Of Titans and Titanium [short] Jack and Pitch
For the lovely Janusbouu, for being my favorite artist
And for my wife, whatever you’re doing when you read this, you’re always in my heart. Always.
Of Titans and Titanium [the short story] Jack Frost and Pitch Black
I’ll be yours
There isn’t much to their relationship when it first began. It’s threatening, if anything else—at least, just in the beginning. There is the occasional glance, but mostly just snide remarks and ignored snarls, seeping hatred, some taunting Nightmares, but then Pitch delves down into his pit and disappeared for days on end. Jack doesn’t mind those days of utter silence, they remind him of the days before he was a Guardian—when everything was just fun.
Pitch is ever eager to ignore Jack, regardless of how closely they are housed. North warns Jack of this, but the Frost spirit knew Pitch was weak and wouldn’t be crawling out of his hole anytime soon, unless it was to tease or torment the Winter. Jack merely scoffed when the Shadow King craned his neck at the frozen lake, almost expecting Jack to attack him at any given moment.
“I’m weak, don’t you see?” Pitch laughed darkly, and Jack rolled his eyes, turning to listen to the frantic King. “My reign is over. You could end it all with that little stick of yours, yet you choose to sit on your branch and stare?”
Jack turned his back to the Shade and hummed a soft tune to himself till he was finally granted peaceful silence. There wasn’t much to Pitch then, and his remaining Nightmares are even weaker still.
But that is not the reason Jack is ignoring the Shadow King’s comments. There is a plague of worry tugging at Jack Frost’s mind—North’s as well, and Bunnymund’s, Tooth, and most of all, Sandy’s. When the Guardians meet on a weekly basis to catch up, there is an unspoken anxiety they all share. The Guardian’s would stare up at the brightly lit globe and they all knew the balance was tipped too far in their court to be considered a good thing.
Even if you ask, Sandy won’t admit it, but he isn’t handing out dreams to the children as much anymore. He sensed it, too, even when he doesn’t attend the meetings and talk with the other Guardians—he saw it in the children’s smiles and their bright eyes. The balance is tipping, even without the influence of the Guardians.
Even when Tooth is a day late picking up a child’s tooth, no one judges her—not even her little fairies. But still, the balance tips till nearly the entire globe is flickering to life. Children, teenagers, and some hopeful adults—they all begin to believe again.
The Guardians feel stronger, but it seemed like a cheated victory.
Days, weeks, months, and finally, a year passed, and more lights flickered in and out, before finally glowing brightly, carving a scar into the globe that Jack has grown a great distaste for. The Winter Spirit frowned, and North saw the boy’s displeasure instantly. And with that, Jack was flying out the nearest window, a flurry of snowflakes left in his wake.
“Jack!” North called out the window, but the boy was already gone—disappearing amongst the stars and constellations.
“He’ll be back.” Bunnymund nonchalantly muttered, crossing his arms over his chest as he watched another persons light flicker to life with immense displeasure strewn across his puffy bunny cheeks.
When Jack lands in his tree beside the frozen pond, he takes it upon himself to talk to the Man in the Moon. He stared up at the waxing crescent and felt a tightness growing in his throat till he almost couldn’t breathe.
“We don’t know what to do…” Jack trailed off, sensing that maybe, just once, The Man in the Moon might be listening. “I mean, it’s great! The children, they see me! Finally! They believe in me, but—“ Jack looked away from the Moon to the snow beneath him, “it just—it feels wrong. To have all this power.” Jack stared at his hands in disbelief, then at that staff that was covered in a thin layer of ice from where he gripped it all the time. “The balance is tipped too far in our favor, Moon. What happens when one bad thing comes along, and the good isn’t enough to keep the children happy? What happens when a child finally has a nightmare, after ten years of good dreams?”
Jack was desperate, and he felt his eyes stinging and burning with the lump in his throat threatening to cut him off. “You have to do something—“
“He won’t listen to you, Jack Frost.”
Jack looked to the ground once more, surprised. The shadows churning at the roots of his tree crept up the trunk longingly, while a dark figure leaned against its base like an immoveable force. Jack smiled as he thought of how similar Pitch Black looked to a God, a Titan rather, and marveled at that solemn beauty for a moment before forcing himself out of the daydream with a shake of his head.
Pitch was inspecting his fingernails as if they were something marvelous, but his gaze slowly turned up towards Jack. He looked the same as always from afar—thin, dark, tall, calm, sinister. His eyes radiated with a golden core, but Jack was too busy trying to read the expression across the Boogeyman’s face to revel in the Shadow King’s majestic beauty. Pitch turned away from the boy and began gliding back towards his hole in the ground, but Jack jumped from his branch and landed beside the Boogeyman, who paused and faced him with astonishment.
