Fire and ice, dancing together chaotically behind a glossy surface.
That is the only way that you can describe the look in Jack’s eyes.
Reluctantly, he lowers his staff. He stands it up straight, taking a defiant pose.
“What do you want, Pitch?” he asks, the anger apparent in his voice.
You can hear the smile on Pitch’s face. “Now that’s more like it. I’d like to ask a little…favor…of you.”
“The answer’s ‘no,’” Jack fires back.
Pitch presses the dagger harder into you. A small whimper escapes your lips. “Tsk tsk. Such a pretty thing, too.”
“Don’t you dare!” Jack yells, taking up his staff once again.
Seemingly ignoring the command, Pitch leans down and whispers in your ear, though still loud enough for Jack to hear. “That necklace…did he give that to you? Oh, it suits you wonderfully. I assume it won’t melt so long as you believe in him, am I correct?” He chuckles.
“It’s a shame he won’t hear me out, really,” he continues. His eyes focus on Jack. “It does involve others finally believing in him, after all.”
You can see the curiosity in Jack’s expression, the previous flame dying out. He slightly lowers his staff.
“Ah, now I have his proper attention.” Pitch stands up straight once again, releasing the tension on the blade just oh so slightly.
“You see, Jack,” he addresses the winter spirit, “you and I share something in common. Nobody believes in us. We go unseen, unaddressed, lacking the attention that we deserve. We’re alone in the world. But it doesn’t have to be like that any longer.”
“I’m listening,” Jack says warily. His staff is now hanging loosely in his hand at his side.
“I have a plan. To get the children to believe…in the both of us.” Jack raises his eyebrow. “It’s as simple as this. Just join me.”
“What’s the catch?” You can tell that he’s seriously considering the offer.
“There is none. Join me against the Guardians, and together we will make the children believe. Without the Guardians, without their wonder and hope and light, we’ll be the only things left for them to believe in. You won’t feel so empty anymore.”
“And they…they’ll believe in me? They’ll see me?”
“Of course they will! Join me, Jack. Of course…you’ll have to leave this”—he jiggles your arm a little to indicate that he is speaking about you—“behind. Romance will just get in the way and hold you back in more ways than you know.”
You look at Jack, pleading with him.
He returns the gaze.
After momentary confusion and soul-searching, you finally get your unspoken response.
I won’t. We’re going to get out of here safely. Trust me.
You nod so faintly that Pitch doesn’t take notice and the blade doesn’t scrape against you, the fear beginning to leave you.
“I’m sorry Pitch, but I’m just not interested. I’ll come up with some other way to be seen.”
Pitch sighs. “It seems as though you won’t change your mind. Fine. But don’t think you’re getting off so easy. I propose a deal.”
“As long as you let (your name) go.”
“Stay out of things. Don’t meddle in my plans. Be a…neutral party. No joining or helping out the Guardians. I can’t have you go ruining all of the work I’ve done. Fair enough?”
Jack hesitates, then slowly nods.
Pitch takes the knife from its threatening position and pushes you over to Jack. You fall into his arms.
He helps you up. “Are you all right?”
You nod, rubbing your throat. You’re shaking a little from the traumatic experience. “Let’s just get out of here.”
“Oh, and one more thing, Jack," comes the velvety voice once again.
He looks back over at Pitch as he takes your hand, readying the two of you for flight.
The Nightmare king smirks. “A word of warning. Love is not the safest thing for someone like you.”
“Gee, thanks,” Jack sarcastically retorts. A gust of wind later, the two of you are flying up and out of the shadows, leaving Pitch far behind.
The Nightmare nudges Pitch’s arm.
“Don’t worry,” he tells it as he pets the side of its face. “A power like that won’t go wasted. He’ll find out soon enough. He’ll have no choice. Besides, you really think I would try once and give up? I will lure him in once again, when the time is right. One thing will play into another. Patience is all we need.”
He walks with the Nightmare down the path, enveloping himself in familiar shadows.
“All things are in our favor, even with Jack staying neutral.”
The Nightmare leaves to carry out its messenger duties.
“We will continue to keep a close eye on Jack Frost.”