You finally figure out why he really gives you the creeps.
No, it isn’t because of his height. Nothing about his outer physical appearance, really.
Nor is it his immense power.
Or the memories of your childhood and the fears he rekindles.
No…it’s because, even though you know he’s standing right behind you, he gives off no presence, like most living things do.
It’s as if you’re standing with your back to a giant void.
It sends that sixth-sense chill down your spine.
And that scares you.
Nevertheless, you don’t try to fight or break away. You need to hear what he has to say, to listen closely to what needs to be done to help Jack.
“What do I have to do?” you ask, trying to steady your shaking voice.
“It’s quite simple, really,” he says. You can practically hear the smile on his face. He’s winning, and he knows it. “Give him to me, and I’ll fix him right up. You can’t tag along though. That’s the price.”
“But…what will you do to him?”
His hand lifts off of your shoulder. He glides out in front of you, his hands clasped behind his back. “Must I explain everything? Fine then.” He turns to face you.
“Don’t you see? Your love for him…ah, wait, no, that’s wrong. His love for you is affecting him negatively. No, he’s not becoming ‘mortal,’ as you’d say. It’s far worse than that.”
You raise your eyebrow questioningly.
“You see,” Pitch continues, waving his hand around, “Jack is…disappearing, you could say. He’s just a little spirit, after all. And spirits aren’t supposed to fall in love. Don’t ask me why or who made that rule up but I’d have to guess it was our dear old lunar friend that established it.”
You glance up to the morning moon, which seems to glare at Pitch as if he just told one of its major secrets.
“In any way, if things continue on, Jack will lose his current state. His powers,” he waves the staff around a bit, “and all things associated with that, his ability to be seen by others (even though even now not many can see him, so it’s more like he’ll lose the chance of being seen), his cognitive functions, et cetera et cetera et cetera. In other words, he’ll just become a mindless ghost, forced to wander the face of the earth without a purpose, going forever unseen, unable to…rest in peace.” He holds the staff in both of his hands, admiring it. “And what a waste that would be.”
“There’s one way to save him,” he goes on, eyes meeting yours once again. “One cure. To prevent him from becoming like that.”
You wish he’d just spit it out. “And what is it? Please, tell me. I’ll do anything to save him.”
He chuckles. “Oh, you’re going to love this.” He leans down so his face is level with yours.
“Tell me, would you rather have him be roaming aimlessly for eternity but forever yours somewhere in his heart, or have him stay how he is, immortal but forgetting you entirely?”
A shot of pain runs through your heart. You know the answer. It still hurts like no tomorrow, though.
Jack Frost is going to have to forget you.
All of the memories the two of you shared. The outings, the laughter, the kisses. All things, good and bad. His love for you. Everything.
Every last precious memory.
It completely breaks your heart. On a much deeper level than if he had just left you. It's as if someone took your heart, played with it, stabbed it multiples times, broke it into a million pieces, scattered those pieces on the floor and danced on them. And you were able to feel it all.
You fight back tears, knowing that it’s for the best. For the sake of Jack.
“And…how will you do that? Make him forget,” you manage to say, not wanting to show Pitch any signs of weakness.
“It’s easy,” he responds, straightening and shrugging. “Like forgetting a bad dream…or a good one. Only I can help you. The Guardians will just let him vanish, but I won’t. So, what do you say?” He holds out his hand as if shaking on a deal.
“And…I take it that I have to stay away? To make sure he doesn’t remember or fall for me again?”
He nods. “There you go. Finally getting it.”
You look down at the grey hand. So cold and uninviting. But a lifeline nonetheless.
You reach out to take it.
“Heeeeeeey, (your name)!” you hear a voice call from down the hill.
You and Pitch both turn to face the voice.
You can just see the top of Jamie’s head as he begins to climb up your hill.
Seeing an opportunity, you snatch the staff out of Pitch’s hand, his grip loosened due to the distraction.
You still don’t think you’ll pass up on his offer to cure Jack, though. You just want to be hanging onto this important piece of equipment. It’s the whole reason you came outside, anyway.
Jamie finally manages to make it up the hill, panting a little from the exertion. He smiles wide at you as he jogs up to the start of the porch.
“Jamie, stop right there,” you command him, which he does. You glance up at Pitch, who has another evil smile on his face as he looks down upon the innocent child. “Don’t come any closer.”
“What? Why?” he asks, frowning a bit.
“Just don’t. It’s not safe.”
“O…kay,” he slowly says, following your glance to empty space. “I just wanted to come ask how your friend is doing. You seemed so worried last night.”
You manage a smile. “He’s doing a lot better. I found something for him.”
“Ooooo, him, huh?” A wide smirk spreads across his face. “Is he your boyfriend?”
You blush slightly at the tease. Then you remember that Jack’s memories of you and all things dealing with you have to be wiped clean, and you grow sad.
Jamie catches this and quickly changes the subject, not liking to see you be anything but happy.
“What’s the stick for?” he asks, pointing at Jack’s staff.
“A-ah, oh,” you stutter as you look at it. “Just uh…cleaning up the porch. Just picked it up off the floor.”
“Okay then,” he says, not completely convinced. “Well I guess I’ll go. Runt and the others are going to build snowmen!”
You laugh a little, waving goodbye. “Off with you, then! Make sure to put a magic top hat on one and march through the neighborhood with him!”
Jamie laughs and bids you farewell, running down the hill to meet up with his friends.
Then it hits you.
Sending Jack with Pitch would be giving him exactly what he wants. Jack on his side. And what would prevent him from wiping the memories of all things truly good and important in life? To completely change his set of values and morals?
He’s become Pitch’s little puppet, using his abilities to rid the world of all things bright and beautiful. He wouldn’t be Jack anymore.
Protect the children, a familiar voice rings in your head as Jamie vanishes from sight.
An image of Jack instigating a snowball fight with the kids, joining in on the fun even though he knows he can’t be seen. The invisible guardian. Giving them a great time despite the implications it has for him, forgetting about his worries and just having fun.
You look at Jack’s staff, smiling.
MiM means to make Jack a Guardian. To protect the children of the world.
Pitch turns back around and offers you his hand once again. You can hear the impatience in his voice. “Well?”
You shake your head, taking a step back. “Good try, though. I’m not going to give Jack to you.”
He scowls, taking back his hand. “So you’d rather him become a wandering gh—”
“I won’t let that happen,” you interject. Your free hand finds the doorknob.
“Fine. So be it. This won’t be the last time you or Jack hears of me, though."
And he shrinks back into the shadows, disappearing from sight.
You quickly go back inside, shutting and locking the door behind you.
Looking again at Jack’s staff, you know you’ve made the right decision.
You gather your things and manage to get Jack onto your back in a piggyback. You reach into your jacket pocket, your fingers wrapping around North’s magic snow globe.
You bring it up to your lips.
“North Pole,” you whisper into it.
The snow inside it flurries, taking on color and form. You see a fuzzy version of the Workshop within the sphere.
And you toss it to the floor a few feet in front of you.