When Sam's wings could carry him no further, he landed on the snowy ground of the Alps. He reckoned that he was somewhere in Switzerland, but to honest he could have just as easily have been in Italy or Monaco. Samhain didn't care. He was far away from Jack and that was all that mattered. The Halloween King sat down in the snow and wrapped his wings around him, turning them back into his cloak. Stupid Jack. He sniffed. Who needs him?
The Halloween spirit was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't hear the approaching footsteps crunching through the snow.
"What have we here?" a deep, gravelly voice asked. Sam looked up to see a large black-furred demon staring down at him with blood-red eyes filled with cold disdain.
Sam scrambled to his feet. He took off his hat. "I—hello," he stammered. "Lovely day isn't it?"
The demon looked around. "I suppose." He grumbled. "I don't take well to trespassers encroaching on my territory."
"The Alps, boy." The demon bared sharp over-lapping teeth in a sneer. "The entire mountain range is mine. So why are you here?"
The Halloween King bowed his head. "I meant no respect." He said respectfully. "I was just travelling and I needed a rest. I had no idea that you dwelled here. Mister…"
"I am the Krampus."
Samhain suppressed the urge to step back. He'd heard of the Krampus. A nasty demon that once punished naughty children and dragged them straight to Hell until North gave him the pink slip. "It's an honor to meet you…sir." Sam bowed again for good measure.
The Krampus's lip curled with a sneer. "Spare me." He growled. The hellbeast turned his back and started walking away. He stopped and looked back at the spirit. "Well?" he growled. "Are you coming or not?"
Samhain ran to follow the Krampus. "I'm sorry." He said hastily. "I wasn't aware that you had offered me an invitation."
"I don't usually." The demon conceded. "But I'm bored and I'm sure your tale of misery will provide me with some amusement."
Sam swallowed. He glanced behind him and wondered if it was still too late to make an escape.
"Stay close." The Krampus ordered. "I have my cave tunnels enchanted to be an endless maze. If you get lost then that's the end of you." He chuckled like that was the funniest thing in the world.
"Whatever you say." Sam shivered.
"…so Jack acts like nothing happened!" Samhain finished. He pulled his hat down tightly.
The Krampus fought the urge to roll his eyes. Even though the Halloween Spirit had told him what had upset him enough to risk a demon's wrath, the Krampus knew a heavily edited story when he heard one. I will never get this time back. The demon frowned. "So what are you going to do about it?"
Sam blinked at him and the Krampus itched to smack that dull look off his face. "Do?"
The demon smiled and the sight of it made the Halloween King shudder. "Well it's obvious that Jack O'Lantern doesn't appreciate you. Maybe you should find someone who does. I mean you helped him create the best Halloween ever and how does he repay you? By ignoring you! Didn't even thank you!"
A blush crept over Samhain's face as he remembered just how Jack had "thanked him" that night. He hadn't told the Krampus about that, of course. "You're right! He's supposed to be my…friend."
The Krampus put on what he hoped was a sympathetic face. "Maybe you should look for new…friends." The demon made sure to put an emphasis on the word to let the spirit know that he knew exactly what this was about.
Sam was thinking so intently that it went over his head. "You're right!" the Halloween King jumped up. "I can totally do this!"
The hellbeast leaned back into his seat. "You should get someone he despises. That way it'll work even faster. Nothing heals a friendship like jealousy."
"You're a genius!" Sam gushed.
The demon simply smiled.
"Right! I gotta get out of here! I know just the person." Sam started for the door and then stopped.
Krampus rapped his knuckles against the wall beside him. It slid away and revealed an opening. "This will take you back outside." He told the spirit. "Farewell, Samhain."
Sam bowed quickly and ran out. The demon sighed. Stupid spirits and their infantile endeavors and concerns, he mused as he stood. All that power and they worry about things as useless as love! Krampus snorted. It was a little fun to send the annoying little flea in the wrong direction. Whatever had really happened between Samhain and Jack O'Lantern, his advice was sure to make it worse.
And that was enough to alleviate some of the Krampus's boredom.
At least for now…
Pitch Black watched a young couple from the shadows. They were too old to see him and even if they weren't, they seemed too engrossed in their liplock to notice anything at all. Still, the Boogeyman approached their bench and leaned down until he was near their ears. "The park is dangerous at night," Pitch whispered, his influence washed over them in a cold wave. "A rapist could come at any time and have his way with you." The Nightmare King smirked. "And then have his way with you, pretty boy."
The couple bolted up and gathered up their jackets. "Let me get you home." The man stammered.
"Y-yeah sure." The woman tucked an auburn lock behind her ear. Pitch was delighted to see them looking at every shadow and jumping at every rustled leaf.
"Not bad for a night's work." He smiled. Still, it would have been better if they were younger and able to see me. Pitch's face fell. Not like the young ones can even see me, but one day. One day, they will believe in the Boogeyman again.
"Hey-oh!" a figure dropped out of the trees and landed beside him.
Pitch jumped back, startled. His eyes narrowed. "Oh," he sniffed. It's you."
Samhain doffed his hat. "Beautiful night," he commented. "Fancy a walk?"
Pitch rolled his eyes. "Shouldn't you be with your comrade Jack O'Lantern?"
Sam draped an arm around Pitch's thin shoulders. "Jack's not the boss of me. Besides, I prefer your company much more than I do his."
Pitch wasn't sure what to make of this so he silently walked alongside the Halloween spirit. He had to admit that it was sort of nice having a companion after so many centuries upon centuries of loneliness.
"So, I saw what you did with those two lovebirds." Samhain said. "Great job."
The Boogeyman's face lit up at the praise. "You think so?"
The Halloween King nodded. "Sure do." He gave Pitch a rakish smile. "And I appreciate what you did for us on Halloween."
