In which a young winter spirit meets an ancient nightmare, and everything changes.
((So a HUGE THANK YOU to you guys. For me the Evil Boyfriends journey was over a while ago, but posting it over here has brought it back a bit for me and it was wonderful seeing a new group of people leaving your wonderful encouraging comments. YOU GUYS ARE THE AWESOME ONES!
Though I'm muttering angrily because is completely botching the formatting I had done on this document. Bah.)
"Is there something I'm doing wrong?"
The moon shines down, big and bright.
Same as it ever was.
Jack twists his hands around the staff and looks away from it, frowns down at the ground and at the frost forming under his feet. He's found a wide open field, barren now after the harvest. He likes the large spaces, it makes him feel exposed, like there was no way anyone couldn't see him standing on his own here.
"I mean...I've talked to others now...like me. Kind of like me at least. They said everything's here for a reason. Someone like me...I should have some believers right? You made me from human legends they said..."
He looks back up, stares up into the moon, hoping he'll see something he didn't before. Some sign that he had just missed.
The moon shines on. Wide and blank.
Same as it ever was.
Jack sighs and looks back to his hands, chewing his lip as he watches the frost move over the staff wherever he touches. "But...no one sees me. Even around where I woke up. And I think I'm doing what I'm supposed to. I When I'm having fun with the kids it feels RIGHT. But if that's not right then..." he pauses, glances away, then back up with a firm set in his jaw. "Then I think you could at least give me a hint!"
The moon shines on.
"If he's decided not to talk to you then I'd stop bothering." Says a low voice behind him.
Jack whips around so fast he nearly falls over, as it is he ends up hovering just off the ground holding his staff like a shield in front of him. Frost shoots out from his hands and crackles over the staff, bright and cold.
The man at the fence looks utterly bored with the display. He's definitely not human. The shadows cling to him like they're stuck to his dark robe. Even in the full moon it's hard to tell where the man begins and shadows end, he's a dark, stoney grey with luminous silvery eyes that watch Jack with minimal interest. He looks tall, stupidly tall, but it's hard to tell with how he's leaning over with an elbow on the fence and resting his chin on his hand.
"God! You scared me!" Jack sighs, lowering his staff.
The man's mouth twists in a little wry smile.
"Oh good, that's a relief. I haven't heard that in a while."
Relief? Jack frowns, waiting for some explanation. Or an introduction, since Jack was here first and all.
The tall man returns Jack's puzzled frown with the same look of utter and complete boredom.
"Alright..." Jack finally says, before the silence gets ridiculous. "so usually this is when you introduce yourself. Since you walked up and scared me out of my wits."
"You weren't actually scared." The man interrupts, "just startled. Unfortunately."
"I...alright then." The man doesn't seem to have any intention of leaving. But he also doesn't seem to be interested in hurting Jack at all, just in sitting there and being vaguely unnerving. "So, since you're not going to go first. I'm Jack. Jack Frost."
"Pitch" The man says after a short pause. "I've had plenty of more interesting titles, but you can call me Pitch Black."
It's familiar in a way that tugs on Jack's mind. It's something he should know, something he's heard before. Whispers about a time of dark, when the shadows ruled and everything was-
"You're the boogeyman." Jack breathes, eyes widening. The man wrinkles his nose at the name, like it's some childhood taunt he'll never be rid of.
"That," Pitch says shortly, "is not one of the more interesting titles. Of course it's the one that sticks." He sighs loudly and straightens up from the fence, frowning up at the moon while crossing his arms.
"I haven't talked to the dear Man in the Moon in thousands of years, if he has decided you're not worth talking to, then you won't be getting any answers from him. Consider yourself abandoned."
He says it so matter of factly, like it's something plain and simple. Pitch says it like it's something light and casual, like it's some comment on the weather. Like it doesn't stab through Jack. Doesn't hurt like the the yanking pain of children walking through him.
"Then why...why did he put me here? If he's abandoned me why can't he just...tell me why?!" He clenches his hands, the hollow feeling in his chest starts to fill, turns to ice and sharp cold as frost crackles over the ground. "Why couldn't he just tell me!?"
