This is the first of the two one-shots I've been working on, and it is completely different than the other one I posted. While that one was humorous, this one is defiantly darker, though I suppose there is some twisted humor in it (I hope I gave it the right rating).
I wanted this one-shot to turn out well, and since I usually beta things myself, this time around I had the lovely Meroko beta it for me, as well as make suggestions, so that I could have this story read more smoothly (Thank you!). Any possible mistakes/odd wordings in the story are entirely my doing. I hope I did the characters justice, and that there is little to no ooc present, as I try to avoid that in the stories I write unless I do it intentionally for humor purposes/make pairings work/etc. This one-shot mainly draws information from the movie, with bits here and there picked up from the books. For purposes of this fic, it will take place 5 years after the movie.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from Rise of the Guardians or related material. I just decided I wanted to write a much darker piece, and knew I wanted it to be between Jack and Pitch.
It had been an interesting day for Jack Frost. After spending the majority of the morning and afternoon creating snow storms and snow days in various cities, Jack had found himself being pursued by Nightmares in Jamie's hometown, which had been one of Jack's last stops. He had created a snow day there earlier; one of his best, but his cheerful mood had quickly dissipated with the arrival of the dark creatures. Jack had immediately led the Nightmares as far away from the children as he could, which took him deep into the forest. Fending off the creatures one by one and drawing them away took all of his concentration.
As soon as Jack became aware of where he was, he understood that he had been manipulated into going in the direction of Pitch's lair. Jack hadn't been anywhere near there since Pitch had been dragged off by his own Nightmares about five years earlier. Try as he might, Jack was unable to change his tactics, as every time he defeated one of his attackers, another one took its place, and every time the winter spirit tried to use the wind to escape, a Nightmare would rear up and he'd have to stop what he was doing to avoid being hit. Jack was driven down into the hole that was visible in the ground again, though this time no dilapidated bed frame marked the entrance.
Jack landed lightly on his feet, and used his staff to fend off any of the Nightmares that strayed too close to him. As he was defending himself, he ended up being led further into Pitch's domain. Jack finished off two of the Nightmares that had been harassing him for most of the time, and redoubled his grip on his staff, instantly on alert once he realized that he was in the center of Pitch's home. The remaining Nightmares had quite suddenly stopped attacking Jack, and had retreated a short distance away. They were gathered in the surrounding shadows, glowing eyes now watching him from afar, waiting.
Ice blue eyes scanned the gloom for the familiar figure that shouldn't have been able to regain this much power so soon. Jack didn't want to see Pitch, because he reminded him that they had had similar desires, before Jack had become a Guardian. Wanting to be believed in. Jack was grateful that all he had ever done around the children was cause mischief before they had really begun to believe in him. He had never done anything to frighten the children; he just caused a little harmless fun. Being in this darkened place again brought unwanted memoires to the forefront of his mind, and Jack wanted nothing more than to get out as soon as possible. No matter what he and the other Guardians did, there would always be a little fear somewhere, and in turn, Pitch Black. All the Guardians could do was to ensure that enough children believed in them, so that Pitch wouldn't be able to gain a footing like he had before.
Soft laughter cut through Jack's musings and echoed throughout the underground lair. In the silence that followed a smooth, disembodied voice spoke, as if amused by the pale teen's sudden visit, "Good evening, Frost. It is nice of you to…drop in."
"What do you want Pitch?" Why else would the man have bothered to have so many Nightmares attack him, and specifically lure him here, if Pitch didn't want something? Especially since Jack doubted that Pitch had all that much power to spare. It was obvious that the Nightmare King wanted something from him.
As a response to the question, Pitch appeared out of the shadows with no warning, wielding his scythe. It was clear that Pitch was not in the mood for banter, and was instead out for blood, if the curl of his lips and the flashing in his eyes was any indication of his mood. In fact, he seemed quite gleeful at the chance for a fight.
