Age Four: A Fearful Meeting

disclaimer: I don't own Buffy Joss and others do. I don't own Rise of the Guardians/ Guardians of Childhood either but, that's okay. William Joyce is doing an amazing job.

author's note: As the disclaimer says, crossover is between Rise of the Guardians and Buffy. Starring Xander and Pitch Black. timeline wise this story is pre-series and pre-movie. I have one chapter planned for each year Xander and Pitch know each other until age 16. I -might- add more if inspiration strikes. Finally, I apologize for any OOCness but honestly? I'm not going to fix it, especially where Pitch is concerned.

A four year old Xander huddled under his covers and pretended he was hiding from the Boogeyman and not from his father. Pretended that he was scared of the lurking shadows in his room rather than the loud voice of his father before. He pretended so hard it became real and then he appeared.

The shadows within Xander's room seemed to darken, somehow become deeper and started to move on their own. At first Xander only saw the stranger's yellow-grey eyes and the outline of a humanoid figure. Then the shadows seem to fade away or maybe into the man. He wore a simple black robe that looked to be made out of shadow, his skin an unnatural grey. The creature's hair was as dark, if not darker, than his robe and almost feathery looking. As if his hair consisted of the feathers of crows and ravens.

"Such fear you have and yet I see one of my nightmares is not the cause. I wonder then, what could keep you awake with such terror," the dark grey skinned man spoke idly as he studied Xander. Something breaking downstairs and his mother raising her voice to match his fathers caused Xander to flinch, for a moment distracted from his unexpected visitor. "Ah," the shadow man said as he turned away from Xander to stare at the door. "What nightmares you must draw once your terror exhaust you. How precious."

"A-are you a monster?" Xander finally squeaked out, scared, terrified, but part of him too brave and curious and innocent to not ask.

The grey man draped in shadows startled and turned to Xander surprised. "You? You can see and hear me?"

Xander frowned even as he nodded. Maybe the strange man wasn't a monster. After all, what kind of monster showed up to ask why you were scared or if you could see and hear them? He looked scary but not as scary as Tony Harris when he was yelling and breaking stuff. "Who are you?" Xander tried asking again.

"You know who I am," the grey man smiled his teeth jagged and sharp, like a shark or a wolf. "Only those that believe in me can see me."

Believed? Like Santa Claus? But this dark shadow man wasn't Santa Claus. Santa was supposed to be big and wear red and have a beard. Was he an imaginary friend like Dropdead Fred? Dropdead Fred and his other imaginary friends looked looked silly though and not-monster guy was not silly.

"I dunno," Xander said and shrugged. "I thought you were the monster under my bed but you're not a monster," Xander declared firmly, in a way only a child could.

Shadow man was so confused he actually slumped his shoulders and Xander laughed. Okay, shadow man was a little silly.

"I am Pitch Black, the Nightmare King! You should fear me! You. are. NOT. supposed. to. laugh," Pitch Black snarled suddenly. Black shadowy sand formed in his hands and in a few moments he shaped it as a nightmare and sent it at the boy that dared mock him.

With a gasp, Xander at first backed away from the nightmare before realizing it looked cool. Scary but cool, like a T-rex. "Wow," Xander breathed out and the nightmare halted its charge towards him and whinnied in confusion. Bouncing excitedly, Xander looked between Pitch and the nightmare. "Can you make other creatures? Like- like- a shark? Or a Dragon? Oh! Oh! A dinosaur!"

Pitch stared at Xander as if there was something funny with his face. Xander wanted to look but his room was too dark and he was not going to leave it or turn on a light when mommy and daddy were so angry. "You are a strange child," Pitch said slowly like some parents did to make sure their kids understood them.

"Please?" Xander begged, clasping his hands together in front of his chest as his eyes begged Pitch Black to play along.

Pitch bowed his head and pinched his nose before sighing loudly and looking up to glare at Xander. "Oh, very well," the fear spirit agreed.

For the rest of the night Xander watched amazed and only a little frightened as Pitched turned his nightmares into various scary creatures. When Xander finally slept he dreamt of being chased by all the creatures Pitch created for him. As scary as the dream was Xander never felt truly afraid because Pitch was not a monster and only monsters hurt kids.


Pitch observed the strange child as he slept with a small peacefull smile despite the nightmare prancing above his head.

What a strange child.

Pitch never met one quite like Alexander Harris in all his nights. To be so scared and to believe in him but not actually fear Pitch. Truly a unique child. The Nightmare King wondered how long this peculiarity would last. Surely the child would out grow his fears with the dawn, believe this all to be a dream brought on by less than ideal parents. If he returned tomorrow eve would the boy see him, hear him? Or would he merely be unseen and unheard, walked through if he does not watch his step?

Hard to guess, Pitch never knew how he'd be received on the Hellmouth. What fear this vile place created and what foolish ignorance allowed it to fester.

Well, tomorrow night will tell.

"Sweet dreams, Alexander," Pitch mockingly murmured to the before traveling the paths of shadows to other children needing a visit from the Boogeyman.

author's end note: I try to imagine what a four year old Xander with puppy eyes would look like... and am surprised Pitch lasted as long as he did.