Pitch stared at him. With a sigh, he pulled away from Sam. "Enough," he muttered. His golden eyes narrowed at the other spirit. "I've had enough. You can come out now!" Pitch yelled at the bushes and trees. "Very funny! Ha ha!"
Sam looked about him, confused. "Is something wrong?"
"You can't honestly expect me to believe you're actually happy about my presence on your holiday." Pitch snarled. He looked back at the bushes. "Are there some other spirits out there, listening to us, and laughing at my stupidity?"
"Pitch, no one's out there."
"Don't lie to me!"
"I'm not!" Samhain insisted. He took Pitch by the hand. "Look, I get it. You obviously have trust issues so I'm going to give you some space." Sam lifted Pitch's hand and brushed his lips across the Boogeyman's knuckles. "But I'll be back here tomorrow night and I would really like it if you were here as well." With another smile, the Halloween King stepped back and turned to exit the park. "I hope to see you again, Pitch Black." Samhain called over his shoulder.
Pitch was left alone in the park. His eyes dropped to the hand that the Halloween spirit had held and kissed. What does this mean? An unknown feeling welled up in his chest as he stared. Did Samhain, the Halloween King actually have a genuine interest in him? Did he dare to hope? Pitch walked backward into the shadows. With a smile on his lips, the Boogeyman let the darkness surround him and take him home. I'm not going to be alone anymore…
"Where have you been?" was Jack O'Lantern's greeting as soon Samhain walked into the factory.
The Halloween King shrugged. "Out." He said. Sam flopped down on the couch and put his feet up on the coffee table. "You did tell me to go take a walk."
Jack frowned. "You've been gone for almost the entire day!"
"You act like I missed something important!"
The Pumpkin King looked like he was wanted to say something else, but he let it drop. "Whatever," he muttered. "Look, I'm going to bed. You can do whatever…"
Sam glared at Jack's back. He sunk down further into his seat and crossed his arms over his chest. I've been gone the whole day and he just lets it drop? It's like he doesn't even care!
Sam turned over on his side. Maybe I should hold off on telling him about Pitch. I can make him care about me. I know I can! With a smile, he hopped off the couch and headed to his room.
Upstairs, the Halloween King set to work. Conjuring up a mound of clay, he stared at it wondering what he should do. And then it came to him. Sam got to work, shaping and molding a lump into the shape of a mini pumpkin. He blew some of his magic into the toy. As a finishing touch, he gave it a jack o'lantern grin. Samhain stared lovingly at his creation. "Perfect." He murmured. He brushed his thumb over it. Trick or Treat blinked over it in red lights and the little toy giggled madly.
Sam grinned and threw into a corner. Trick settled on the pumpkin and it exploded, spraying a mountain of Silly String all over the wall. "I'm a genius!" Sam crowed.
Samhain grinned as he headed for the kitchen where Jack was already having his breakfast. He had been awake until the wee hours of dawn (at one point he had to shoo off the Sandman who had come to investigate) as he finished his creations. He couldn't wait to show Jack.
The pumpkin-headed spirit was at the bar, munching on toast and reading Christine by Stephen King.
"Jack!" Sam ran up to him. "I need to show you something. He held out two of his pumpkin bombs. "I made this." He grinned proudly. "I've made even more." Samhain ran a hand through his hair as he babbled excitedly. "I stayed up all night too. Do you like it? Wait, before you answer watch this!" Sam touched one of the pumpkins and showed Jack O'Lantern what it could do. When it exploded it erupted with thousands of little black spider that then exploded into tiny sparkles.
Samhain beamed and waited for Jack's response.
Jack O'Lantern sighed tiredly and put down his book. "Sam," he said in a voice filled with a weary tone. "Is that what you were doing last night? Wasting energy on that silly toy?"
Sam's face fell and he clutched the remaining pumpkin bomb protectively against his chest. "It's not silly." He returned quietly. Sam thought Jack would like them. He thought the Pumpkin King would understand why Samhain thought they were so special. The pumpkin bombs were equal parts of the Halloween spirits: Jack's likeness and Sam's mischief and magic.
The Pumpkin King rolled his eyes. "I can't believe you wasted time on something so, so…childish! You know we have to make treats and you're missing valuable rest making those stupid trinkets—"
The Halloween King winced as Jack O'Lantern continued his tirade. Each word was akin to a knife in his heart.
I can't breathe. Sam closed his eyes. I can't breathe.
"If you really want to keep those things then be my guest." Jack turned back to his book. He fingered the spine. "But they better not affect your work. We've got a lot candy to make. I can't stand the idea of Bunnymund's chocolates being better than mine."
Sam dipped his head, using his hair as a shield. He could feel his face peeling, but he didn't want Jack to know. "Okay." he said. "Okay." the Halloween Spirit stared at his feet. "I'm going out tonight."
"Again?" Jack said incredously. "What for?"
Samhain licked his lips. "I'm…going to go see Pitch."
That got a reaction from the pumpkin-headed spirit. "Pitch? As in Pitch Black?" Jack demanded.
"You know another Pitch?"
"Dracula's ghost," Jack rubbed his temple. "Why on Earth would you be going to see him?"
Suddenly emboldened, Sam stood straight. "We're dating." He announced with a smirk. "I'm taking him as my lover."
Jack O'Lantern stared at him. After two minutes he sighed again and turned back to his breakfast and novel. "Oh. Well, to each his own, I suppose."
Samhain's throat tightened. It wasn't working. None of this was working. "I think I'll go see if Pitch is up." He turned abruptly and all but ran from the kitchen.
