A/N: I apologize for the wait, the shortness of this chapter, as well the not-so-intense content. My mind wasn't working as well as I'd hoped.


'You first.'

Those words rang in the boy's ears as he spun in a one-eighty, looking desperately for some sort of physical, tangible sighting of the boogeyman. But all he saw were shadows.

"Come now Jack, we don't need to fight. After all, we're practically the same." A whisper in his ear had Jack shivering, whirling and sending a patch of ice hurtling towards the now visible Pitch.

"We're nothing alike! You and I, we're not the same." Frost spat, narrowing his ice blue eyes at the man who had dodged his attack. "I'm not like you."

Pitch laughed loudly, grey form shaking with the force of the sound. His golden gaze focused on the winter spirit as he came closer, closer, closer. His face was soon only centimeters away from Jack's own.

"You and I, are very much alike Jack Frost. Very much alike." Without another word, the man's shadows ripped the wooden staff from the younger's hands, snapping it in half.

A cry of pain bounced across the walls as it left Jack's lips. He dropped to his knees, doubled over.

"What's the matter Frost? Can't fight back?" Pitch ran his black nailed fingers down the powerless spirit's pale face. "Why Jack, you're burning up."

"H-how.. you're w-weak. I'm s-stronger." The boy whispered weakly. He was too used to having his powers that being without them, had him completely at the mercy of the nightmare king.

"Weak? You thought I was weak? Jack, Jack, Jack." Pitch chuckled. "You should never just assume. You've spent years trying to be believed in? I've spent years perfecting my nightmares. And once again, they're ready. But there's just one more, tiny little thing I need."

"And that is?" While Jack didn't want to know the answer completely, his curiosity peaked, and he found himself interested.

Those sickening hands were on him again, caressing the sides of his face as one would caress their lover. It was disgusting, and Jack was biting back the need to vomit once more.

"You, Jack. I need you. Because even though my power has increased again, I'm missing the final ingredient. A little fun. That's all I need to make this complete." The grey skinned man pulled Jack up by his white hair, shoving him against the stone wall, hard.

A grunt of pain escaped the winter spirit, his head being forced back farther than normal. The pain was pretty intense, and Jack couldn't fight the fear that threatened to swallow him whole.

"That's right Jacky boy, be afraid. Your fear is only fueling my desires, you know." The voice was in his ear, hot breath on his neck. Pitch leaned down so that his nose ran along the now heated flesh of Jack's pale neck. His desire to have him, was quite literally enveloping every sense he had. Everything was Jack Frost. "Did you know that I can help you? I can make sure children will believe in you Jack. All I need, is your center."

Jack had heard that term "center" before. He knew that at North's center, laid wonder. Bunnymund's, hope. But his? He didn't even know if he had one, let alone what it was.

"My center?" He asked, staring at the nightmare king with confusion. He had spent years trying to figure out what made the guardians so special, and why he wasn't one. If Pitch wanted his center, he'd be waiting a few more centuries.

"Yes, Jack. Your center." Pitch laughed that eerie, frightening laugh, and peered into Jack's blue eyes. "You don't know what it is, do you?" He waited for the shake of the younger's head before continuing his speech. "That's perfectly alright. Because I know already."

Blue eyes widening, Jack stared up at him. He knew? But how did he..? "If I don't even know.. how could you?"

Black robes billowing out behind him as he walked away for a moment, Pitch sighed in annoyance. "What /don't/ I know about all of you? I know every. Single. Solitary detail about every last one of you. I know the man in the moon chose you as a guardian, to help defeat me." He paused for a long moment, allowing the winter spirit to take in the new information. "But of course, North and the others decided to ignore his wishes. Because they don't trust you."

Those words were a jagged knife in his chest. He was chosen? To be one of them.. And they were refusing the man in the moon's choice? That was unheard of. When the moon tells you something, you're supposed to listen. There can be consequences for going astray. They surely knew that. Right? So why wouldn't they listen to him? Oh. Because he was Jack Frost. And Jack Frost makes a mess wherever he goes.

"That.. that's not true. I.. I wasn't.. The moon couldn't have chosen me. I.. I'm not qualified.." Jack rambled on and on about how he wasn't the best for the job. Until a shadowed hand covered his mouth, pushing his head back.

"Oh shut up for once snow cone. This is what I'm trying to tell you. You're not cut out for the stuffy life of a guardian. Because they aren't good enough for you, Jack. Because you're far too strong. They're afraid of you. But that's where I come in." Stepping from the shadows, Pitch eyes the winter spirit with glowing golden eyes. The emotion on his face hard to read. "I can give you what you want. Respect, trust, belief. All of that and more can be yours Frost. Just join me, and all of your wildest dreams will come to life before your very eyes." There was a pause, perhaps a falter in the nightmare king's thoughts. But it was so short a moment, that Jack didn't pay it any mind. "But there's something I want in return for giving you everything."

"And what is it? What do you want? I-I'll.. I'll give you anything." He was finally giving in. Pitch's words struck a chord with the boy, his insecurities being played like a fiddle.

"Your body."