Gravity of Devils [two]
A few months passed, maybe even an entire year before they met again. Jack needed his space, and the Boogeyman gave it to him—after all, he had made children believe in the Boogeyman again, and Pitch felt he owed the boy that much at least.
Pitch never properly thanked him either. He could remember the day perfectly! How Jack had appeared before the children who could see him and told them stories of the hideous Boogeyman who haunted their dreams and closets and hid under their beds till morning.
Those children believed in the Boogeyman then, and their fears fueled the Boogeyman’s return to power temporarily, giving him enough juice to send out at least a few Nightmares to other children—and his power crept back into the darkness, into his very blood and through his veins—and his reign became supreme once more.
And even now, as Pitch stared up at the flurry of ice and the volley of snow balls being pitched to and fro while the children ran around with Jack in a small city park, he felt his heart leap great length when their eyes met and Jack’s laugh rang in his ears lovingly. Pitch, of course, had been thinking quite a bit about the boy since they’re last meeting.
Jack cracked a forced smile at the Boogeyman, but his hand clenched his staff till his knuckles grew white. The children looked to see what Jack was starring at and to find the reason why he had abandoned their games so suddenly. A gasp caught the Boogeyman’s attention, then a soft whimper. Some of the younger children saw the Boogeyman approaching while others simply felt the unnatural, terrifying dread while starring into the ebbing sunset.
Jack turned to them and smiled confidently, telling the children; “run on home guys, we’ll play later!” And they took off without a second thought, and Pitch could smell the terror they left in their wake.
“Pitch.” Jack said stiffly as he turned back towards the Shadow Master. His lips were a thin, impatient line. “Can I help you?” He asked hurriedly.
The Nightmare King held up his hands as if to wave a white flag. “I came to apologize. I wanted to thank you, properly, for what you did for me.”
“Yeah, well, it goes against the Guardians, so you owe me big time.” Jack pushes pass the Nightmare King casually and walked on towards a line of trees hidden in the fading sunlight.
“That’s all you have to say?” Pitch asked, astonished. His eyes remained wide as he followed the boy, trailing behind like a lost puppy.
Jack merely shrugged, “I was just trying to help. You didn’t need to come here and thank me for that.” He smiled again, this time for real, and Pitch felt an odd light in his chest—like his heart skipped one too many beats before settling down to a normal pace once more.
“Well, I—“ Pitch begins, but Jack cut him off in a rush, turning and asking; “why did you kiss me?”
Pitch is quiet again, and stiff as stone. His expression registers as shock to Jack, and suddenly the Winter feels out of place. The shadows snake around the grey skinned man’s feet and Jack knows he’s trying to avoid the subject and disappear. Jack is quicker though, grabbing Pitch by the wrist and with a gentle brush of his lips against the King’s, he begs softly; “stay.”
Jack’s stomach does backflips and suddenly feels heavy as Pitch disintegrates into shadows and Jack thinks he may never see the Boogeyman again.
It was a few years later, somewhere in either Australia or Arizona, where it was hot and mostly desert with a suspicious ‘dry heat’ when they made contact once more. Jack was simply visiting the desert, and he was beginning to realize why he’d rather the Wind take care of this region of the world. He was sticky and his clothes clung to him in unnatural ways due to his perspiration, but as soon as his body was graced with sweat, it seemed to evaporate all too quickly.
Jack would have left hours ago, had he not found a simple shade to rest in for the moment. “I’ll leave at nightfall,” Jack whimpered to himself, feeling the heat form the sidewalk penetrate his normally frosty skin.
And nightfall came slowly as Jack smoldered in the heat. He was just about to take off on a soft breeze despite the blistering sun when a sound caught his attention. It sounded familiar, like cantering, and when he turned around, the crooked smile of Pitch and a fellow Nightmare crept out of a shadow towards him.
“I never expected to find you here, Jack Frost.” Pitch mused atop his dark horse, sitting proper with squared, proud shoulders. “Won’t you melt in this heat?” He questioned, a sardonic tone to his voice.
“I hate the heat.” Jack whined weakly, ignoring the Boogeyman’s jests—he was far too tired to even care what the man had to say. Pitch offers to stand in front of him to blot out the sun, and Jack doesn’t hesitate to decline the offer. The Boogeyman moved and his shadow casts a shade of relief in it’s wake as Jack was finally able to breath without the searing heat of the sun beating down on him.
“Why are you here, Jack Frost? Isn’t this place a little out of your element?” Pitch gestures to all around him, a brow cocked in anticipation of the boys answer.
