Author: I'm so sorry for the huge delay! Here's the new chapter, I hope it was worth the wait.
Disclaimer: I don't own ROTG.
Ch4: Trigger Warning.
The sleigh landed a couple of yards from Jack's lake, from there on the guardians had to continue their search by foot, well Jack, Bunny and North did. Sandy and Tooth hovered at their side.
Jack led the way through the dark forest. His steps were steady, but the Frost child kept looking around, an unsure look on his face. The forest and his lake was his home. Jack had lived here even before became the spirit of Winter. No one knew this forest like him and Jack knew the forest like the back of his hand.
And yet, as he led his new friends through the woods, the Winter child couldn't help but feel like something was... Different.
The whole forest had a whole new forbidding feeling to it.
"Are you alright, Jack?" Tooth asked noticing the change in Jack's demeanor. She had been trying to keep a close eye on Jack, but that task was hard when she could feel children losing believe as their minds were overpowered by bad memories.
Jack jumped, surprised by being addressed. "Yeah," he nodded stiffly. "Just déjà vu I guess..." He shook his head, as if to clear it from something. After that he continued his way.
Behind him the four elder guardians a worried look. Jack's uneasiness was a sign.
It was beginning.
"Found it!" Jack's voice was accompanied by Baby Tooth's chirps.
Aware that they needed to hurry North, Bunnymund, Sandy and Tooth rushed to the small clearing where their Frost child waited for them. All four of them studied the spot Jack was glaring at.
A dark appearing hole in the ground covered up by a creaky old bed frame. A worse looking bed frame than before.
Not saying a word, Bunny kicked the bed frame- instantly shattering the shabby material. The big five shared a look and all nodded before they each jumped down the hole.
Pitch's lair was different from how Jack remembered it.
It seemed bigger and even more... Jack didn't have a way of describing it other than say 'all over the place'. It was impossible to tell just how many floors the place had, where the bottom or the top was.
It was so dark...
You could barely look more than two steps ahead!
And there were so many shadows. Shadows that looked like they were moving.
Shadows that moved and walls that moved.
Jack hadn't realized he had taken a couple of steps forward untill for walls made of nothing but blackness closed in on him and he was separated from his friends.
Jack wasn't the only one, somehow Pitch had separated all guardians from each other. Each of the Guardians of Childhood trapped in the shadows.
Tooth hovered in the center of the cramped space she was stuck in, her amethyst eyes alert to every movement, she tried to focus. Something that was hard as she felt her dark memories- her center!- create fear and turmoil for the children.
Why hadn't she protected them better?
Why hadn't she protected Jack better?
Any moment now Jack's repressed memories would set in and he'd remember. It was far too soon for Sweet Tooth to remember. He'd only just gotten his normal memories for MiM's sake!
"Do you feel it Toothiana?"
Pitch Black's voice from nowhere and everywhere.
The shadows in front of her moved and suddenly the boogeyman was in front of her, a twisted grin on his grey face.
"That sweet, sweet, sweet fear." Pitch said shaking his head as if to calm down. He looked her in the eye, eyes that shone like a sun eclipse looking right into her bright amethyst ones. "Of course, as the Tooth fairy, you would be against such sweetness."
The already dim light flickered and when Tooth could see again Pitch was no longer in front of her.
"So tell me,"
Tooth gasped softly and whirled around to find Pitch behind her.
"Why haven't you used these..." Pitch shuddered, a twisted look of delight on his face. "un-sweet memories before?"
Unlike Tooth, Bunny wasn't willing to just stand in the darkness and wait for Pitch to show his face.
"Pitch!" Aster cried one of his boomerangs in hand. "You shadow sneaking ratbag! Show yerself!" The pooka demanded throwing his boomerang into the darkness.
Bunnymund was surprised when a grey hand emerged from the shadows and easily caught the boomerang.
Slowly Pitch stepped out of the shadows, twirling the Easter Bunny's boomerang between his fingers. "Settle down rabbit," Pitch scolded sounding bored. "there is no point to this useless anger." The dark being opened his eyes and looked at Bunnymund with a somewhat amused look on his grey face. "After all... You already failed."