Jack didn't move until he heard the front door slam. The Halloween Spirit slumped forward, place a hand over his eyes. This was wrong. This was so wrong. The hurt on Sam's face had made the Pumpkin King physically ill. It was no use. Even though Jack wanted to comfort the other spirit, to tell him that the words he spoke were bald-faced lies, he knew that he couldn't.
This is for our own good. Jack O'Lantern rationalized. His sweet Sam may hate him, but now the Man in the Moon had no reason to remove him. Of course, it never occurred to him that Samhain would simply go out and take another lover. And it would have never crossed Jack's mind that that lover would be Pitch Black.
Fuck. Jack O'Lantern pushed the uneaten remains of his breakfast away. Double fuck. That freak better not put a hand on my Sam or I'll…
Jack blinked. What could he even do? Samhain wasn't his lover. Wasn't that the entire point? Did he really expect the Halloween King to live a life of celibacy? And even if he did was that fair? Of all the spirits, the Pumpkin King silently lamented. Why Pitch Black?
Samhain found the Boogeyman's lair under an old, abandoned bedframe. With an amused snort, he descended down the hole. Pitch was probably asleep this time of the day, but there was no way that Sam could go back to the factory.
As expected, Pitch's lair was totally creepy. There was only enough light being filtered in from above to keep Sam from bumping into a wall, but besides that there was nothing. What got to the Halloween King the most was the silence. It was like all sounds ceased to exist in Pitch's little hole. Samhain shuddered. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. He steeled himself and kept moving.
The Boogeyman's lair was vast. A series of tunnels and multiple chambers, Sam could have gotten lost. Tiring of looking for Pitch, the Halloween King decided to bring the King of Fear to him. Looking up, Sam spotted some iron cages. With a smirk he jumped up and grabbed the bottom of one and swung. It crashed into another cage and a thunderous clang bounced off the walls. Samhain waited for a moment and when there was still no Pitch he repeated the action.
It was around the third time that a frazzled looking Pitch Black came stomping into the chamber. The Nightmare King had obviously been in bed and upon seeing Sam, Pitch smoothed down his mussed hair and wiped at his eyes. "Samhain," Pitch said coolly. "I wasn't expecting you."
Sam gave him a cheeky grin. "That much is obvious." He gave Pitch a slow once over and chuckled at the sight of Pitch's bare feet peeking from underneath his black robe. "Gotta say, I like this side of you. Looking all mussed and unkempt." The Halloween King gave the Boogeyman a dazzling smile. "It's kinda sexy."
Pitch Black blushed to the tips of his ears. He cleared his throat not once but twice. "Please," he gestured for Samhain to follow him. "Let's continue this in my parlor."
Samhain followed the Fear King, eying his surroundings as they traveled. He stopped in front of a large ornate door and tested the knob. It was locked. Placing his ear against the door, Sam thought he heard the faint sound of horses nickering and snorting. He jumped when he felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder.
Pitch's golden eyes narrowed. "What are you doing?" he demanded.
Sam shrugged. "I thought I heard something." He gave the door a sidelong glance. "What's in there? Why's it locked?"
Pitch offered him a smile and an indifferent shrug. "Just a little…project I've been working on for a few decades. I've almost perfected it. Anyway," He pulled at Sam's arm. "It's not important. Please, follow me."
Pitch's guest parlor was very Spartan. There were two chairs on one side of a small black wooden coffee table and another chair on the other side. The chairs were squat and not very comfortable looking. Oddly enough, they looked both worn and unused at the same time and Samhain noticed a layer of dust over the furniture.
No one had been in this room for a very long time.
Samhain plopped down on a seat and kicked his legs up. Across from him, Pitch lowered himself into a seat of his own and sat with his clasped hands on his lap. The Boogeyman's back was ramrod straight and he stared at Sam. Sam fought the urge to roll his eyes. "You got any snacks?" the Halloween King arched a brow.
Pitch's eyes widened and he looked at the empty table in amazement. "My apologies," he bolted from his seat. "I'll be back in a moment."
Sam settled back into the uncomfortable little chair and started thinking. Revealing his relationship with Pitch hadn't gotten the response from Jack O'Lantern like he thought it would. What advice would the Krampus give if he were here?
"You need to step your game up."
Yeah. That sounded about right. Jack probably thinks I'm not serious with Pitch so he doesn't feel threatened. Well, Sam smiled. I'll just have to fix that.
Pitch came back carrying a dented silver tray. He placed it on the table and smiled. "I apologize for my poor hosting skills." The Boogeyman placed a teacup on a saucer in front of the other spirit. He placed a platter of sliced dark bread and butter in the center next to an assortment of dried fruit. "It's just been a while since I received any company." Pitch settled back into his seat and watched the Halloween Spirit eagerly.
Samhain frowned. "Aren't you going to have any?"
"Oh, I only have the one—" Pitch stopped. His face flushed. "I mean," he said quickly. "I'm not hungry."
The Halloween King helped himself to some fruit and bread. He watched Pitch carefully. He noticed how the Boogeyman seemed to be leaning in his seat, worriedly waiting for some sort of response. Samhain lowered his eyes to the fare. The bread was dry and practically tasteless; the butter did nothing to help. The tea could have been a saving point, but the Boogeyman had over-steeped it. The fruit had to be used to rid the taste from his mouth.
Sam swallowed and wiped his mouth. "Delicious." He smiled.
Gods, it was pathetic how the fear-monger's entire face lit up at that one little compliment. How happy he looked to finally have someone to share his pathetic little meal with.
Like looking in a mirror… A voice cruelly whispered in his ear.
Sam frowned. He was nothing like Pitch. He was in control here. He had the power. Pitch was just a tool to be used and discarded at Sam's leisure.
Nothing more and nothing less.
"So, Pitch." Samhain said. "How about we get out of here? I'm sure there's something we can do for fun."
