Warning: This chapter kinda sorta contains little spoilers regarding the Rise of the Guardians movie!
“I take it that you have taken notice of my little…collection,” Pitch purrs, waving his hand a little to indicate the endless mounds of golden boxes.
The lost baby teeth of all of the people of the world.
Rolling, gleaming hills of billions upon billions of memories.
You warily nod. Is he wanting you to do something regarding the teeth?
“Our dear Jack seems very interested in it,” he continues, looking over his shoulder at the closest heap. “And then there was that show last night…such power! I simply cannot leave him to continue assisting those weirdos that call themselves Guardians. He must join me, and he has given me a very useful piece of information that will let me do just that.
“Now, tell me, what does he want with the teeth? Don’t answer, it’s rhetorical. You must know by now that the teeth hold memories. But, who’s memories does he want?” He begins to pace in front of you, obviously knowing the answers to all of the questions that he’s posing but voicing them nonetheless. You wish he’d just get to the point and tell you what he wants from you. “He doesn’t know he’s forgotten you, he hasn’t even the slightest idea that there’s a hole in his memory there, so it can’t be to recover memories he has no idea he’s lost in the first place. No…it’s something he’s come to realize he’s lost. And what would that be, hmm? Ah, yeeees, that makes sense. Memories of his precious little past, from before he became Jack Frost. So he can know why he’s here and all of that delicious stuff.”
“What do you want, Pitch?” you ask, getting quite impatient.
He stops mid-step and walks up to you, towering over you, holding his hands behind his back. He isn’t too thrilled that you interrupted his little speech.
“In case you haven’t noticed,” he says, his voice sharp as a knife. “There is a fairly large amount of boxes here. And I really haven’t the time to sort through them all for Frost’s memories.”
You wouldn’t even know what the right picture would be, anyway, you mentally add, even though you know Pitch would probably recognize the old Jack.
But it is easier to look for and find something if you know what the thing you are searching for looks like.
He shrinks down into the shadows of the walkway, reappearing right behind you.
He lays a long-fingered, cold, grey hand on your shoulder, leaning down into your ear.
“And this is where you come in. You’re going to help me find Jack’s memories.”
One pending question pushes aside another. “Why do you want to help him get his memories of his back? What if he remembers me, in getting back the memories of his past, too? Wouldn’t make him sick again?”
“Ah, but that’s the beauty of it. He won’t want to open the box and get them back.”
You furrow your eyebrows, confused.
“You see, his teeth are going to act as bait, to lure him here while my Nightmares take care of the Guardians…of Easter. He’ll go running back to them, but he’ll be too late. They’ll shun him, just as I said they would. Or rather, will say when he gets here to retrieve his teeth. And then, then he’ll be vulnerable, cast out and alone once more, knowing that I was right. And I will be there. He’ll easily join me.” He chuckles. Low, wicked, from the depths of the birthplace of all shadows. “Perhaps the best part? It’s a two-for-one deal. I gain Jack, and the Guardians lose Easter. The children will all stop believing. They’ll vanish, powerless, their wonder and hope and light gone, and I’ll finally be free to reign. To be believed in.
“And once he joins me…he’ll forget all about his precious little memories. The void filled instead with darkness, cold, hatred. Vengefulness. And more such wonderful sentiments. He’ll be further satisfied as the children begin to believe in him. There won’t be room for him to think about lost memories of a long-ago past. My bet is that he’ll throw the things away to be forever forgotten right after the Guardians excommunicate him, angry at himself for letting things happen and desiring those teeth so much.” Another chuckle. He steps back, walking out in front of you once more, his arms spread out to his sides as he looks up at the cages dangling from the cave ceiling.
“It all works out so perfectly!”
You’re trembling slightly. Your palms are coated in a cold sweat. You subtly wipe them off on the edge of your shirt. There’s no way out of Pitch’s dastardly plan. It’s all in his favor.
The Guardians are going to lose. The world will turn to darkness, all light forever blocked from it. Nightmares will reign.
You clench your hands into fists.
Not if you can help it.
He still needs your help recovering Jack’s teeth.
“And,” you begin, your voice shaking slightly. But not from fear. From anger. “What makes you think I’m going to help you find the teeth?”
Pitch whirls around, grinning.
“Don’t play that with me. I know that you want to help Jack find his memories, too. Tsk, selfish thing, you are. Even if him regaining his past memories may mean him also remembering you and throwing him back into jeopardy, though I doubt he’d really remember since Toothiana did such a fantastic job. I can see your desire. Also, you think I didn’t catch you about to start looking for them when you got here? That want, even if you’ve pushed it to the very back of your brain because you’re now deterred from finding them and helping me, is all I need.”
Your eyes widen.
Are you really going to end up helping Pitch, in bringing about the Guardians’ downfall, because of a now-subconscious wish? To be forced to help, and yet…not forced at the same time?
“How…?” is all you manage to say.
“Teeth are things that are very close to us,” he explains. “They are tied deeply to us, rooted to us, if I may. Such intimacy acts as a sort of key. Only the person that owns them can unlock them. The miniature-fairies have the ability, tied as deeply to us as our teeth, so they can unlock the boxes, unlock the memories and help people remember. I believe that they can just come near the box, and the memories will call out to them, waiting to be opened.
“In this, I have discovered something. A loophole. People who are deeply tied to the owner of the box can behave as the little twerps of birds do in this latter fashion. The memories of the original person will call out to this other person, if the tie between the two is close enough. This other person must actually be wanting to find and activate the memories in the form of the teeth, otherwise they will remain silent. Another safety mechanism so the world doesn’t go ringing with haunting voices of memories past. You were once this close to Jack. Still are, somewhere in the depths of his heart, if I may theorize. The mind never to remember, never permitting the memories of the heart to actually be recalled, but nevertheless. That bond between the two of you is there. Your desire to find Jack’s teeth will call out to them, and they will call back.”
He grabs your arm, dragging you down the walkway. He places you at the edge of the stone, nothing but an innumerable amount of hard, gold, semicircular boxes lying in wait.
“That is all I need.”
And he pushes you over the edge to the depths below.