Bunny's ears wavered, but Bunnymund didn't allow them to settle against his skull. He refused to give Pitch that satisfaction. "This ain't over yet!" The pooka hissed. "We'll get those teeth back and find a way tah undo the damaged ya caused."
For some reason his words made Pitch's grin widden. "Oh, but that's not what I meant." the shade whispered mockingly holding up a finger. "These repressed memories, all those children have... Those horrible memories and experiences." Pitch shook his head, faking remorse. "Too bad there were no guardians to protect them."
This time Bunny could not stop his ears from settling against the back of his head.
And Pitch was still talking.
"No hope for what is already lost, right rabbit?"
Golden sand whips held in his fists Sandy angrily lashed out all around him, trying to chase away the darkness. Have a defense against the nightmare. Already this battle was harder than the last time.
This time Pitch wasn't going for believe, or just for the Guardians' demise.
No, this time Pitch was going for power.
Unlike the guardians Pitch didn't need believe to draw power. He needed believe to be seen.
The boogeyman drew his powers from fear and that was exactly what he was creating by triggering the repressed memories. Not just from the children, but also through the worry from their parents. Once Pitch gained power from that he'd try to create more fear.
Soon after that Pitch will try to create the Ultimate Fear.
And if the Boogeyman achieved that, then it wasn't the just the children that would be in danger. The guardians wouldn't be the only ones that would suffer from Pitch's hands. The mortal realm and the supernatural realm would feel the consequences, but not just them.
But the entire universe.
Right after Sandy came to that conclusion Pitch emerged from the shadows. "Well done old friend," Pitch praised. "you got it all figured out, haven't you?"
Nicholas st. North gripped his swords and when Pitch appeared in front of him Santa Claus lashed out, his twin swords going straight through the nightmare king who didn't so much as blink or even look down at the swords that just passed through him.
Instead Pitch looked at North, searching his face for... Something?
"You feel bad right?" Pitch questioned.
Confused North hesitated before attacking again. "What are you speaking off?"
"For Frost." Pitch clarified, speaking as if was a normal conversation, as if he wasn't talking to one of his enemies, but having a casual chat with an alley. "For leaving him alone for 300 years. For abandoning him?" Pitch asked before evaporating.
"All those years... Jack really still is a child isn't he?"
North whirled around to find Pitch suddenly behind him. Anger coursing through his veins Nicholas St. North gripped his swords. "Pitch! You leave boy out of this!" The Russian demanded charging forward, swinging his swords.
The Boogeyman didn't try to defend himself from North's attacks, he just watched North's face- smirking when he saw proof. "You care for him."
Pitch Black threw his head back and actually laughed.
"From a drunk bastard to an ignorant fool who didn't notice him till he could be useful." Pitch laughed. "Frost really has no luck when it comes down to father figures has he?"
"Jack Frost..." A voice that made Jack's skin crawl, spoke from somewhere within the small square of darkness the spirit of Winter found himself in. "Yes," Pitch mussed. "Perhaps it wasn't wise of me to use the same location for my lair as I did last time."
"Not your best hiding place to choose, Pitch." Jack taunted, gripping his staff and holding it in front of him, ready to attack for when Pitch showed his face.
"Hiding place..." Pitch Black drawled. For some reason the shade sounded awfully amused bt Jack's choice of words.
Suddenly the shadows faded and Jack could see lair fully. He saw his friends all with versions of Pitch in front of them.
Versions of Pitch that turned into heaps of nightmare sand that floated towards the center of the room where it seeped into the skin of the real Pitch Black. It was clear that Pitch was gaining strength. He was bigger, his skin darker and grin more wicked than before.
Ignoring the other guardians Pitch looked at Jack, a deranged smirk on his grey face as he spoke "I am not the one who should be hiding," again the nightmare king laughed sounding insane- no doubt due to sudden growth in power. Suddenly the mad cackling stopped and Pitch focussed on Jack again as he said his next words. "Petty Boy"
The world froze in time with Jack whose sky blue eyes widened and the frost child could do nothing but gasp as memory after memory assaulted him.
North, Tooth and Bunny all cried his name, as did Sandy in his own way. But they all knew.
It was too late,
And unwanted memories had set.