"Oh?" Pitch arched a hairless brow. "And would Jack O'Lantern approve of this?"
"Jack O'Lantern isn't the boss of me." Sam scowled. He walked over to Pitch and kneeled down. He took Pitch's hand in his own. "Besides, I think that you and I could really be quite the team." Sam gave the Boogeyman a rakish grin and lowered his head so his hair fell into his eyes. "And quite the couple if it came down to it."
Pitch jerked his hand away. "I—you're very forward." The Boogeyman muttered. He stared at his hand. "Very well." He said finally. Pitch smiled at Samhain. "What the hell? It could be fun."
"That's the spirit!" Sam crowed. "You go and get ready and I'll take you out for a night you'll never forget!"
Sam and Pitch spied on three boys up in a tree house watching Nightmare on Elm Street on one of those portable DVD players. They snickered at how their little eyes were wide with terror as they watched Freddy Krueger mutilate his victims. Sam wondered if their parents knew what the brats were watching or where they got the movie. "Let's have some fun." Sam grinned.
Pitch nodded and slinked into the space with the kids. Using his magic, Samhain caused the tree house to groan and creak. He tapped on the wall in one spot and when someone looked in that direction, he moved and tapped somewhere else.
Pitch leaned over the children, his presence causing their tension to spike. "He's here." The Boogeyman whispered in their ears. "He's going to get you. He'll slice you open and use your innards as streamers!'
Tears started pouring down the boys faces at each sound they heard. Wind picked up and Sam could detect the odor of urine. He cackled aloud. This was too good! For the grand finale, the Halloween King flew into and air and landed on the roof of the tree house with a BANG!
That did it.
The little boys hastily climbed down their rope ladder and ran screaming for the house.
Sam and Pitch sat down on a tree branch and laughed themselves sick. "Did you see their faces?" Sam chortled. "Man! That was awesome!"
Pitch smiled. "I have to admit that was more fun than I thought it would be."
Samhain gave him a playful shove. "I told you! Nothing goes better with Halloween than fear!" he draped his arm around Pitch's shoulders. "Pitchy-baby, you and me are going to rule!"
The Nightmare King looked at him fondly. He slid closer to Samhain. "I'd like that." He said softly.
Sam bit the inside of cheek. It was almost too easy. He turned to Pitch and studied him. The Boogeyman stared back. "Something wrong?"
Sam leaned in and kissed him.
He felt Pitch tense for a split second before the Nightmare King let himself relax.
The kiss was okay. It could have been worse.
They pulled apart. Pitch's eyes glittered. Sam forced himself to smile. "That was great." He told the Boogeyman. Sam stroked the back of his hand down Pitch's face.
The Nightmare King leaned into the touch. He couldn't remember the last time anyone had touched him like this. It was nice. "Would…you like to come back to my place?"
Samhain's smile was genuine. All the pieces were falling into place. "I don't want to be a bother."
As predicted, Pitch practically begged him to come back. It was sad how starved for companionship the other spirit was, but as long as he served his purpose Sam didn't care. They took Pitch's shadows back to his lair, an experience that the Halloween King found quite jarring. Sam's heart threatened to pound out of his chest as Pitch led them to his bedroom. This is it. He told himself. I can do this. I can totally do this.
Like the rest of his lair, Pitch's bedroom was pretty bare. There was a large bed with a threadbare black quilt, a wardrobe, and that was it. Jeez, Samhain looked around. He smiled. "Nice room." He told Pitch. "It's…um…very clean."
Pitch gracefully sat down on his bed. He gave the spot next to him a pat. Sam took a deep breath and took a seat next to the Boogeyman. "So," Sam offered Pitch a smile. "Nice bed. Not too soft and not too firm." He bounced once. "Probably good for your back."
Pitch placed a finger on Sam's lips. "Come now," he purred. "Are we really here to discuss my bed?"
Sam could feel himself sweating. He really didn't want to sleep with Pitch, but he had to or else Jack was never going to believe that they were together. Sam gulped and placed his hand on Pitch's thigh. "Of course not, Pitchy." Sam licked his lips. No turning back…
Pitch stared at his cavern's ceiling. Beside him, Sam was lying completely motionless. The Boogeyman cleared his throat. "That was—ˮ Dismal. Disappointing. A waste of time. Dreadful. "—Something…"
Samhain slid out bed and started getting dressed. "Glad I was up to snuff." His tone was cold and detached.
Pitch turned over onto his side and watched the other spirit. "Have I done something to upset you?" he asked nervously. Pitch licked his lips. "If I have please tell me and I'll try to fix it."
Sam's shoulders sagged. Pitch sounded so desperate for him to stay. So eager to have someone here with him. It made Sam's heart ache. It made him angry. The Boogeyman reminded the Halloween King too much of himself and Samhain didn't like it.
"You're not getting clingy after one fuck are you?" Sam sneered as he pulled up his trousers. "That's kind of pathetic don't you think?"
Pitch sat up. He was almost as thin as Sam. "I-I meant no offense." The Boogeyman held out his hand. "Please. Come back to bed."
"Right," Sam snorted. "As if I don't have better things to do than stay here with you."
Pitch let his hand drop. "I'm sure you do." The Boogeyman said quietly. "Will I see you again?"
Sam donned his hat. "If I feel like it." He said callously. Samhain walked out not even sparing Pitch a glance.
Jack was waiting for him when he got home. "You have any idea what time it is?" the Pumpkin King growled.
Sam ignored him and headed for the kitchen. Jack followed him, barking at him the entire time.
"You are the most irresponsible, irritating—" Jack's eyes fell to Sam's neck. "The hell is that?" he demanded.