The sight of Pitch going from playfully bemused with his obvious discomfort to sudden killing mode caused Jack to hesitate for a second before he snapped out of his initial shock. Pitch's expression made it seem like he wanted nothing more than to tear Jack limb from limb and then find some clever way to put him back together to do it all over again. It wasn't a very pleasant thought, and Jack was taken aback at the amount of hostility directed at him. It appeared to be a bit too extreme of a reaction. Jack lifted his staff and countered the swinging weapon. "You trying to tell me something?" Jack queried, as he danced out of range. He blocked the next attack, and back stepped to shoot a few bursts of ice at the other man, only to watch in frustration as Pitch batted the ice aside into the shadows with one hand before moving in with his scythe again. "Is this a guessing game? Am I supposed to figure out what you're thinking?" The feel of Pitch's blows brooked no room for mistakes, and it seemed the dark-haired man was going to do some serious damage if only allowed an opportunity.
The two danced around in the underground gloom, passing by the stationary Nightmares as they parried and blocked attacks, ice and shadows hitting and fusing together in elaborate structures from small to large, depending on the intensity of the ice bursts Jack was sending Pitch's way. Each of them was trying to throw the other off and gain an advantage, before the fight would stretch on for too long and their reactions would begin to slow. Jack swung his staff at Pitch's feet to get him to back away, and barely managed to get the staff back up in time to block a heavy blow from an overhead strike. Jack lightly bit his lip as he received a shallow gash in one of his shoulders, as he had misjudged the reach of the downward swinging scythe.
Pitch's lips twisted into a mocking smile as he leaned into his weapon. As the teen strained to compensate for the increase in weight, Pitch suddenly drew back, and opened the palm of his free hand. Jack twisted wildly to avoid the almost arrow-like attack. It was the same kind that had been used on the Sandman. If Pitch was disappointed that he had missed, it didn't show, as he gripped the scythe with both hands and lashed out again. Jack was forced backwards as he took the full force of the strike, amazed that his staff was still whole after parrying each attack.
Throughout the fight, Pitch hadn't uttered a single word. Instead, he was staring at Jack intently, his eyes gleaming brighter at every little mistake that the other made. The sneers aimed in his direction let Jack know that Pitch could have done some damage from each of those mistakes, but had decided that it was more fun to wear him down and wait for a huge mistake to be made to take advantage of. As the battle stretched out, Jack was becoming painfully aware of the fact that he was all alone, and that there was no one to watch his back or save him if he happened to make a bad decision. The Nightmare King seemed to expect him to do just that.
"Whatever you're trying to do won't work." Jack said. "If you're trying to drive me into a corner, you'll be disappointed. I've gotten stronger since the last time we fought. I can take care of myself without help from my friends."
Again, he received no response, and Jack twisted out of the way of the scythe. He realized that he now had an opportunity to strike at Pitch to get through his defenses. Jack spun, raising his staff over his head. If he struck at the right moment and froze the scythe, he wouldn't have to worry about leaving his chest exposed. After all, a frozen scythe wouldn't be moving fast enough to cause any damage, and he would be able to dodge a slow moving weapon. It would then be possible for him make a getaway, catch his breath, and get as far away from Pitch as he could. Jack would inform the others as soon as he was able to. Jack leapt up over the scythe swiping sideways at him, and aimed to hit Pitch with an overhead strike, to bring the fight to an end. However, things didn't go the way Jack planned, as Pitch backed out of range abruptly, which caused Jack to land on the ground unexpectedly. He stumbled, his balance thrown off from the rough landing, which left him wide open to an attack.
Pitch darted forward to take advantage of Jack's miscalculation, and swung his scythe, not at Jack, as the other had fully expected, but at Jack's staff. Jack let out a gasp of surprise as his staff was roughly driven out of his hand from the force of the blow, and automatically turned to reclaim it. While Jack wasn't looking, Pitch turned the scythe over in an almost lazy way, and used the butt end of the scythe to smack Jack hard in the chest, sending him hurtling backwards into a nearby pillar.
Jack let out a pained choke at the impact, and before he could recover, the scythe came swinging up in a graceful arc, sweeping around to pin Jack to the pillar. The blade ripped through his hoodie just below his left collarbone and dug into the pillar just above his right hip. The weapon bit into his skin beneath the clothing, but not deep enough to be considered a critical wound.