“What are you doing, Jack?” Pitch asked, sounding defensive and sidestepping the boy nervously. Jack reached out and latched onto the man’s sleeve and forced the Boogeyman to face him.
Pitch glared down at Jack Frost. “What do you want, boy?” He seethed, “is this your way of tormenting me?”
That’s when Jack saw it—the unnamed expression from before passed between the Boogeyman’s eyes then vanished once more; agony. Pitch’s face was taunt, as if pulled too tight over his cheek bones, and his skin was paler than it should have been, looking more ashen than charcoal. His body moved as if it were rigid and hurt, rather than his previous smooth, calculated motions.
Jack reached up and places a hand on the Boogeyman’s cheek. The Shadow King’s eyes widened in shock, but Pitch didn’t pull away, in fact, to Jack’s surprise, Pitch leaned into his hand and let him cradle the Boogeyman’s cheek. Regardless of the fact that Jack’s skin literally bites at Pitch’s flesh—it’s contact, and Pitch sighed and closed his eyes, as if peacefully.
“What is happening to you?” Jack asked quietly. His brow furrowed in confusion as the Boogeyman placed his hand atop Jack’s and pulled it away after a few long moments of silence. He placed the Winter’s hand back at Jack’s side, his fingers lingering just long enough for Jack to know that sometime was truly wrong.
“I’m alright, Jack. You needn’t worry about a shade anymore.” A small tug at the corner of Pitch’s lip caught Jack’s eyes. “No one fears the dark anymore. I’m sure you noticed the lights on the globe. Beautiful, isn’t it?” His eyes looked distant, and then he was no longer staring at Jack, but rather right through him—and this unnerved the Winter. “The things that go bump in the night are no longer there to terrify the children. Fear is all but wiped out, Jack Frost.”
He moved away from Jack then, gliding stiffly across the thick ice, calling back; “Soon, I will all but be a myth once more. Your children will be safe, and far from the reach of the Boogeyman.”
But Jack felt a panicked sort of tugging at his heart, and it’s incessant and wouldn’t disperse its hold on the Winter’s spirit. It gnaws and bites and tears at Jack’s very soul, his very core, pleading with him to do something, anything. Suddenly, Jack is hit with an idea, and he’s flying off to the North Pole before the Wind even has a chance to carry him away properly.
Pitch watched from the entrance of his pit, looking up into the sky longingly after Jack Frost till he is nothing more than a speck amongst stars and snowflakes, and he felt his heart in his throat. He sighed and looks to the Moon; waiting, wondering.
“Will there ever be peace for me, old friend?”
But the Man in the Moon is ever silent, and Pitch faded away into shadows.
“A Guardian? Pitch Black? No. Hell no. Are you joking, Jack?” Bunnymund stared at the boy as if he were stupid, and the Easter Bunny is even less amused by the fact that North was considering the notion.
“Bunny, it is… It is good idea to consider.” North sounded as though he was trying to convince himself more than anyone else. His eyes were wide, taking everything in, looking at each of the Guardians and moving uneasily amongst them.
“Look, guys, we need to restore balance to the world, and the Man in the Moon isn’t helping, so we need to take action, and Pitch is our best bet.” Jack said, his voice reaching the rafters.
The Yeti’s cringed from the idea, and the Elves scrammed out of terror.
Tooth looked even more skeptical, “I still don’t know Jack, but, well, maybe.” She sighed, shaking her head, “I guess we could give it a shot. Maybe then I won’t feel so guilty about showing up days later to collect the children’s teeth.”
“You’re all bloody nuts.” Bunnymund grunted out between his gritted teeth. He turned to walk away, ready to tap his foot and head home to the oasis of his Warren, but Sandy stopped him with a friendly smile and a light touch.
”It’ll be alright.” Sandy seemed to say with a comforting stroke of his grainy hand, and his smile grew wider as Bunnymund lowered his tense ears and sighed heavily.
The Pooka rubbed his face wearily and let the seconds tick by till he could compose himself. “Alright, Sandy.” He lamented, “Jack—“ the Pooka turned to the Winter, and he grimaced as the boy stared back at him defiantly, “we’ll try it your way. If!” Bunnymund looked at Jack pointedly this time, a finger jabbing into the boys chest, “Man in the Moon agrees.”
North laughs loudly, and then they planned.
“Pitch!” Jack called down the dark hole, but there was no answer. “Pitch?” He called again, and he waited for the slightest sound. Yet, still nothing graced his senses.
Jack looked around, glancing from side to side. The cold night air coaxed him softly, and Jack listened to the breeze that greeted him. The Winter closed his eyes before he dove down, down, down, deeper into the darkness. The shades of black that dance across his eyelids tease and torment him, but not in a frightening way like he had expected—but, more so in a taunting, playful manner.