"Ham on wheat." Sam smiled, knowing full well that the other spirit meant the mark on his neck. He had been super annoyed when the Boogeyman had bit him, but now Sam was seeing the benefit of the mark.
Jack O'Lantern's eye flames flared. "What have you been doing?"
"Well, Mr. Nosy if you must know I've been doing Pitch Black."
The Pumpkin King took a step forward. "What?" he demanded.
Sam grinned. He could tell this was starting to get under Jack's skin. "Pitch and I fucked last night."
Jack stared at him. "What?"
Samhain sighed. "You're boring me." He told the Pumpkin King. "I'm bored." Sidestepping Jack, Sam headed for the stairs. "I'll be in my room, eating my sandwich. Getting back all those electrolytes I lost schtupping the Boogeyman."
When Sam came back downstairs, he couldn't find Jack. A smile played on his lips. I must have really upset him. The Halloween King thought gleefully. Nice! The plan was going along swimmingly.
Samhain danced into the kitchen and tossed his plate into the sink.
"I hope you plan on washing that."
Sam screamed and whirled around. Jack was coming upstairs from the downstairs stockroom. "What the hell, man?!"
"Sorry." Jack walked past him. "I've got to show you something." He urged Sam to follow him. They walked to the back of the factory where Jack O'Lantern made the chocolate and treats. The Pumpkin King stopped in front of a bubbling vat of chocolate. With a smile, he emptied an entire bottle of vanilla into the mixture. "I've finally done it!"
Sam fought to keep his disappointment off his face. "Done what?" he asked
"I think I may have made the perfect batch of chocolate." Jack grinned excitedly. "Isn't that great?"
Samhain could care less about the stupid chocolate. Why wasn't Jack still upset about him sleeping with Pitch? "Hey," Sam swallowed a lump in his throat. "That's great! Good for you! Super!" he turned for the door. "I'm going for a walk."
"Okay," Jack O'Lantern said in a distracted manner. "What time will you be back?"
"Probably sometime in the morning." Sam answered. "I was planning on sleeping at Pitch's tonight."
Jack paused with his stirring. Before Sam could get his hopes up, the Pumpkin King had reached for another bottle of vanilla extract. "Well, have fun."
Sam bristled. "Fine! He practically snapped.
Jack O'Lantern kept stirring even when he heard the front door shut. He kept stirring long after he was sure Samhain had left the grounds. Hours crept by and the Halloween spirit kept stirring because he was lost in thought.
Sam and Pitch.
When Jack had first heard about Samhain courting Pitch he had chalked it up as some disturbing infatuation. The Pumpkin King had assumed that if he let the "relationship" run its course then Sam would get tired of it or at least see what a manipulative prick Pitch really was. Sadly, that didn't appear to be the case…
Pitch was sleeping with his sweet Sam.
Sam and motherfucking Pitch Black.
He had marked Sam's neck. Jack's jaw clenched, remember the mark standing out against Samhain's perfect, pale flesh. He felt bile rising in his throat. How dare Pitch do that? How dare he put one finger on Sam?!
Sam was probably already back at whatever dank hole the Boogeyman called home. Probably already in the Fear King's bony embrace. Being led to the bedroom where they would climb into bed and Pitch would start kissing him, rubbing his hands along Sam's body—
Did the Boogeyman already know about the spot behind Sam's left ear? The spot that when touch caused those beautiful eyes to glaze over and those soft lips to part—
With a roar, Jack shoved the vat over. The Pumpkin King stomped and raged, thinking about his Sam with that rotten Pitch Black.
My Sam! My Sam! Mine! Mine! He breathed a stream of fire and threw a table against the wall. He would find the Boogeyman and break his limbs! Bury the wretch so far in the earth that no one would ever find him again!
Slowly, his anger died to a simmer and Jack O'Lantern returned to his normal size. He eyed the mess he'd made during his tantrum. The sticky brown mess of chocolate flooded over the floor. With a sigh, Jack went to grab a mop. He could have just used his magic to clean up after himself, but he figured that he needed to be punished for his waste.
"I hadn't expected you back so soon." Pitch greeted him. He smiled at Samhain, but didn't receive one in return. Instead the Halloween King brushed past the Boogeyman. Pitch didn't mind. After all, Samhain had come back to him even though he had left in anger before.
"I was in the neighborhood." Sam said drily. He gave Pitch a look. "What's wrong? You have something better to do?"
The Boogeyman winced at the Halloween King's tone. "No. I didn't mean… I was just surprised."
Sam snorted. He was a little pissed that Jack had just completely dismissed him liked that. Maybe if he showed up with even more marks, the Pumpkin King would take him seriously. "Get undressed."
Pitch Black took a step back. "W-what?"
Samhain sneered. "Did I stutter? I wanna fuck. Why else would I bother coming here? To spend time with you?" he laughed derisively. "Of course if you don't want to, I can just leave…"
Slowly, Pitch started to shed his robe. He shivered as he stood naked before the Halloween King, who wasn't even looking at him. "Shouldn't we take this to the bedroom?"
"No need." Sam examined his nails. "Just bend over that chair."
Pitch's jaw dropped. His eyes narrowed and his teeth ground together in rage. He refused to be treated like some whore!
As if sensing his mood, Sam looked over at him. "Problem?" he arched a brow. "Because I will leave if there is. I mean I'm sure you have thousands of people lining up to be your friend and lover, right?" Samhain stalked over to Pitch. He put his face inches away from the Boogeyman's and smiled coldly. "You're going to do what I say and you know why? Because you know that if you don't then you'll go back to being alone and you just don't want that. Do you, Pitchy-witchy? Do you want to be alone again?"
Pitch lowered his eyes. He shook his head once.