Jack nods, but refused to tell himself why he’d come to this place, let alone say it out loud to Pitch—let alone say it out loud for himself to hear his deranged reasoning’s. But they weren’t such crazy thoughts, though Jack had been driving himself mad with the memory of Pitch’s lips lingering on his for just a moment in time. Jack tried to push the thoughts away, but the smallest occurrences brought the memory bubbling back to the front of his mind.
“I just had to get away.” Jack finally said after a few moments of daunting silence. He looked away from the Nightmare King, suddenly feeling rather ashamed. Jack shouldn’t have these feelings about Pitch—he was the bad guy—but the bad guy Jack had saved.
“From what, exactly?” The King asked deviously. A smile tugged at the corner of his lips, pulling relentlessly.
Jack would have blushed had he not already been so flushed by the heat. Pitch picked up on that and reached down to pull the boy up by his sweatshirt, making him stand. The dark horse whinnied excitedly as Jack clung to the Boogeyman’s wrist and fell into the horses side.
Pitch hopped down form the animals back and placed both hands on either of Jack’s shoulders, but Jack had other intentions. He laid his head against the man’s chest tiredly, feeling the skipping, black heart beneath the King’s ribcage taunt and trick his ears. “Stay.” He breathed, feeling silly.
Pitch started at the boy in shock, but his stern look crumbled as Jack’s arms ghosted around his waist in a tight embrace. “Stay.” Jack begged again, his hands balling into fists at the fabric on Pitch’s back. “Just for a little.”
Bemused, Pitch grabbed hold of the shade Jack rested under and pulled it over the two of them. They were swallowed into shadow and darkness, and the Nightmare whinnied impatiently as it took off to wreck havoc on children’s dreams.
Jack is exhausted when he wakes up, but he’s cool and doesn’t feel the heat of the sun on him anymore. He immediately registers the darkness and the fact that he’s not entirely sure if his eyes are open or if it’s literally that dark wherever he’s resting.
He manages to remember Pitch pulling a shadow over them and then falling into a deep asleep. Being immortal does have its disadvantages—like being out of your element for too long, apparently in Jack’s case. When Jack’s able to move his toes, he slowly sits up, and swings his legs over the side of what appears to be a bed. He moves to a sitting position, rubbing his eyes and sniffing his nose clear.
“Be careful, Jack.” A disembodied voice orders, pushing Jack back down into the bed with an unseen hand. Jack obeys and lies there a while longer, waiting for Pitch to appear, but the darkness doesn’t let up, so Jack merely closes his eyes and rests for a while longer.
Maybe Jack had a few things he needed to sort out anyways. Like how he was feeling right this instant, perhaps. Shouldn’t he be scared, terrified, almost, to be in the very prescience of the Boogeyman? Shouldn’t he be trying to escape? Trying to run away? And what exactly was he feeling for the man? Why did he want Pitch to stay, again?
But Jack shook his head and rubbed his eyes vigorously. “Ugh,” he sighed, sitting up again. “Pitch!” He called, but the man was already next to him in a chair beside the bed before he even finished calling the King’s name.
“Yes, Jack.” Pitch asked, his palm holding up his head. He was sitting with his long legs crossed in a chair not too far from wherever Jack had been laying, lounging about like he had nothing better to do but watch over the boy.
“Where am I?” Jack asked, still trying to get his eyes to focus. He was able to make out shapes now, at least vaguely. He could at least see the glowing golden-grey of Pitch’s eyes in the corner.
“You’re in my Kingdom.” Pitch says simply, as if talking to an old friend. “You were overheating in that desert—I’ve seen it in the humans, but I didn’t know spirits could too.”
Jack shrugged, laughing tiredly. “Well, being out of your element could do that to you, I guess. It makes sense.”
The Boogeyman shakes his head in disappointment. “The desert,” Pitch sounded disgusted, “I can’t even believe you survived as long as you did there.” He turned his eyes back on Jack pointedly. “What exactly were you trying to get away from?” He asks pointedly—not even a hint of a smile was on the King’s lips, and Jack didn’t need light to know that.
Jack simply smiles in the dark, getting to his feet as he strides over to the King sluggishly. Pitch doesn’t move from his chair, simply watches as Jack leans forward and places a kiss on his forehead, cheek, nose, then finally, a longer, lighter kiss against his lips that moves lower to his jaw, neck and collarbone.
Pitch’s shocked face makes Jack giggle softly as he nips at the jugular in the grey skinned man’s neck. The Boogeyman’s skin felt like fire then, and the hair on his neck stands in anticipation. He takes hold of the boy’s face gently and turns it towards him, asking again despite his desire to let the boy’s mouth roam wherever it chooses; “what were you trying to get away from?”