There's a shifting noise and Jack starts when a shadow comes over him, blocking out the moon. He jumps back a foot from where Pitch looms over him, looking at him curiously. "Woah! Could you not give me a heart attack?"
"No." Pitch says blandly, "You're new?"
New?! He isn't new! He's been here for too long as far as he's concerned! He's seen generations go by! "I'm almost one hundred!"
Pitch looks at him pityingly, "Barely made then."
"You're freshly woken," Pitch says, sounding more intrigued now as he begins circling Jack, frowning at him like he's a puzzle, "and you have no believers?"
"I-...how do you-?"
"Don't play stupid child, you were asking the moon what you were doing wrong. Believers are what you should be called from, we are made from the thoughts of humans."
"I know! I know that I just..." He's heard this before. Had it explained to other passing spirits. It's nothing new, though Pitch has hung around longer than most others.
"What were you before?" Pitch asks mildly.
Jack frowns at the strange question. Before? Before what?
"What do you mean, before?"
Pitch isn't even looking at him anymore, instead he's gazing up at the moon again as he waves a hand loosely in Jack's general direction. "Before this. Usually what you were before is related."
The shadows go still. It's an odd thing, seeing even the shadows from the grass freeze when Pitch tilts his head to look at him. At first Jack had thought he was just a little creepy, but now he can see how this man, with his birdlike face and eyes gleaming in the light, could inspire nightmares.
"You don't have any memories?" Pitch asks slowly. There's something more to the question. Something that's making the silvery grey of Pitch's eyes flash with gold. It's something that seems far too deep for Jack, something that could pull him in.
The shadows shift, curl around him curiously, and Jack appreciates someone actually looking at him, asking him about himself but...well.
He wishes that he had someone less creepy pay attention to him.
"Should I have memories?"
"Hm." Pitch hums, unhelpfully. "Interesting." With that wonderful observation, he turns and walks off. Leaving Jack staring open mouthed and sputtering at the lean back.
"Hey! Wait! Hold on a minute!" He flies over and hovers alongside Pitch, ignoring the way the shadows swirl like mist wherever the tall man steps. God Jack must really be desperate for someone to talk to if he's still trying with this guy. "You can't just walk away!"
"You are an interesting puzzle, but my Nightmares are beginning their work. And as odd as you are, I don't have the freedom to indulge in random musings like I used to."
"So you're just...leaving?" Pitch is weird, he's a little creepy, and he may be the legendary boogeyman that even spirits still whisper about. But this is one of the longest conversations Jack has add, weird or not. And he can't help but be a little curious, as to what the grand Nightmare King of old is like.
Pitch stops then, but he doesn't look at Jack. Instead he looks up at the moon again, frowning intently before sighing and bringing his eyes to the dark forest ahead of them.
"I'm not the answer to your loneliness." He finally says. There's something deeper in his words again. Something that seems familiar.
"No! God, no! I hope not geeze. No offense but you're kinda weird.. I just...could I come with you? Just for a little while. I didn't even know the boogeyman was still around. And not a lot of spirits take the time to talk to me, even for a little bit. I won't get in the way!"
"You just called me 'weird'." Pitch points out mildly, mouth twitching in a strange way "and you expect me to let you follow me around as I work?"
Pitch turns slightly to look at him then. Jack can't read anything in those odd eyes, which...were they gold now? Or grey. Either way, there's something strange and searching in Pitch's gaze as he looks over Jack.
"If you must."
Centuries go by.
They laugh later, when they remember their meeting. At how ordinary it was. Nothing grand had happened, there hadn't been any feeling of the inevitable, of what was to come.
It would have been impossible to see then, how they would change.
How Jack, long after the blue sweatshirt has been reduced to nothing but worn threads, wears a hooded, fitted shirt made from shadows like a second skin.
And Pitch isn't even sure when he noticed that the frost on the edge of his robe stopped melting. When it became a permanent embellishment of lacy silver swirling on the hem of shadow.
Centuries go by.
They scream and rage, tear each other apart and build themselves back up. They clash and explode and meld together in new ways.
They find a new place for themselves in the world. They find a balance and make a small world of their own.
A world where everything is Pitch Black, and Jack Frost.