Samhain sneered. He grabbed Pitch's chin and jerked his face up. "I can't hear you."
Sam smiled. "Good man. Now lean over the chair."
Pitch did as he told. And as Sam held him there and fucked him, he told himself that it was worth it.
And as soon as it was over Sam started to redress. Once again the Halloween had taken his pleasure, not even noticing or caring that the Boogeyman had stayed flaccid the entire time. As Pitch reached down to grab his robe and trousers off the floor he told himself that this was all worth it. I can't go back to being alone. He cares for me. I know he does. This is worth it. I finally have someone.
And eventually he started to believe the lie.
Sam got home to find Jack sitting and reading. He arched a brow. "Finished with your perfect batch of chocolate already?"
Jack O'Lantern peered over his book, took in Sam's disheveled appearance, and then returned to his reading. "I had to dump it," he muttered. "A fly landed in it."
Samhain felt a twinge of satisfaction at that. "Too bad." He said. He plopped down on a chair and it rose to join Jack's in the air. "I'm beat."
"Is that so?"
The Halloween King hummed happily. "Yep. Pitch just completely drained me. I mean it. Dude, milked me dry."
Sam didn't see Jack's fingers tighten on his book. "Really," Jack kept his voice neutral. "Imagine that."
Samhain frowned. Time to up the ante. "Yeah. I'm really starting to fall for him."
Jack didn't say anything, but on the inside he was raging. Burying Pitch was starting to sound like a really good idea. "Mm-hmm."
Sam bit his bottom lip. "Thinking about taking him along with me on Halloween."
"Do whatever you want."
"Great!" Samhain snapped. He drummed his fingers. He looked over at Jack. "What are you reading?"
The Pumpkin King turned a page. "Chicken Soup for the Soul."
"Fuck no. I'm reading Johnny Gruesome."
"Oh." Sam looked over at the clock. "Is it interesting?"
"It's fine." Truth be told, Jack had stopped reading the second Sam walked in. He was working to keep his anger in check and the Boogeyman's blood off his hands.
Sam sighed loudly. He turned his body, throwing his legs over the arm of the chair and folded his arms behind his head.
The Halloween King sighed. "What?"
"Are you happy? With Pitch I mean?"
And there it was. Sam sat up, alert. If he played his cards right then he and Jack could be together forever. "I am." He said. "Why shouldn't I be? We have each other. He's infatuated with me and I'm," Samhain paused. "Fond of him."
Jack closed his book. He stared at his companion. "There's…" the Pumpkin King lowered his eyes for a moment. "There's no one else you'd rather be with?"
Yes! Okay, just play it cool Samhain. "I don't know." Sam gave a one shouldered shrug. "There used to be someone, but that ship has apparently sailed."
Jack sat there silently and Sam began to panic. Had he been too obvious with that last comment? "Well," the Pumpkin King slid of his seat. "You have my blessing."
What? "What?" Sam squawked.
Jack O'Lantern nodded. He turned to the bookcase and let the book fly back to its designated spot. "As long as your relationship with Pitch doesn't get in the way of our Halloween preparations then you have my blessing."
No! That's not what he wanted at all! Goddamnit! Sam felt like pulling out his hair. His blessing? His fucking blessing? What was this? A fucking Jane Austen novel?! "That's great!" Samhain bit out. He gave the back of Jack's head a watery smile. Oh shit. He was crying. There was no way he'd let Jack see that. He rapped his knuckles against the arm of his chair and slid out. "I gotta go do stuff." He ran from the factory.
When he was satisfied that he was far enough from the factory and Jack O'Lantern, Sam sat down next to a tree, cradled his head in his hands, and wept.
Pitch told himself that he'd set some ground rules the next time Samhain showed up. The Halloween King needed to know that certain things weren't okay.
Rule Number One: Respect is not optional.
Every time the Boogeyman lamented his lack of believers or voiced his desire to have a family, the Halloween King would roll his eyes and say something along the lines of "I hear enough whining from kids." Or "Gods! Are still on that? For fuck's sake can't you talk about something else?"
Rule Number Two: Sex should be enjoyed by both participants.
Pitch was getting tired of being shoved down onto the bed and having Sam plow in and out of him. It was humiliating and more often than not, painful. The worst part was that Samhain left immediately after he climaxed, like he just couldn't get far enough from the Boogeyman. It's like he thinks I'm dirty. And it wasn't just the whole leaving thing that bothered Pitch it was also the fact that Sam would disappear. The Nightmare King had been terribly despondent when he hadn't seen the Halloween spirit for over a year. His cavern had seemed even more lonely and empty.
Rule Number Thr—Pitch looked up as Samhain came walking in. The Halloween King looked even paler than usual and there were dark bags under his eyes. "Sam," Pitch stood and smoothed down the front of his robe. "So good to see you."
Sam gave him a non-committal grunt. Then in a flash the Halloween spirit had crossed the space and wrapped his arms around Pitch in a hug. "You got anything to eat?"
"Um," Pitch faltered. "Yes, one moment." Perhaps he was going about this the wrong way. The Halloween King wasn't really all that bad. I should be more patient. No, wait! A brilliant idea came to him as he buttered two thick slices of dark rye bread. The mercurial temperament of the Halloween King could possibly be controlled. There had to be a way. I won't be alone. I refuse to be alone. Pitch closed his eyes. He thought long and hard. Pitch thought about the things that seemed to annoy the Halloween King the most. If he could change those things about himself then maybe…maybe…
Samhain leaned back. He was tired. So very tired. Even Pitch's hard ass chairs were comfortable. He'd been to see Krampus after that horrible talk with Jack O'Lantern. The demon hadn't cared, but he listened and that was all Sam could ask for. Krampus had listened and offered these words:
So what? He hadn't expected that and Sam was hurt.