“I had a few things to sort out.” Jack answers, taking the hand holding his face and kissing the rough skin of Pitch’s palm. The King shutters as Jack moves to straddle him in the oversized chair. Pitch feels he may explode if the boy touches him anymore and his stomach feels heavy, while Jack simply wants to touch everything, everywhere, all over Pitch’s body.
A slithering noise reaches Jack’s ear despite his desires and the sucking noise of Pitch’s mouth at his neck, and Jack realizes the shadows that envelop the room are steadily creeping to Pitch’s side. Fearing the man might melt into shadows once more, Jack claims the Boogeyman’s lips, waiting for another eager response.
And Jack gets one when Pitch grabs hold of the boy’s body, pulling it against him roughly with a small noise of want as his lips move against Jack’s enthusiastically.
The passion ignites an inferno in Jack’s stomach, and the boy thinks; how lucky am I, to have conquered a King like this? He runs his fingers across a bare skinned grey chest lovingly, watching the light rise and fall of the sleeping Boogeyman.
Jack tries to move away from the bare body beneath him, realizing too late that Pitch had his arms tied around the boy’s waist., preventing him from leaving. The King stirs, opening heavily lidded eyes and blinking slowly. Jack melts into his arms at the sight, and Pitch merely smiles up at him crookedly, tiredly.
“Don’t worry Jack, I won’t let you go.”
There’s a well somewhere in Iowa that goes untouched year round. The wells’ water is sweet and so unlike the water from the west side of the country—it’s bitter, and full of toxins and lead microbial that slowly poisons the body and rusts the tongue.
Two spirits stand beside this well, looking down into the darkness. The water beneath reflects the stars above and the slow falling of snowflakes—it’s the beginning of winter, and Jack Frost is there to bring the cold as always.
It has been five years since the searing heat of the desert, and Jack has never felt more loved—more alive than in the arms of the Nightmare King. Pitch and he had developed a relationship that had evolved into something physical and dangerously emotional; but there was something missing—something Jack desperately craved, and Jack knew best of all what it was.
“What do you fear?” Jack asks and Pitch cocks a brow at him, uninterested and tired.
“I fear nothing.” Pitch protested in a definite monotone.
Jack laughs loudly—so loud, it startles the Boogeyman. Jack laughs till tears built up in his eyes. Jack laughs till Pitch begins to suspect the boy is defective. Jack knows what’s missing, but he won’t push the matter, not now, at least.
“I know what you’re afraid of, Boogeyman!” Jack crowed in a teasing manner, whipping the tears from his eyes with the broad side of his index finger. Pitch tilts his head at the boy in question, his brow still cocked in an indignant manner. “You’re afraid of letting me in, aren’t you.” Jack says, sadly. The tugging and stinging at the back of his eyes doesn’t cease.
Pitch made no notion to answer Jack, but in the stiffness of his spine, Jack knew he was right—Pitch hadn’t really opened up to the Winter, not like he should have in the amount of time they had been together. There will always be a missing piece to their relationship—and Jack was far too stubborn to say it first.
Pitch muttered something softly, his brow furrowed together. “What?” Jack asked, looking somewhat concerned—feeling that perhaps he had offended the King—that maybe, just maybe, Jack was wrong. He was hoping he was wrong.
“That’s not all I’m afraid of.” Pitch spoke louder, perhaps too loud for their close proximity.
Jack sat very still, starring dumbfounded at the King of Nightmares. “Oh.” He says, scratching the back of his head. He glances down at the water in the well as snowflakes touch down and melt. “W-what else can you possibly be afraid of?” His nervous laugher echoed softly against the wind. Maybe, just maybe, Pitch is afraid to fall in love with Jack…
Pitch sighed a breath he didn’t know he was holding in. “I don’t know, Jack.” He says in a monotone voice, tilting his shoulders into a shrug. He looks up at the moon, and crosses his arms over his chest. The Man in the Moon says nothing to Pitch, and never has.
Jack becomes confused, moving closer to Pitch with a hand resting on his partner’s shoulder. “You can tell me—“
“No, Jack, that’s just it—I can’t—I can’t remember.”
And Pitch looks at Jack, and the heartbreak in his eyes pierces Jack’s lungs and stops his breathing.
How can someone who doesn’t know—doesn’t remember—how to love, ever love anyone?
Months go by unnoticed. The feeling that something’s missing still bites and chews and eats away at Jack till he feels the pressure building around his organs and it pains him to breath normally. He wants Pitch, all the time, in every way—every fiber of his very being cries out for the King, every second of the day. And it scares Jack endlessly, because he knows love—and he loves Pitch too much.