Jack found that his left arm's movement was restricted due to the blade being partially embedded below his collarbone. His right arm wasn't pinned, but Jack couldn't do much more then lift it. He tried to pull the scythe away from him with a careful tug, but it wouldn't budge. Jack realized quickly that he couldn't free himself. The pale teen was trapped, and his staff was laying somewhere on the ground in the surrounding darkness, out of his reach. The fact that he was now defenseless made Jack struggle against the makeshift restraint with more energy, despite the pain it caused him. The white-haired teen wasn't afraid just yet, as he was currently more frustrated with himself for making such a careless mistake. He couldn't believe he had allowed himself to become distracted.
Jack did his best to ignore Pitch, who was moving from shadow to shadow, contemplating his opponent, still eerily silent. Jack knew he couldn't ignore the other man for long. Jack didn't want to be startled, so he didn't bother trying to track Pitch's movement in the gloom. Jack expected that Pitch would eventually appear before him to gloat, and spoke up in an attempt to draw the other out of hiding, "Want to tell me why you attacked me? Pent up frustration?"
"I think I'll let you come up with potential reasons but never tell you why. It's more interesting for me to keep you in the dark." Pitch continued to lazily circle the trapped Guardian, just out of sight in the shadows, a small smile playing across his lips, "That was easier than I thought it would be though. Are you becoming so at ease that you don't practice with the others for potential sneak attacks?"
Jack laughed at that, "Why would I need to practice anything when I've already beaten you once?"
Pitch pointedly ignored the jibe, and came to stand before the pillar to make eye contact with Jack. "Oh no, I suppose you wouldn't be doing anything like that, would you? You're all fun, fun, fun. Why ever would you need to practice fighting? It's almost as if you expect to be able to beat me by flinging your ice in my general direction." Pitch shook his head, "Such a shame. The other Guardians are so much more competent when it comes to fighting prowress."
The way Pitch was now so at ease made Jack believe that the sallow man had been feigning the whole time about wanting to chop him into tiny bits. Still, having that animosity aimed at him had been uncomfortable. Jack bestowed Pitch with an unhappy glower, before focusing on trying to free himself, as he didn't want to stick around to find out if Pitch would summon up an arrow and finish what he started. Jack brought his left hand up as much as he could, to the thicker end of the blade beneath his collarbone, and attempted to freeze the scythe this time around, to try and break the blade away. Or even loosen the thing, "Why don't we find out whether I need any practice with this out of the way? I seemed to be doing just fine before you cheated." Jack challenged, looking up from his failed freezing of the scythe.
Pitch watched the winter spirit struggle uselessly, wearing a thin smile as he spoke calmly in response, "Taking advantage of an enemy when they make such an obvious mistake is not cheating. It's called tactics, and what happened is no one's fault but your own for looking away from the enemy." Unimpressed with Jack's display of trying to freeze the scythe and wriggle free, Pitch waved a hand, and tendrils extended from the shadows. They wrapped around Jack's wrists, pinning them against the pillar, the right above his head, the other at his side, effectively stopping further escape attempts.
Jack winced as his arms were restrained, but refused to become fearful. Instead, he gave Pitch a smug smile. For one thing, Jack knew it would frustrate Pitch that he wasn't afraid. For another, Jack knew that the once the other Guardians noticed his absence, they would soon figure out what had happened and come to find him. They wouldn't take too kindly to someone kidnapping one of their own, especially since it was Pitch.
Pitch returned Jack's smug smile with one of his own, albeit a rather terrifying one, "Your friends won't be coming to your rescue. I will see to that personally."
A Nightmare came forward, stopping at its masters' side with a low whiny. Pitch stroked the Nightmare as he slid a glance in Jack's direction, but said nothing. He would let his previous words sink in and take effect, hopefully drawing out some form of fear…
Jack knew what Pitch was trying to do, and refused to allow such a poor attempt to work, "You won't have much luck against them, Pitch. You know that they are much stronger than you are right now. They can take care of themselves." It stung a little to say that, to basically admit that he wasn't nearly as good at protecting himself as he thought he was, given his current predicament.
Pitch began to meander around in the gloom away from Jack, searching around on the ground for something, "Together, perhaps they would be able to, but alone? They will be easy prey…" Pitch paused, spotting what he had been looking for. He bent over and picked up Jack's staff, before rising fluidly. The Nightmare King glanced at the staff in his hand for a moment, before he cast a look over his shoulder, finishing what he had been saying, "…Especially if they are distracted…" Pitch turned and bared his teeth in a savage grin, waving the staff at Jack mockingly. "I believe I'll start with North. My Nightmares have informed me that he's currently alone, looking for you."
