Gravity of Devils [one]
"The world will know your name!"
“Children are beginning to fear me again!”
“I’ve grown quite fond of you, Jack Frost.”
“I won’t let you go.”
“I fear nothing.”
“Only you, Jack.”
Jack woke with a sudden start, nearly falling off of his branch and toppling into a heap of snow beneath him.
He looked around quickly, not really taking anything in, just looking for the source of the voice he thought he heard. He searched the bushes in front of him, the frozen lake beneath him, even the tree itself. There were idle shadows—but he knew better than to linger on them, for his mind sometime played dangerous tricks—but there was no one to be found; at least not in the physical realms around him. Jack slowly settled back down against his branch, his mind still buzzing, his heart beat echoing in his ears and his skin set aflame.
"What a weird dream." He muttered softly, breathing in icy cold air, trying to recapture his questionable sleep.
The thing was, because Jack was immortal, he didn't really need sleep, but he could if he ever really wanted to. That, and immortals never really got tired in the first place. And it wasn't like Jack had specifically wanted sleep anyways, he had simply wanted time to move faster.
But unfortunately, Jack had shocked himself awake and couldn’t seem to lull himself back into oblivion. Jack sighed and rolled his neck from side to side slowly, stretching out his restless muscles. He ran his tattered sleeve under his nose while he blinked away the sleep in his eyes. The voice had brought back memories from twenty or so years ago—twenty long, long years ago. Man, Jack thought, I haven't thought about those days in a long time. This brought a smile to his lips.
And it had indeed been nearly twenty years since Pitch's defeat, and since Jack had really been in the company of all his friends—but of course, his time had been otherwise preoccupied with persons of interest.
Of course, Jack had stopped by Tooth's palace, visited Bunnymund's Warren, popped by North's workshop; but they were always busy with their holidays—or nightly tooth snatchings, in Tooth’s case. They had no time to entertain Jack or just lounge around and talk or enjoy a simple day with the Winter.
And yet, Jack thought, even with occasional sleep, the time had never been slower—and Jack had never felt more abandoned by his friends.
Maybe that was why he made the choices he did, Jack thought callously. He sniffed his nose clear and blinked his eyes wide once more as his mind drew on his depraved sleepiness. He shook his head vigorously, but couldn’t seem to clear the grogginess from his eyes.
And that was when Jack spotted it, across the lake. A dark form appeared and disappeared from his vision repeatedly, yet every time Jack was able to focus hard enough, the shade would disappear once more. "Who's out there?" Jack called, frustrated with his hazy mind. If the figure was human, it was highly unlikely they would hear him—but it’s always worth a shot.
Whatever it was, Jack was not amused. He gripped his staff tighter in his hands and hopped down from his branch, steadying himself as he landed awkwardly. He straightened himself up as the shade passed in front of him, then vanished once more.
But the scent that lingered on the air gave the villain away all too quickly. Jack smirked, relieved it wasn’t one of the Nightmares—but in fact, their master.
“You can come out now, Boogeyman.” Jack smiled as he ran his sleeve over his eyes once more, rubbing the black sand particles from his cerulean orbs and playing with the ebony grains between his fingertips.
Pitch steadily appeared, slipping silently from behind Jack’s tree, his lips laced with secrets he refused to tell. “Well hello, Jack. It’s good to see you again.” His voice was malicious honey to Jack’s ears, tearing at the echo of his own rapid heartbeat in his chest.
“Pitch.” Jack dipped his head slightly, but never let his eyes drift too far from the man. He stood in the center of his frozen lake, leaning his weight against the staff and waiting for the older spirit to speak. But Pitch simply glided onto the thick ice, as if he were walking on air.
“I’ve been looking for you, Jack.” Pitch spoke volumes, his eyes predatory-like and never leaving Jack’s face—he was watching, waiting for any sign of weakness that might betray Jack’s cool demeanor.
“Why?” Jack asked playfully, a smile cracking his previously flawless face. Jack straightened up and squared his shoulders as a cocky smile tore at his features. “Miss me already?”
And Pitch’s black heart skipped a beat for a moment before returning to normal. “I need something from you.” He says, ignoring the boys comment as he glided to a stop in front of the eternal body of an ageless boy.
Jack shutters from the closeness of the Dark King, but he doesn’t let it show. His lips stayed peeled back in a smile, but he gives way to a question; “so what do you want?”
The Boogeyman bent at the waist and leveled with the eternal Winter spirit, and with a straight face, he says; “a kiss.”
It was early one morning, and Jack was just barely walking out onto the rooftop of a building that seemed far too tall compared to the communities surrounding it. It was months after Pitch’s defeat, and how lovely Jack felt being part of a family—finally.
His stomach twisted in happy knots with the thought. A family, finally—but a busy, hasty family. Not one of his new family members had really spent time with him lately… Jack sighed, of course they wouldn’t—couldn’t, actually. They technically viewed him as one of the children they protected—only one with a glorious title. He was a prankster, a trickster, the Guardian of fun! While on the other hand, the others had duties to comply with, and Jack did not want to get in their way or distract him—he understood now how important the children were to the Guardians; and it wasn’t simply a job anymore, it was a duty—it was the difference between life and death, basically.