A hearty storm builds outside till it begins ripping trees from the ground and snow is flying by so hard and fast that it cuts skin and chills to the bone. Jack is standing on top of a mountain, and he screams out of anger. He screams till he can’t scream anymore, and icy tears stream down his cheeks and freeze on his alabaster skin.
Pitch find him easily, yet can’t keep his balance with the force of the violent wind ripping the mountains apart. “Jack!” He yells, his raspy voice lost in a howl of a ghastly squall. Pitch is mystified by Jack’s unbelievable power, looking around at the flurry of violence, and he knows something has gone horribly wrong. He’s terrified, and Pitch has never felt terrified before—at least not because of Jack.
Jack hears Pitch calling, but ignores him. His heart rips itself apart from within his ribcage just as the mountains do. From beneath his feet, there is a deep rumble, then a heavy cracking noise just as an avalanche breaks away and launches itself from the immoveable rock, crumbling, crashing, rolling endlessly to the bottom—down, down, down. Jack feels a tugging at his chest but he ignores it.
“Jack!” Pitch calls again, and there is a sudden darkness everywhere around Jack—blinding the storm maker.
“No!” Jack yells, hoarsely, and he rips a void in the darkness with a sheet of formidable ice that rockets out of his staff like fire. But Pitch is quicker this time, blinding the boy against his will and pulling the shadows around him like a tight, trapping force field. He hears Jack scream in frustration from within the darkness as he drags Jack to his side and pins his the boy’s back to the ground. Pitch removes the shadows from around Jack and stares down at the Winter, bewildered and worried.
“What are you trying to do, Jack? Bring down the whole damn mountain?!” Pitch yells over the thunderous gale, fearing his voice would be lost to the wind.
Icy tears roll down Jack’s cheeks and he lashes out with a vicious growl. “Get off me!” He cries, and icicles and hail rain down on Pitch’s back, and Jack hopes the man releases him. But the Boogeyman endures the violence without a single grimace till it dies away and the wind is all but still.
“Jack, tell me what’s wrong—“
“You don’t love me!” Jack screams, his voice cracks and the sky darkens, threatening to release down with another assault on the Earth below.
Pitch stares down at the eternal body of the boy with a blank, perilous expression. He doesn’t know what to say—he doesn’t know what love is—he doesn’t remember what love is…He kisses the Winter with a bruising force that pains Jack to even suffer through—but he doesn’t fight it. Jack wraps his arms and legs around the elder spirit desperately, trying to feel anything aside from the constant breaking of his heart. Pitch holds Jack close, kissing the youngers lips raw and red with whatever he can muster up—hoping, praying to the Man in the Moon, that’s its what Jack is looking for.
But Jack is desperate, and it’s nothing like what Jack seeks. “Stop, please stop.” Jack growls, pushing the Boogeyman away forcefully. And Pitch lets him go, lets him get to his feet and stagger away till he crumbles to the ground again, into a broken pile of snowflakes and ice. Jack rocks back and forth and holds his arms across his chest, as if trying to keep himself from falling part.
Pitch gets to his feet and walks over to the boy before the sky breaks open again. He glances between Jack and the looming assault on Earth and kneels in front of the Winter, trying to blot out the sky—like he blotted out the sun in the desert. “Jack, listen to me,” he utters softly, stroking the boys slick cheeks. Jack stared at him with agony in his eyes, but Pitch’s expression of indifference never changes. “I don’t know how to love, but I can—“
“No.” Jack says with a dead voice. Pitch shudders at the sound and tries to touch the Winter, but his hand is smacked away as Jack reaches over and touches Pitch’s face ever so softly. The Boogeyman turns his face into Jack’s palm and lets the boy cradle his cheek. “No, Pitch. You can’t try.” His broken smile pains Pitch, and he doesn’t know why.
“I’m leaving.” Jack’s muscles are vibrating with pain and Pitch stares at him, unblinking as the Winter spirit stands and walks away form the Boogeyman.
“No! Jack!” Pitch is reaching for the boy, trying to grasp the fabric at his calves and pull him back, but his reach falls short as Jack dances out of reach. “Stay! Please!” Pitch looks livid, but his voice breaks and cracks and he can’t stop it from sounding like he’s begging Jack not to leave. “Why won’t you just stay with me?!” Pitch gets to his feet, but he’s too late once again.
“I can’t.” Jack says in a small voice as the wind picks up and the shadows are unable to reach him in the sky. “You don’t love me.”
And then he’s gone, melting away into the distance, and Pitch is left alone.