Why he went back Pitch would never truly understand. The war was over, he had won. The Guardians were no more, none strong enough to be a threat. No more children believed in them. Even that last child, the one who had held out for so long had finally lost his faith. Pitch Black had finally, truly won. Yet something still didn't feel right, as if, despite accomplishing his goal, he was missing something. Perhaps that was why he returned to the Antarctic.
Pitch didn't know what to expect when he arrived. Perhaps the Winter child had escaped or would be waiting for a fight. He certainly wasn't excepting the child to still be in the ravine, curled against an icy wall in what appeared to be a sound sleep, Toothiana's little fairy helper frozen to death in his loose grasp. If the frozen tears on the boy's face was anything to go by, Jack Frost had tried to save her and failed.
The youth didn't stir as he approached and Pitch took a moment to inspect him. Unconscious and curled up as he was Jack Frost looked every bit the child he truly was. Small, far smaller than Pitch first thought, and incredibly fragile. It was hard to truly estimate his age, somewhere between 14-17, well add on 300 years. Hard to believe MiM wanted someone so small to be a Guardian. The boy was rebellious and reckless. Pitch almost turned to leave, to abandon the young spirit to the icy wasteland. It wasn't as if the temperature would harm the boy. Nonetheless, Pitch stopped himself, instead kneeling down and taking the frozen fairy from his hand and allowing his shadows to do away with it. No need for the child to wake up and see the damage he had done. No, the child would be in enough pain when he learned the outcome of the war.
"Jack," he whispered, he voice gentle as one hand stroked the child's ice cold cheek. "Jack, wake up."
A small childlike murmur escaped the boy's lips, unconsciously leaning into the offered heat.
Pitch grinned, the reaction almost endearing. This will be far easier than he first planned. He cupped Jack's other cheek, brushing off small icicles and offering more warmth. "Jack."
Thick eyelashes fluttered and for a moment Jack's brows creased before hazy, pain filled crystal blue eyes gazed up at Pitch. For several moments they just stared at each other before Jack blinked, his vision clearing. "No.." he breathed in shock pulling away and scooting back.
It would have been funny had Jack not cried out in pain when he pressed his back against the wall of ice. Despite the pain he tried to press himself further into the wall. Pitch watched him silently, taking in his fear and allowing himself to feast on it. A small part of him grew concerned at the pain written all over the youth's face. He moved a little closer.
"Stay away!" Jack yelped, trying to press himself into the ice.
"It's over, Jack," Pitch announced, standing. "The Guardians are gone. There's no need to fight anymore."
A smile lit Pitch's face. "I have no reason to lie." He spread his hands. "Without you the Guardians didn't stand a chance."
"No!" If possible the youth looked even more panicked and far smaller. "That's impossible!"
"Question is..." Pitch slipped into the shadows, his voice echoing throughout the ravine. "What are you going to do now?" He let the question hang in the air as he watched Jack from the shadows.
Jack looked around, as if expecting Pitch to jump out at any moment. He moved to get up but his legs only held him for a few moments before his legs gave out and he slumped against the icy wall. Tears filled his eyes and rolled down his cheeks as pain seemed to explode in the back of his head, making his vision white and blurry. One hand went to the back of his head and while there was no blood it was obvious there was damage. He tried to focus past it. Pitch had to be lying, the Guardians had to be still out there. He had to find them.
"My offer still stands, Jack," Pitch's voice whispered from all around him.
"Leave me alone," Jack retorted, anger and pain still heavy in his voice.
Heat brushed across Jack and he gasped when he felt arms wrap around him.
"That is no longer an option."
A nearly scolding hot black heaviness surrounded Jack. It felt as if he was melting, maybe even burning. It was so hot. He tried to fight it but soon, much like Sandman's dreamsand, he found himself slipping into unconsciousness once more.