And this was where Pitch came in, creeping steadily forward on the rooftop, silent as the Devil. Jack didn’t even know he was there until the Nightmare King was right beside him, starring out at a lovely morning sky with a straight face. “Gorgeous, isn’t it?” He asked evenly.
Jack jumped with surprise and raised his staff, ready to attack. Pitch raised both of his tired hands and lowered his head. “Please, Jack, I’m not here to fight.” His voice was near monotone with even smaller amounts of inflection.
Jack studied the man quickly, then lowered his staff with an expression of pity. The King was dwindling away steadily. His skin was a paler shade of grey, and his eyes didn’t shine nearly as bright as before. Even the shadows in which Pitch Black traveled in writhed around him like snakes withering away once their heads were chopped off.
“What’s happening to you?” Jack asked, reaching out to touch the man’s slick, shining skin. A fine layer of perspiration lined Pitch’s flesh as if he were sick with some sort of influenza.
Pitch moved away from the boy, as if afraid to be touched by the Guardian—as if Jack’s hands were acid on his skin. Jack lowered his hand, hurt, but understanding. Pitch smoothed his hair back against his head and straightened up—but he didn’t hold his composure for long. Pitch sighed heavily and slouched over, crouching down to sit on the rooftop.
He held his hands in his lap, rubbing circles in his palm with his opposite thumb—Jack figured it was some sort of nervous tick. “I’m fading, Jack.” Pitch’s sunken eyes blinked slowly—far too slowly for Jack’s liking. “No one believes in the Boogeyman anymore.”
And the pieces started to click together in Jack’s mind. “You mean,” he started off slowly, trying not to sound like an idiot, “the same thing that happened to the other Guardians can happen to you, too? Like, without kids to believe in you, you’ll lose your powers?”
Pitch scoffed, as if he’d been offended. He rolled his eyes and tried to stand, but stumbled backwards. Jack ran to his side, dropping his staff and letting it clatter and rock on the shingles recklessly. He caught the King under the arm just in time to save the man from tumbling over and held him close, helping the man keep his balance. But Pitch would have none of it, and shoved the boy aside, regardless of how often he stumbled on the uneven roof.
“I don’t need your pity!” Pitch shouted venomously. His hair fell out of place around his face, making him look like a madman, but Pitch walked on, muttering curses under his breath. “I should’ve never come here.”
Jack’s raised his hand to stop him, but the ”wait” got caught in his throat. He lowered his hand as the Boogeyman slowed his pace and leaned against the chimney of the rooftop, slouching over slightly and breathing heavily. Jack was at his side once more—because Jack knew there needed to be balance. You couldn’t have too much good, or people would take everything for granted, so Jack helped the Boogeyman—regardless of his duties to the Guardians.
“What do you need?” He asked, brushed stray strands of black feathery plumage away and gripping the Boogeyman’s chin in his firm hands. “Pitch, tell me what you need!”
The King panted softly, his skin growing a few shades paler and his eyes hiding a long forgotten fear of fading away into nothingness as he stared into Jack’s lovely blue orbs. Pitch breathed a reply, a simple whisper of; “fear.”
And Jack was off, gripping the limp body in his hands as the winds carried them west, towards a bedframe covering a gapping hole in the earth. When he reached the Nightmare realm, he slid down the hole with Pitch in his arms. The King moaned with every small ounce of turbulence, but once Jack’s feet met solid ground, he was quiet again. Jack placed the King next to the globe with glowing lights, and realized that indeed, a good portion of the globe was glowing brightly, and not one shade or shadow could taint it.
So Jack took off again, feeling it was his mission to help spread fear—and perhaps, save Pitch from himself.
Jack slouched carelessly against a tall oak tree. It had been hard work spreading the fear of the Boogeyman to children who played with him on nearly a daily basis—it took its toll on his psyche. He breathed out steadily, tilting his head up to the sky, eyeing the moon doubtfully. “Tell me I’m doing the right thing, Man in the Moon.” He pleaded.
But again, he was met with silence. That was, until Pitch burst out of the shadows of the line of trees beside Jack.
“I feel more alive than ever!” Pitch laughed, and from the back of his throat came an even raspier chortle. He danced around the Winter, his shadow cast over the eternal child like a skyscraper, reflecting the blackness in the Boogeyman’s very soul.
Jack held his staff out in front of him defiantly. It was unlike the Nightmare King to come skittering out of the shadows so readily—especially in this manner. “Why is that?” Jack asked skeptically, following the Nightmare King and never letting his guard down.
Pitch stopped and turned towards the boy, amusement playing across his face. “Fear, Jack. Because of fear.” He smiled with all his teeth, sinking into a near by shadow and reappearing beside Jack. Jack jumped as the grey skinned back placed both hands on his shoulders, forcing the boy against the tree, effectively pinning him against his will. Pitch bent down to his level with a sinister smile and a devious look in his eyes.
Jack tried to struggle away but Pitch held fast and didn’t let go. “Children are beginning to fear me again, Jack.” He smiled darkly, his teeth only partially showing now—yet he still resembled a shark. Jack suddenly had the sinking feeling he’d done wrong in helping Pitch. “And I have you to thank for that,” he added, touching the boy’s jawline with a long, slender fingertip, “for keeping my spirits up.”
A devilishly charming smile lingered on his lips, and with that, Pitch stole the first kiss, light and feathery. Then, quick as night, he was gone, leaving Jack both astonished and flustered.