Jack could tell that he was being baited, but couldn't help but respond, "You are definitely no match for North." Jack was only sorry that he wouldn't get to see the fight. "Too bad I can't I can't be there to watch North defeat you. It'd definitely be a one-sided battle and you know it." The thought of being rescued by North, while not exactly a bad thing, meant that Jack would have to hear what North thought of Jack allowing himself to be captured by an enemy. Teasing seemed to be in his immediate future, and Jack wasn't particularly looking forward to it.
"One-sided? Really? Am I not a match for him? I need only a small opening, and with this…" The staff was waved again, "I doubt I will have trouble finding one." Pitch gave the white-haired teen a mocking bow, before he drifted away into the shadows, taking Jack's staff with him. The Nightmares remained behind to stand guard and prevent any escape attempts while their master was gone.
Jack didn't have any idea how much time had gone by, but he had long since given up trying to free himself. The wounds from the scythe, while not life threatening, hurt when he moved too much, and it wasn't worth it to continue if it kept making the injuries deeper. The scythe just wouldn't budge, and he was having trouble getting ice and frost to form. Whether that was just him being weary and injured or from the scythe being ice proof, he wasn't sure. Jack perked up when Pitch stumbled out of the shadows, leaning heavily against a Nightmare to keep himself standing. Jack smiled at the sight of Pitch wounded. Good, he had been right after all; Pitch had been no match for the bearded Guardian. "Run into some yetis?" Jack asked in a falsely polite tone. That he would have loved to see; a defeated Pitch being thrown out of North's home via yeti and a magic portal, or from wherever North had happened to be.
Pitch, noticing how heavily he was leaning against the Nightmare, pushed away from it, and approached Jack after leaning the staff against the Nightmare. Pitch was breathing heavily, but managed to offer a smirk as he dropped something on to the ground before the pillar, "Whoever said there were any yetis around?" Pitch leaned up against another nearby Nightmare, and waited for his words and what he had dropped to bring forth a reaction.
Jack's smile vanished, and he couldn't stop from experiencing a small flash of fear as he stared in disbelief at what Pitch had dropped. North's weapons. There was no way that North would have parted with them. Not without a fight. And if North had fallen, Pitch would have had to deal with a lot of angry yetis, and he didn't appear to be as battered as Jack would have expected. Was Pitch lying to him about there being no yetis around? Then again, it was more likely that Pitch had attacked North, and then slipped into the shadows like the coward he was, before anyone came looking for North. Jack gave himself a little internal shake. He couldn't think about the idea of North being dead and gone. It was too terrible a thing to fathom. If Jack denied it, he could keep the mounting fear inside of him from making itself known to Pitch, at least some of it. But it was a very hard thing to do, seeing the weapons lying on the ground before him.
Pitch relished the small amount of fear he was able to pick up from Jack, and withdrew something from the folds of his cloak, "Oh, and while I was at it, here…" Pitch added something next to the sabers. Bunnymund's boomerangs. Pitch ran a hand over one shoulder as if it were bothering him, and gave a slightly exaggerated sigh, "That little detour caused me to return a bit later than I expected." Pitch resumed circling Jack and the pillar, even though he had a bit of a limp, and he began laughing softly as he enjoyed the anger and the fear rolling off of the winter spirit, "My, my, now why are you so upset? Worried about your friends' safety? I thought you said they were perfectly capable of taking care of themselves." A condescending little laugh sounded, "Unlike you."
Jack was beginning to lose control of his fear, and was now desperately trying to convince himself that Pitch had merely found weapons that resembled those carried by North and Bunnymund. He could almost make up some plausible reason for North to be fine with the yetis potentially sensing the danger and coming to help, but Bunnymund? Would he have been fine on his own outside of the Warren? Jack was having a difficult time trying to convince himself that this was all a horrible trick, "You're lying, Pitch. There's no way you would have been able to do anything to either of them! This is all a trick. A lie!"
Pitch continued to speak, ignoring Jack's words, "Of course, there's still the Sandman to take care of, and the Tooth Fairy as well. They should prove easier to deal with, don't you think? If they are properly distracted, that is." Pitch turned from Jack, and picked up the staff from where he had left it leaned up against a Nightmare. Pitch indicated the staff now in his hand, and smirked widely at the sight of Jack gritting his teeth in pain and growing doubt.
