightmare ever change its form unless he specifically asked it to. Perhaps he could work with this.

But with the Nightmare he was going to use now under Jack Frost's control, he would have to delay his plans somewhat. A minor setback considering this Frost-brought winter should last well into the next year, he would have plenty of time to relax, create more Nightmares, and let the people's fears grow.

A long, winter as deep and cold as this one promised to be should definitely birth some basic fears. After all, this nation was young, and still fresh from its Civil War. Naturally, soldiers would still dream of guns, death, and pain. Families would dream of finding food, warmth, and money to pay for their survival. Children would dream of lost parents and grandparents from the war as well as anything else they feared at the moment. Children were always much more receptive to nightmares, their little minds always finding something to fear.

He could afford to wait, especially if Jack Frost kept acting as adorably cute as he currently was, then it was worth it.

But that Nightmare...

Jack was no dreamweaver. Not by any stretch of the imagination. So why then did a Nightmare created by twisted, darkened dreamsand choose him as its master? It made no sense.

Not yet.

Well, now Pitch had a new puzzle to work with while biding his time. At least it would help relieve his boredom somewhat. He always did enjoy puzzles. But then, with a wild Nightmare on the loose, it would become a bit more difficult to keep his growing power from the Guardians' eyes. So two things to keep him busy.

Let the winter of 1886 begin.


A/N: Well, I hope that was satisfactory. We should be meeting out very first Guardian next chapter if everything works out right. I post as I write, so when a new chapter comes out for any/all of my fics, it means I literally just wrote it just moments ago. So...yeah... Also, I have not Beta, so I edit everything. Which explains most of my mistakes: grammar, spelling, etc.