The Krampus seemed to sense that and the hellbeast rolled his red eyes. "You whine because you think you've lost the battle, but have you lost the war? Will you sit back and wring your hands wondering about what you should have done differently? Bah! Maybe you have." Krampus shrugged. "It's obvious Pitch hasn't done what you needed him to do, so cut him loose." The demon bared his sharp teeth. "You don't need him."
"But I thought you said…"
Krampus waved a hand. "I told you that because I thought the Boogeyman could help you, but seeing as he hasn't gotten you what you want…" the demon trailed off.
Samhain scowled at the memory. Krampus was right. Pitch was useless. He was beyond useless. Couldn't even inspire jealously in another person. I just have to end it. Start back at Step One. There had to be another spirit that got under Jack's skin.
Pitch Black came in carrying a platter with two slices of bread. The Boogeyman set down in front of the Halloween King. He was smiling from ear to ear.
Sam gave him a half-hearted glare. "What are you so happy about?"
"I think we need to talk."
Well, wasn't this just bloody tragic? Pitch was about to dump him. "Well?"
Pitch Black sat across for him. "I've given it quite a bit of thought. Samhain, I love you."
Oh gods no…
Pitch continued. "I know that I'm not perfect, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes." The Boogeyman reached out and took Sam's hand. "We can be together. If you're here with me then I don't even care if another child ever remembers or know who I am. You're all I need. I love you so much, Samhain. Please, Sam." Pitch gave his hand a squeeze. "Please say something."
Sam couldn't breathe. This was wrong. This was all wrong. Pitch wasn't the one he wanted! Why couldn't it be Jack O'Lantern saying this? Why couldn't it be Jack who loved him?
It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair!
Sam could feel the anger and pain threatening to eat him from the inside out. He did the only thing he could:
He lashed out at Pitch.
"You are so fucking pathetic!" Samhain slapped Pitch's hand away. "You think I want you?" he laughed cruelly. "You think anyone would want you? I got news for you, Pitchy. I don't love you. I've never loved you. You're nothing to me!"
As Sam spat the hateful words at Pitch, some part of him realized that it was like belittling his reflection. He saw the hopelessness on the Boogeyman's face. The utter devastation of living a lonely existence. He remembered looking in a mirror and seeing the same look on his own face. It made Sam strive to hurt Pitch even more.
Hurt him. Make him cry…
Better him than me…
"You think you're so fucking special?" Sam ranted. He kicked his chair back. Crossing the space, he grabbed Pitch and shook him violently. "You're not! Where do you think I go when I leave here? I have lovers all over the place! I got kitsunes in Japan. Nymphs in Greece. The fucking April Fool!" he started listing off names, enjoying the look of betrayal in the Boogeyman's eyes. "So I don't need you. I don't want you." The Halloween King shoved Pitch away. "We're done. I've outgrown you."
Sam left Pitch's lair as fast he could. He flew in the direction of the factory but stopped. He wasn't ready to go back yet. Not yet.
Pitch sat curled on the floor, staring out at nothing.
Samhain was gone. He was gone and this time he wouldn't be back.
The Boogeyman closed his eyes. Slowly, he got to his feet.
Feeling numb, Pitch walked through his halls until he stood before the locked door that Sam had noticed on his first visit. Fashioning a key from his shadows, the Boogeyman unlocked it and stepped inside.
His creations were getting stronger every day. A smile came to Pitch Black's lips as he watched Nightmares he created from the Sandman's corrupted dreams cavort.
He held out his hand and one by one they walked forward and allowed their master to pet them. Pitch ran his fingers through the grainy manes deep in thought.
Samhain's confession was a godsend. The Boogeyman had been this close to dismantling his plans. Now that it was obvious that Sam never wanted to be with him he didn't have to. It was time for him to move forward in plans.
Pitch's eyes darkened. If I can't have a family then I'll have my believers. If can't be beloved then I will be feared.
Jack heard it from Fall who heard about it from the March Lion who heard it from Father Time. Pitch Black had raised an army and was attempting to destroy the Guardians of Childhood.
The Jack O'Lantern shook his head. He should have known that bastard would try something like this.
"You need to stay away from Pitch." He told Samhain. "If he needs to be taken out then I don't want you involved."
Sam barely looked at him. "I haven't seen Pitch in months." He reminded his partner.
Oh yes. How could he have forgotten? That had been the happiest Jack could remember being in a very long time. He practically did a jig. "Right," the Pumpkin King turned back to his reading. "I was just saying. Just in case…"
It turns out there was no need to worry. The Guardians with the help of a human child and Jack Frost were able to defeat the Nightmare King and drive Pitch back into his hole.
Jack had expected Samhain to be more upset by the news, but the Halloween King had taken the info in stride and said he was going for a fly.
He went flying a lot lately…
Jack O'Lantern sighed. Sam would come to him. He would need a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on. He would need Jack to comfort him just like before.
Now that Pitch was gone it would be like old times.
The factory had to be cleaned and reconfigured before they could hold the wedding. The manufacturing wings had to be completely removed and were converted into the reception hall. The living quarters were also taken out to give them extra space for the guests. It exhausted their magic and Samhain and Jack O'Lantern crashed at North's palace to recuperate and finish the preparations.
The guests had RSVP'd and the menu had been planned out. Finger foods, lots of alcohol, and chocolate.
Jack had insisted. "What sort of Halloween Spirit would I be if I didn't have chocolate at my wedding?" he had demanded.
So there was a three-tiered wedding cake with buttercream frosting and mini white chocolate skulls and milk chocolate bats as decorations. There was also a chocolate fountain with strawberries, marshmallows, and an assortment of cookies to dip. Caramels and chocolates were placed into black silk bags to be placed on the tables for guests.