Jack was having trouble staying positive at the thought of harm coming to his friends, and more than likely to himself, if he couldn't get out of Pitch's lair. The pale teen was distracted from his thoughts as Pitch was suddenly before him, looming over him.
"You can deny it all you like, Frost, but you'll find that your denial won't change reality." Pitch flowed from shadow to shadow before Jack, seeming to take immense pleasure in causing unease.
"Shut up." Jack snapped, not bothering to hide his mounting fear. Pitch had hit a sore spot, one that Jack had been trying to avoid thinking about. The possibility that North and Bunnymund were truly gone, and that it wasn't just some trick of Pitch's after all. It was happening, and there wasn't anything he could do about it. It was a horrible feeling of helplessness.
Instead of deterring of the other man, Jack's snapped response seemed to encourage him. Pitch smirked again and melded into the shadows.
Jack stared at where Pitch had vanished, and wondered if he was done with him yet. Jack stiffened when Pitch made his next move. Jack tensed up when he felt puffs of breath against his ear, and the sinister whisper accompanying it.
"I believe a repeat is in order for the Sandman, but what ever shall I do for Tooth's… untimely demise?"
Jack's skin crawled at the sensation of the words being spoken close to his ear, and he shivered. Jack twisted to glare at Pitch out of the corner of his eye, ignoring the pain he was in, since the movement caused the scythe to dig in deeper. "Why should I believe anything you have to say?" Jack was having difficulty trying to think clearly with Pitch being in such close proximity.
Pitch smiled pleasantly in response to the glare, pleased with himself. "It's up to you whether or not to believe me, but why should I lie? It's not as much fun as telling the truth." He was further pleased when he realized that Jack wasn't comfortable with him being so close. Pitch slid nearer, "Why Jack, do you not like people being in such close quarters to you?"
Jack's glare intensified as he shifted minutely against the restraints, "No, it's just you. Get back. Now."
An idea crossed Pitch's mind about a way to draw out fear from his enemy more effectively, due to Jack's obvious discomfort. The Nightmare King grinned, "I don't remember having this much fun in years, Frost. You're making this quite...enjoyable."
Pitch slid from the shadows to be before Jack. Pointedly ignoring the warning glare fixed on him, Pitch moved in close, and raised a long finger, tracing it in a line from one side of the teen's collarbone to the other, "Perhaps I could slice across here. That would be quick and relatively painless, after the initial loss of blood, of course. Wouldn't you agree?"
It was then that Pitch learned three things. That Jack Frost was indeed cold to the touch, and that he didn't like to hear threats being directed toward his friends. And most importantly of all, not only did Jack not like being in such close quarters to him, Jack disliked Pitch's touch even more.
Jack recoiled from Pitch's fingers, despite being securely pinned, "Don't touch me!" He didn't know what the other had in mind but Jack didn't like where this was headed. Being trapped as he was, there wasn't much Jack could really do. It would have made him feel better if he could somehow fight back.
Further amused, Pitch did exactly the opposite. Ignoring Jack's arms twitching in their shadowy restraints, Pitch continued to trace lines lightly across Jack's body, accompanying each touch with a threat of violence; of what he could possibly do to Tooth. Pitch ghosted a hand across Jack's stomach, smirking as winter spirit tired sucking in his gut to avoid the touch.
"Get your hand away from me!" Jack gritted out, loathing the fact that his demands were falling on deaf ears.
Pitch mused aloud as he traced two fingers across Jack's stomach this time, "This could be a slash from my scythe as well." He ran a finger more heavily across Jack's chest, drawing forth a cringe as the touch jostled the fresh wound just above the embedded scythe, "Perhaps I can cut her in half? It wouldn't be too difficult to accomplish." Pitch reached over Jack's right shoulder and drew his fingers down the teen's shoulder blade slowly, drawing forth a small shudder. Pitch leaned in close to whisper in Jack's nearest ear, "I could always draw it out, you know. Tear off her wings, or damage some ligaments, to prevent her from escaping."