There is an end to the seemingly bottomless pit, however, Jack does not reach it gracefully—in fact, he tumbled out of the hole, rolling around on the floor with his staff clattering noisily somewhere in the dark. But he does stop, and when he looked up, he is greeted by dull, golden-grey eyes, hidden away within a dark shadow.
“What is it you what now, Jack Frost?” Pitch asked, wearily. His question is drawn out and tired, as if Pitch is exhausted in Jack’s very prescience. His grey hand reached up to rub him forehead and eyes jadedly.
“Well,” Jack pushed himself up off the floor and turned to face the Shadow King, “Good to see you too, Boogeyman.” Jack laughed at his own joke, but as the hand falls away from the unenthused King’s face, Jack fell silent. He cleared his throat before he began again; “The Guardians and I have—“
“’The Guardians and I?’” Pitch scoffed and rolled his eyes. “You still don’t consider yourself one of them yet, Jack Frost?” Pitch’s lips hung loosely as a dark chuckle rolled off his tongue. He rolled his neck from side to side leisurely stretching out his muscles with his amusement before he focused in on Jack again.
But Jack ignored the Boogeyman’s comments and tensed up. “We want you to become a Guardian.” He said far too quickly.
The Winter is greeted with stunned silence—long, drawn out, heavy, thick silence. He closed his eyes and counted to ten, waiting patiently. When he opened them again, the golden-grey orbs were no longer in the shadows, and Jack looked around, realizing all too soon that he is indeed without his staff and effectively useless in a fight.
“I already turned that position down when North became a Guardian. Why would I take it up now?”
Jack looked around, searching the roiling shadows for a figure. “We talked it over. We think you’d be a good match for our open position.” Jack vaguely answered, his muscles tensing up with every passing second that Pitch remained hidden in his darkness.
Pitch is not amused, “give me the real reason, Jack Frost.”
The Winter Spirit closed his eyes and thought of the conversation that went on back at the North Pole. ”—and Pitch is our best bet.”
“There needs to be a balance in the world, Boogeyman. If there’s too much good, the children will take it all for granted… But when something bad happens, what then? Will children stop believing? Will we fade in non-existence?” Pitch had already considered this, but listened on regardless. “And the Guardians and I think—“ Jack paused, smiling, “we know, you’ll bring the balance to the world that it needs—so we’re asking you to become a Guardian.”
But he is once again greeted with a heavy silence that ebbs in the darkness till it crept into an uncomfortable atmosphere. The Winter shifted his weight form side to side, searching all around him once again.
“That’s not the real reason.” The ominous voice whispered in his ear. Jack gasped, and turned to face the voice, but no one was there.
“What do you—“
“When we met last, you saw how weak I was and ran to your friends and convinced them to make me a Guardian, am I right?”
Jack stared into the darkness and shifted again, considering Pitch’s words. “Well… yes.” He answered, solemnly.
The darkness hissed at the Winter’s feet, clawing at his ankles and calves. “So what made you do that? What is the underlying cause of your pity, Jack Frost?” Pitch pushed, venom in his voice.
Jack placed a hand over his heart unconsciously and closed his eyes. He remembered the gnawing, the tugging, the tearing and the feeling of his heart begging him to do something—anything—and Jack hasn’t the faintest idea why.
Jack opened his eyes and Pitch was standing in front of him this time, staring down his narrow nose expectantly.
The Winter crumbled when he looked into the golden-grey orbs of the King of Shadows. “I’m sorry.” Jack muttered softly, reaching out and taking hold of the Shadow King’s sleeve, feelings just how tangible he really was as he leaned his head against the man’s chest. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” He cried, his arms wrapping around the man’s waist, “I’m so sorry, Pitch.”
But the warm hands that rested on Jack’s shoulder and lower back filled him with a sad sort of comfort. Jack looked up into the hard face of the Boogeyman and he saw a pleading within the man’s eyes that couldn’t be hidden by shadow or shade. Jack cups the man’s face in his hand and smiled softly, standing up on his tiptoes and placing a soft, feathery kiss upon that Boogeyman’s thin lips before slowly pulling away; “I’m sorry,” he whispered tenderly.
Pitch gripped the boy’s sweatshirt tighter, pulling Jack into him, his eyes half-lidded with a sudden desire to never let the boy go. The Boogeyman plastered his mouth to Jack’s blue-tinged lips, kissing him harder and stealing the Winter’s breath away. “Jack,” he whispered quietly, and the boy feels Pitch’s oxygen gliding down into his lungs with every passing second.
The Winter can hear his heart beating rapidly in his ears as Pitch’s hand moved behind his head, pulling him into a more intimate position. The King’s tongue pressed on, following the loving curve of the Winter’s bottom lip before he inclined his neck and captured Jack’s willing mouth with his own, gliding smoothly over the younger spirits lips, tongue, teeth, and Jack moaned and whimpered weakly. His grip on the King becomes more desperate and filled him with a wonderful craving. After a long, agonizing moment of sloppy kissing, Jack’s legs became weak and he pulled away slowly, staring up at the man.