The amount of sugary treats had horrified Toothiana who held the menu so tightly in her hands that her knuckles had gone white.
"We're not changing it." Jack O'Lantern said firmly.
The seating arrangement had to be changed because North refused to let Bunnymund sit next to Jack. The Guardian of Wonder had found out about their relationship in the least favorable way possible. Upon hearing a commotion in his coat closet, North had grabbed one of his sabers and gone to investigate. When he opened the door, Nicholas St. North was greeted by the sight of Frost with his trousers down his ankles and Bunny positioned behind him, running his tongue along Jack's white neck.
Bunny had immediately backed away as far as the closet would let him. He held up his paws. "It's not what it looks like!" the Pooka stammered. "I was just groomin' him."
Jack decided to go and get Pitch when North started chasing Aster around the shop, waving his sword and swearing loudly in Russian.
"You're acting like a crazy person!" Pitch had commented. "Of course they're having sex." The Nightmare King put his hands on his hips. "They've been living together for over a year! What did you think they've been doing? Playing Boggle?"
In the end, Nicholas St. North won. Jack's seat was moved to his left and Aster was moved to sit on his right so that North could make sure "No more hanky-panky" happened.
On the day of the ceremony, Pitch and North both agreed that the elves should remain home for the obvious reasons. Pitch had developed a soft spot for Dingle (which he would deny if anyone asked) so he let the elf slip into the sleigh and hide under his seat when North's back was turned. If the Boogeyman knew about the sack that Dingle had folded and tucked under his tunic he would have sent the elf right back into the Workshop.
The ceremony was beautiful. Fall had been able to decorate halls with some of her autumn foliage. North had his yetis attend to the food table and ushering duties.
The Groundhog was very well behaved during the ceremony especially with Phil standing behind him. Father Time was once again the officiator. Jack O'Lantern looked especially handsome in his black waist coat and orange ascot. His black breeches tucked inside knee-high black leather boots completed the ensemble. The Pumpkin King's flaming mouth smiled across at Samhain. The Halloween King looked quite dashing in his outfit. He wore waist coat like Jack but with a white lace shirt underneath. His trousers stopped at his calves and he wore white stockings with them and finished it with black shoes with shining gold buckles. Sam's long black hair was tied back with an orange ribbon and Tooth had used some gel to fix his bangs.
Father Time tapped his staff on the floor. "By the power vested in me by the Man in the Moon, I now pronounce you partners for life. You may now kiss your husband."
Jack O'Lantern took a hold of the sides of his head and yanked. His neck stretched in such a way that some of the spirits sitting in the crowd cringed. The pumpkin slid free and Jack tucked it under his arm. Tossing his hair over his shoulder, Jack O'Lantern grinned. "Shall we?"
Samhain nodded. Jack took him into his arms and held him close. "I love you," O'Lantern whispered.
Sam shivered with delight. He would never tire of hearing those words. "Love you too."
"Get to the good part!" Jack Frost yelled. Sandy yanked him back into his seat.
Jack O'Lantern rolled his eyes but Sam giggled. "Might as well give the people what they want."
Jack grinned and cradled the back of Sam's head. He kissed him gently, running his tongue over Samhain's bottom lip before slipping it inside. His hands slid down his husband's back and moved to cup Sam's rear.
Father Time coughed loudly. "Keep it PG." he ordered. "Baby New Year is here."
Jack and Sam parted. "To be continued," the Pumpkin King leered.
"Lovely ceremony." Pitch Black told them. The Boogeyman gave the newlyweds a one-armed hug. He had the Sandman tucked under his other arm.
"Thanks, Pitch." Sam grinned. "Glad you could be here and thanks for acting as the Best Man."
Jack eyed Sandy. "What's with him?"
"Ah." Jack poked Sandy's foot. The Dreamgiver kicked at him halfheartedly before going limp. "Is he going to be okay?"
Pitch shrugged. "I'll get some water in him. He should be—ˮ the Boogeyman suddenly yelped loudly. "Sanderson!" he jostled the smaller spirit. "You watch those hands, you little pervert!" the Nightmare King scowled. "Sorry," he apologized to Samhain and Jack O'Lantern. "His hands tend to roam when he's drunk. Aughh! Swear to god, Sanderson!" he pulled the Sandman up and glared at him.
Sandy's eyes were unfocused, his round cheeks were flushed. He made a kissy face at Pitch. The Boogeyman sighed. "I think I'll hand you off to Tooth." The Nightmare King sighed. "Congratulations again, you two."
Samhain looked at Jack. "You think North knows about Sandy groping Pitch?"
"Probably not and judging by how drunk Sandman looked I doubt he knows either."
The Halloween King took Jack's hand in his. "Well, I think we should probably limit his drinks." Sam stuck his thumbnail into his mouth and chewed on it. Jack popped at it.
"Stop that." He frowned. "What's wrong?"
"You're happy, right?"
Jack looked confused. "That's a strange thing to ask at the wedding reception." He pointed out. The Pumpkin King smiled. "But to answer your question: yes. You make me very happy, Samhain."
The Halloween King beamed and nestled closer to his partner. "So am I."
A tiny red blur went running past their feet, clutching an entire platter of cookies.
Jack's jaw dropped. "Was that an elf?" he demanded. "What the hell is an elf doing here?"
Pitch looked over from where he was placing Sandy into the Tooth Fairy's arms. He quickly made himself scarce.
Sam laughed. "Forget it." He hugged Jack O'Lantern around the waist. "We can worry about it later.
Jack looked like he was about to argue, but Samhain kissed him and the words died on his lips. He sighed. "Well, I guess it's not a big deal. Wanna dance?" He led Sam to the dance floor.