Pitch strode down the hallway to his daughter's room, on his way to say goodnight. It was actually a half hour past her bedtime, but he had gotten caught up in some work. He knew she wouldn't go to sleep unless he read her a story and tucked her in, so he increased his pace, not wanting Seraphina to be up any later.
When he reached the door to her room, he knocked softly and pushed it open. The room was dark and at first he thought that she had simply gone to bed without a story. Then he noticed the whiteness of the thrown back sheets, a stark contrast to the shadowy bedroom. The bed was empty. Pitch's heart skipped a beat and he whirled out of the vacant room.
As he stalked back down the hallway, multiple scenarios of successful kidnappings raced through his head and he willed himself not to panic. His daughter being out of bed late at night didn't mean that she had been kidnapped again, but he always envisioned the worst possible scenario; it was the reason he was still alive. Light shining around the cracks of one of the doors caught his attention and he stopped. That was Jack's door. He opened it, planning on asking Jack if he's seen Seraphina, but froze as his gaze was drawn to the two figures sitting in an armchair within the circle of light created by a floor lamp. Of course his daughter hadn't gone to sleep without a bedtime story. If Pitch hadn't been there to read her one he should have known exactly where or, more specifically, to whom she would have gone: her beloved babysitter.
Seraphina was fast asleep, curled up against Jack's left side and half sprawled on his lap. Jack was also sleeping, his head tilted back and to the side at an uncomfortable looking angle. A book lay open on his lap, grasped loosely in his right hand as if he had fallen asleep while holding it up. His left arm was wrapped around Seraphina, keeping her snug against his chest, though her fist tightly gripping his shirt indicated that she wasn't going to be moving anyway.
Walking over to them, Pitch smiled slightly. His daughter looked peaceful, something he was thankful for considering that it was only a few days after she had been through such a traumatic experience. He stroked her hair back, his face becoming completely unguarded, something he only allowed when he was alone with his daughter. But they weren't really alone right now, he reminded himself. Sure, he was sleeping, but Jack was still there. Pitch turned his gaze to him, his usual mask beginning to reconstruct itself. He thought that maybe he should stop trying to deny that he did indeed feel some kind of compassion towards the boy . . . but the Nightmare King did not listen to anyone – not even himself sometimes; however, he did admit that he was feeling jealousy towards the boy right now. Did his daughter really think Jack an appropriate replacement?
He contemplated taking Seraphina back to her room to tuck her into her own bed – and read her a bedtime story himself for good measure. Yet, he didn't, convincing himself that it was only because doing so would disturb his daughter when she was so calm. He also considered just leaving the two of them exactly as they were; his daughter was comfortable so who cared if Jack woke up with a kink in his neck from sleeping like that? Certainly not Pitch! It would serve him right for stealing Seraphina away from him.
He paused at those thoughts. His daughter was the one who went to Jack, was she not? Jack had barely been able to walk to the chair earlier that day from what Dr. Myers had told him.
Pitch rubbed a hand down his face, making up his mind. He walked over to the bed, dragging a blanket off it and picking up the pillow. He threw the blanket over the slumbering pair and tucked the corners in underneath them, making sure that it wasn't covering Seraphina's head and wasn't too tight against Jack's injured side. He tilted Jack's head forward and placed the pillow behind it, making sure it was straight when he laid it back down. As he pulled his hands away, he noticed bright blue eyes looking up at him, shining in the light of the lamp. He resisted the urge to wipe that faint smirk off Jack's face, but reminded himself of what the boy meant to his daughter. And himself . . .
Maintaining eye contact, he reached up and extinguished the lamp; everything else around disappeared in the darkness, but he could still see those blue eyes.