Desperate, Jack kicked out at Pitch's legs, and turned his head. He lunged forward to bite at Pitch's shoulder in an attempt to get the man out of his breathing space and away from him, snarling, "Shut up! You leave her alone! Do anything to harm her, and you'll regret it!"
Pitch merely leaned back and stepped out of range, fascinated that Jack would try to bite him, and then abruptly found the idea incredibly funny. The Nightmare King waited just out of reach, unperturbed by Jack's outburst, "You know, maybe I should see if I could turn a handful of Tooth's workers into my own? Let them dispatch her for me? Watch her fall into despair as she realizes that her own fairies have turned against her, and that no one was around to save her from her little friends?"
"Shut up, shut up!" Jack couldn't take much more of this. The idea of anyone physically harming Tooth, or any of the other Guardians was horrifying. It was even worse at the moment, as he was helpless to prevent it from happening if he continued to be trapped here.
Pitch approached his trapped enemy slowly, blocking a kick as he invaded Jack's personal space again. "Your defiance is starting to bore me. An opponent who won't admit defeat is a fool. Let's fix that, shall we?" Pitch brought his face close to Jack's, gripping the other's chin tightly with one long fingered hand. "I've thought of something even better. Perhaps I could see if I could manipulate you into doing the deed? I rather doubt the influence would last long, but can you imagine the look on her face if a Guardian, a friend at that, did something like that to her?" Pitch let go of Jack's chin with a careless flick of his hand, and he backed away. Jack had gone strangely silent, and Pitch delivered the rest of his words with a hint of soft menace to his voice, "And the best part about it? You would be screaming on the inside because you'd see yourself bringing the Tooth Fairy's life to an end, powerless to stop yourself until it was too late."
Pitch's golden eyes had bored into Jack's as the threat was delivered, finally making something inside of Jack break. Pitch's smooth words had struck him hard. In this gloomy place, with no way of knowing whether some his friends were truly gone or not, Jack had finally had enough. The thought of harming Tooth was the last straw, and he let out an anguished cry of, "No! Why are you doing this? Stop it! Stop! I can't take it anymore! Please…stop…"
Pitch, satisfied that had done what he set out to do, melded into the surrounding shadows, and stood silently, basking in Jack's fear and despair.
After Pitch's last threat, Jack had been so terrified with the idea of ever harming any of his friends, that he could barely piece together any coherent thoughts. It was once he had finally calmed down a little that he realized that Pitch had been gone for some time, and the blue-eyed teen started to wonder again why the other was doing this to him. Jack became perfectly still as a thought came to mind, his arms twitching in their shadowy restraints. No, it couldn't be. Pitch wouldn't have done all that just to scare him. Would he? Pitch had wanted Jack to be fearful for the other Guardians' safety. That way, the gray-skinned man could draw power from those fears. Misery swept over the normally cheerful Jack. It did make sense, now that Pitch was gone and the winter spirit had some time to think back over the past several hours or however the hell long he had been down here.
It was then, at Jack's realization that this may have indeed been a trick after all, that Pitch decided to move into view again. Pitch had been lurking in the shadows of his lair, observing Jack, and Pitch had shown himself when he sensed that suspicion was now replacing Jack's previous fear.
Jack, looking defeated and upset, glanced up sharply as Pitch came into view, looking none the worse for the wear. A mocking smile was hovering around the Nightmare King's lips, and it was then that Jack knew for sure that he had been duped, and that he had fallen right into Pitch's trap with relative ease, "You didn't harm them. You just stole their weapons, didn't you?"
Pitch allowed the mocking smile to change into a triumphant grin, as if he found Jack to be quite entertaining for not figuring all of this out sooner, "Well, of course. I thrive on fear, after all. What good would the Guardians be if they were all dead?" The grin turned sinister, and the voice was now dripping with sarcasm, "Oh wait, it would be good, because then I'd have no competition. No one would be getting in the way and ruining all of my plans." Pitch waved a hand carelessly in the air, "I didn't regain my strength back all the way, but when I do? Who knows? Perhaps I will succeed." Pitch snapped his fingers, and the scythe and the tendrils of shadows that had been restraining Jack vanished.
Jack immediately collapsed to the ground with a grunt of pain. Wincing, Jack bit back a moan as his wounds were jostled from the impact. Having his arms bound above his head for so long caused them to be stiff and sore, and concerned him more than the blade wound. The white-haired teen shakily propped himself up, knowing how pathetic he must have looked, as a dark chuckle sounded from somewhere overhead.