“Hush.” Pitch pleaded with his eyes, his hand outlining Jack’s jawline. Jack shivered, taking advantage of the intimate moment and pulling the Boogeyman into another quick, furious mashing of lips and tongues, bitten back moans and grazed teeth.
All too soon, Jack pushed the Shadow King away, breathing heavily as he bent at the waist and rested his hands on his knees, taking in slow, cool, fresh air. “Wait,” He whimpered, his stomach churning with a feeling he wasn’t familiar with.
Pitch stared at the boy wantonly as he touched his swollen lips, memorizing the feel of Jack Frost against them. He paused as his thoughts flicker in light of the situation. “Jack,” he called to the bent boy, lifting the Winter’s chin up with one delicate finger. “I will become a Guardian, for your peace of mind—“ Jack smirked at that, breathing against the King’s warm skin, “—on one condition.” Jack frowned.
“What?” The Winter Spirit asked breathlessly, “what could you possibly want?”
Pitch sneered at Jack’s irritation. The King moved closer to Jack once more, and Jack’s breath caught as the sound of rustling cloth’s and the touch of a warm hand rising up his back stole his oxygen away once more.
“I want you.” Pitch’s voice reminded Jack of snakes, but the hot breath at the back of his neck and the lips tainting his skin brought the thought to the back of his mind for the moment.
The Winter said nothing, merely tried to roll things over in his mind as teeth graze the nape of his neck. Jack gasped, pulling away and skittering several inches away from the King. Pitch reached out for the boy and gripped his arms tightly as he spun him to his chest, his eyes wide and unforgiving with a cocky smirk plastered on his lips. “Your silence is unnerving, Jack Frost.” The Boogeyman whispered against Jack’s ear, and the Winter shuttered, but not from the cold.
Jack gulped, looking for his staff. What was he thinking, coming here by himself? He should have brought Bunnymund, or hell, North probably would have been a better choice. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after-all—and suddenly Jack felt like he was signing his soul away.
“Oh, you wound me deeply, Jack.” Pitch said huskily, but the snide smile playing across his lips spoke otherwise as his tongue lashed out over the boy’s delicate, alabaster skin. Jack tried to stifle a moan as his body arched towards Pitch in an unholy way and he felt a heat rising in his abdomen and spreading all over his skin like a wild fire. “Give me your answer.” Pitch tried to coax the answer he wanted out of the boy—or rather, the answer he needed.
“I—I, uh, I,” Jack paused with a hiccup as Pitch’s teeth graze his collarbone once more, setting gasoline to the ever prescient wildfire in his fuzzy thoughts, “I—yes. Okay, yes. Pitch. Pitch.” But the Boogeyman isn’t paying attention to the boy anymore. His body is frozen in a sense of haunted reluctance—as if in disbelief that Jack Frost would ever really give into him—but, in fact, he has…
“Say it again.” Pitch ordered—but the statement came out sounding more desperate, more pleading than intended. His lips pressed against the boy’s sensitive skin lightly, feeling feathery and causing goose-bumps to the chilled skin of Jack Frost, and Pitch felt lost in the scent that radiated from Jack’s shoulders.
“I, uh, I’ll be yours?”
“Say it like you mean it.” The King solicited, his arms curling anxiously around the younger spirit’s waist tightly. He felt his stomach tighten, felt his heart skip a beat—and it’s all foreign and unnatural, but welcomed. Jack realized the urgency in Pitch’s voice, and dissolved into the golden-eyed man’s arms.
“I’ll be yours.” Jack whispered, pulling his fingers through the Boogeyman’s course hair.
Pitch held Jack close to him, and quietly said; “I’ll keep you to your word,” and craned his neck to claim the shorter man’s lips once more, and this time, was not met with any sort of resistance.
“You brought him here?!” Bunnymund screamed, pointing at Pitch Black with a long, thick finger.
Jack laughed at the Pooka and pulled Pitch by his sleeve towards the group. North smiled welcomingly while Tooth was hesitant to even move closer than a few steps while the few fairies buzzing around her remained displeased and agitated.
Sandy, though, is on Pitch in an instant, grabbing hold of his opposite hand and tugging him forward to the center of the room where North held open a big book.
The Yeti’s and Elves stand alert, but seem more relaxed then the last time Pitch arrived. The Boogeyman watched Jack pull him forward, and he tried to hide the smile begging to shine through. Though Pitch is repulsed by all the attention, when Jack’s hand slips from his sleeve to his palm, no one noticed but the skipping of the Boogeyman’s heart.