Chapter One: Fun

Standing atop the cold and barren glacier, Jack Frost stares at the Essence of Darkness before him with wide, cold eyes, his mind whirling with confusion. It isn't true … it isn't …

Pitch senses his hesitation and sighs, shaking his head. "My dear boy," he says with something akin to compassion in his voice, "you never really thought that those Guardians actually accepted you, did you?"

Jack grits his teeth, clenching his staff as if it's a sharpened sword – although at the moment, it's more of a shield than a weapon. "What's it to you?" he demands, holding it out in front of him as far as it will go.

Pitch takes a step forward – Jack takes a step back. "Don't be so naïve," Pitch chuckles, and the Darkness seeps from his being in grains of sand, seeds of nightmares. "You could never truly be a Guardian, Jack. After all, you're the Winter Spirit."

This catches Jack off-guard. Without even realizing it, he lowers his staff. "What is that supposed to mean?" he demands, careful not to allow his voice to shake. To show fear or hesitation to Pitch is to show weakness. It is to be defeated.

Pitch raises a brow. Jack knows he's shown weakness anyway from the smirk that slowly takes the villain's face, though he isn't sure how he did. "The Winter Spirit," Pitch says again, his deep voice dragging out his answer in a relaxed manner, as if he had all the time in the world. "Surely you understand, don't you? The cold kills. People build fires and homes and huddle under blankets to avoid it.

"No; it'd be more accurate to say that you kill, Jack Frost. Humans do those things to avoid you. The winter you bring with you has delivered many to hypothermia, to starvation – and for what? For you to have your 'fun?'"

Jack gasps; his free hand goes to clutch at his head, as if Pitch has sent a nightmare his way. But Pitch hasn't – not in the physical sense, at least.

Inside, it's what Jack fears the most – has always known but always denied. Jack's been terrified of death, of causing it; he's always been scared of being the source of despair and heartache. But Pitch is right; Jack hates it with every bone in his body, but Pitch is right.

"So you do understand," Pitch says with a grin on his face. He steps closer to him, puts an arm on Jack's shoulder.

This time, he doesn't move away.

"Look at the masterpiece we have created," he goes on as he gestures with his free hand. Jack follows the movement and his eyes land on the strange mixture of Pitch's nightmares and his own frost, the fearsome ice sculpture he hadn't intended to create. Pitch's smile is blithe and strangely tepid, in a way. "Darkness and cold have always gone hand in hand."

"…yes," Jack murmurs after a moment, a strange confidence in his voice that he's unfamiliar with – the hand that clutches his head drops. "They have, haven't they?"

Jack doesn't have to think of their collaboration as fear-inspiring. In a way, it's actually rather beautiful – two of mankind's greatest fears united at long last.

Perhaps this is what Jack is meant for. Because he sure as hell isn't meant to be a Guardian.

Yes, yes; of course! It's always been right there in front of him! If Jack can't convince others to see him by making fun for them, he can convince them to fear him – and that can be his own way of having 'fun'!

A grin finds its way onto his face, and Jack takes a step toward the almost-sculpture, twirling his staff in his hands as he does. Pitch stands behind him, watching him, curious.

Jack lifts the curved stick, points it at the solidified mixture – and swings it. Like it lives, the sculpture extends, growing – no, it's more that it's begun to fly where Jack directs it, twisting and turning as he does. First it goes around him, spiraling like a vine, and then with no warning, Jack sends it shooting back up into the sky.

To Jack's delight, the darkness encased in the prototype moves with it. Through this indirect method, he too can control a fraction of Pitch's power.

Pitch, who had been standing dumbstruck until now, finally speaks. "What in the world are you doing, Jack?"

"What am I doing?" he repeats, incredulous – but the grin never leaves. "I'm having fun, Pitch! Look at this! Just – just look at it!"

Pitch raises an eyebrow as Jack continues painting with his staff, using the entire world as his canvas. Jack lets out a laugh as, for his finale, he separates the ice into two, thrusts them into the sky, and when they crash back together –

Boom! There's an explosion high above them, and the darkness and the ice fall together, cascading like snow onto the area.

To Pitch's surprise, the darkness and the frost have melded together entirely, no longer two almost-elements, but one entity. They do not fall separate, but united.

"Black ice," Pitch murmurs in disbelief. How odd.

And for that moment, Pitch cannot help but smile. When was the last time he was truly happy? He can't even begin to recall. Perhaps when he was human – when he wasn't so intent on striking fear in the hearts of others.

For this entire time, Pitch has been alone. Isolated. Forgotten. But with Jack he is no longer that, he is no longer just a memory of fear. Pitch is now something important to someone, he is now something valued.

Fun, hm? If this is what "fun" is, then Pitch has no doubt that he and Jack will get along very well. Together, they most surely can overthrow the Guardians; together, they're unstoppable.

"Let's return to my hideout," Pitch decides, once Jack is done playing with their creation. "We've got some work to do."

Elsa's Note: Welcome to my first multi-chapter fic! I hope you're looking forward to the next part.

This is a bit of housekeeping. As a heads-up, this fic will contain implied Frostbite (Jack x Tooth for those new to the fandom, but you may ignore all implications if you wish and just see their interactions as expressions of how they are close compadres), violence beyond cartoon violence (i.e. what was shown in the movie), and a sizable amount of feels. You have been warned.

Oh, and of course, I solemnly swear that this fic will be finished! You can trust me, readers – with or without a plethora of reviews, this fic will get done!