Jack lifted his head to glare defiantly at Pitch, though the expression wavered at the sight of his staff in the Nightmare King's grasp. Jack and Pitch began a staring match, and while Jack was trying to squash any fear down, he couldn't help but remember the phantom sound of his staff being snapped in two, and the pain that had accompanied it. The uncomfortable silence stretched out to the point of being nearly unbearable, before Pitch seemed to finally grow bored of the staring contest. Pitch tossed the staff at Jack, who forced himself up on one arm, and caught the staff with his other hand. Once he had his staff back, Jack held it to his chest like it was a life line. After allowing himself a moment of relief, Jack braced himself against the staff, using it to balance as he tried to stand up.
Pitch loomed up behind Jack again. He watched Jack's slow progress to rise to his feet, before leaning over and seizing the teen's shoulders in a light grip. This sudden touch caused a massive shock of fear to run through Jack, and Pitch's lips twitched in sadistic pleasure at eliciting such a strong response. Allowing no time for retaliation, Pitch took off and soon the two of them appeared in the clearing of the forest. It was a dark night, as the moon was obscured by thick clouds.
Pitch leaned in close to Jack's ear, his hands curling over the other's shoulders as he whispered, "Sooner or later, Jack, I will return to full strength, and when that happens, my threats will become reality." Pitch slowly slid his hands off of Jack's shoulders, and turned away, "I do hope you'll be ready."
Jack, slightly recovered, lashed out with his staff, only to find himself facing nothing. Pitch had melted into the surrounding shadows.
The Nightmare King's voice echoed around the winter spirit, "When that time does come, we will see whether you made the right decision in becoming a Guardian, instead of siding with me."
Jack clutched his staff close, expecting one last attack. Instead, the teen jumped as North and Bunnymund's weapons dropped out of the shadows to land near him.
"Farewell for now, Jack." Pitch left the forest clearing through a shadow, and emerged back into his own realm, feeling much better than usual after all of the fear he had brought out in Jack. It had been delicious, soaking up all of the raw fear. Pitch rather doubted that Jack would recover fully any time soon. In the meantime, the gray skinned man decided that he would brush up on entrapment spells after all. It just wouldn't do if he couldn't follow through on his threats.
Jack stared at the weapons on the ground for a moment, before lifting his gaze to where Pitch had vanished. Jack shook his head, muttering to himself, "I have to stop being afraid. It was just a trick. A lie." He needed to stop giving Pitch what he wanted. Jack shook his head again, a little harder this time. What would the Guardians have to say if they found him like this? Jack was sure that they would worry about him for a little while, but then he'd be his cheerful self again, and no one would realize that he had kept something to himself. If Jack did decide to tell them about what happened, he knew that they would tell him to not believe a word Pitch had said to him. Jack still couldn't help but wonder that if Pitch were to gain power again, would he actually follow through with his threats?
The pale teen wasn't to have much time to himself to ponder, as North's sleigh appeared overhead suddenly, Bunnymund leaping from the ground soon after. Tooth darted out from North's sleigh as soon as it landed, and approached Jack.
The white-haired teen silently handed the boomerangs to Bunnymund, who took them back, equally as silent as he stared at Jack's battered appearance, "What happened to you, mate?" Bunnymund didn't like the lack of a smile on the other's face. It seemed out of character for the normally mischievous winter spirit.
Jack just shook his head wordlessly, not sure how to convey the horrors. He believed it would cause more worry than his quiet state would now.
For once, Tooth wasn't distracted by Jack's teeth, as the haunted look Jack wore as he looked at her caught her immediate attention. She had never seen that kind of expression on him, and it made her concern for him grow. Tooth flitted closer to him, as North jumped out of the sleigh in the background, "Jack? Are you all right? What's wrong? What happened?"
Jack stared, watching the flutter of her wings, and the way she tilted her head, eyes full of worry for him. The winter spirit couldn't imagine ever doing any harm to Tooth, willing or not. Pitch's words came crawling into the back of his mind the longer Jack looked at Tooth, and it caused him to imagine the violent things that had been described to him. The light touches of where the harm would be caused. Jack couldn't break himself from the memory of those cruel, smoothly spoken words, and he broke down into a sob as he reached out to Tooth wordlessly. Jack hadn't given Pitch the satisfaction of seeing just how much of an impact he had made with his words. Only the Guardians would see him in this state.
North bent to retrieve his weapons as Jack wrapped Tooth in a snug hug, bringing her to the ground with him. The way Jack hugged Tooth made it seem like she was the only thing keeping him sane at the moment as he cried into her shoulder. North and Bunnymund were alarmed by this behavior, as it just wasn't Jack, and North found himself starting to feel his anger rise, with a dash of fear, "This is Pitch's doing. Who else would do such thing?" North shook his head, though inwardly he was furious. Whatever had been said or done to Jack had caused this change in his friend, and that was not all right. North and Bunnymund exchanged grim glances, and turned in unison to look for the entrance to Pitch's home, and found nothing. The hole was gone. Pitch had temporarily cut his realm off from any potential retribution.
Jack tightened his hold on Tooth, relieved beyond words that she was perfectly fine, and vowed to keep it that way. He would keep a closer watch on his friends, and would be ready the next time Pitch was around.
The Sandman was nearby, having just floated down on a pile of dream dust, to look worriedly at Jack still clinging to Tooth like she was the last person on Earth. Sandman then turned to North, a question mark appearing over his head, followed by an image of Pitch.
North shook his head again, "Jack will be fine. We make sure of that. I'm thinking we should keep closer eye on Pitch."
"You got that right." Bunnymund agreed, running a paw pensively over one of his boomerangs as he glanced back over at Jack, who was now having his back patted gently by Tooth, who had finally managed to free one of her arms.
Pitch ran a hand along a nearby Nightmare's head. "Jack is so much fun, isn't he? Let's see if he'll still be fun to be around in the future. I…fear… I may have gone too far this time around." Pitch laughed at his little joke, before he stilled, and tilted his head suddenly. It was a moment before he started smiling in satisfaction. A few of his Nightmares had gotten to some children while the other Guardians had been frantically searching for Jack. It had all been part of the plan, though he hadn't thought more than one or two of the Nightmares would slip through the Guardians' defenses. A bonus for him.
Pitch conversed in a low tone to the Nightmare he was standing next to, "I knew that showing off Jack's staff to North would do the trick. After all, Jack never lets go of his precious staff for too long, and certainly never would have willingly parted with it. Especially not to me." Pitch stoked the Nightmare, smiling now, "I watched from the shadows as North informed the other Guardians what had happened. It was far too easy to sneak away their weapons when they started bickering about how they were going to go about rescuing Jack." Pitch dropped his hand from the Nightmare and his fingers slid gingerly over the shoulder he had touched earlier. Even though he had told Jack there had been no yetis, it had been said to further draw the pale teen into a fearful state. Pitch hadn't technically lied, as he hadn't been around yetis when he had first confronted North. Pitch ran a hand along the shoulder again, wincing ever so slightly. Those Yetis were rather fast for such large creatures. One had almost caught him, but the shadows had been abundant in the area, and Pitch was soon gone with his prizes.
Pitch enjoyed the new fear he sensed from the children, and ran a hand along the Nightmare's head once more, before strolling off with an almost jaunty spring in his step. The jaunt was further heightened when the other Guardians found Jack in the forest clearing, fearful for him at the state he was in. Pitch took in a deep breath as the fear he sensed increased in its intensity, and sighed contentedly, "Ahh, fear. What a wonderful thing it is."
I had hoped that Pitch would have taunted Jack a bit more than he did before handing over the teeth in the movie, so that part of the movie was the inspiration for this fic (yeah, the movie was for kids, so obviously it couldn't be too dark). If anyone cares, I refer to Jack as a teen, because in my mind, using the term 'boy' would mean that the character was Jamie-aged.
Is it wrong that I really enjoyed writing this? Let me know what you thought of it, as it's a darker tone of story than I normally post. I found that I enjoyed writing more of a psychological mind game kind of plot. Plus I really like writing bad guys and letting them win a round against the good guy. As a side note, I do realize that the past/present may have been slightly off, but hopefully it wasn't too distracting. I may write another RotG fic in the future, if I get any more ideas (I do still have another one shot I'm working on).