Author's Note- Yay, snow day! Thanks, Jack! In return, allow me to write a story in which you have been terribly tortured!
The basic premise behind this is that my Pitch, the one I wrote in my other fic, A Home For Fear, has somehow managed to stumble into one of the other stories, where Pitch is an evil bastard who really likes to hurt Jack. My Pitch, on the other hand, is friends with Jack and is a sort of okay guy, for the boogeyman. That's all you really need to know about him to understand the story.
Warnings- Mentions of violence and torture.
Pitch struggled out of unconsciousness, finally managing to pry his eyes open. He rubbed his forehead with a groan. Where was he? What had happened? Last thing he recalled was falling through some kind of portal…
"Who dares to intrude on the lair of the Nightmare King?" Pitch heard someone demand from behind him. He turned around abruptly and found himself face to face with… himself. For a moment the two Pitch Blacks just stared at each other.
"Is this some kind of trick?" They both asked in stereo. The other Pitch narrowed his eyes. "Who are you?"
"Pitch Black, same as you, it would appear." The newly-awakened Pitch got to his feet. "I suppose I've ended up in some kind of parallel reality." He grinned at the other him. "How nice that the first person to greet me is such a handsome devil."
That got a smile from the other. "Charming, too. So, your reality is different from mine? How so? Did you beat the Guardians?"
"No, unfortunately. I gather you didn't either?"
"No, though I have managed to gain some small measure of revenge… Would you like to see?"
"Of course I would."
"Follow me, then."
The two of them swept through the shadowy lair effortlessly. Finally, they reached what must have been what the other Pitch had been referring to. It took Pitch a moment to recognize the small, terribly battered figure chained to the wall, but when he did, panic swept through him. No, no, it can't be. This isn't my Jack.
The other Pitch, sensing the fear, looked at the new one questioningly. "What's the matter? Don't you like what I did with him? I mean, he's not completely broken yet, but I think I'm pretty close by now…"
Pitch turned on the other him with a scream of rage, shadows and nightmare sand springing to his command.
Pitch stumbled over to the wall, breathing heavily. It hadn't been easy, but he had finally managed to drive the other him off. He'd never thought he would have had to fight himself. The boogeyman reached the spot where this reality's Jack was pinned, and the fresh sight of the boys wounds made him wince. "Oh, Jack…" he whispered.
The frost spirit's eyes sprang open and fixed on him. "No, no, please…" he pleaded, eyes wide.
The sheer amount of fear that washed off of Jack was breathtaking. It was incredible, delicious and heady. For a moment, Pitch's mind went blank as he drank in the sweet treat.
His expression must have changed to something predatory, because Jack stopped speaking and, with a whimper, shrank back as much as possible. Pitch gritted his teeth and clenched his fist, nails biting into his palm. This wasn't what he was here for. He couldn't afford to waste time like this, not when the other him might recover and return at any time.
"I'm not here to hurt you," Pitch said softly. The boy didn't seem to believe him, judging from the fear still spilling through the air like blood in the water. Pitch supposed he couldn't blame him. He reached up and touched the shackles around the boy's wrists, the restraints dissolving under his fingers. Jack fell forward from the wall, too weak to hold himself up. Pitch caught him before he hit the ground, but at the boogeyman's touch the frost spirit shrieked and recoiled, jerking out of the hold and landing heavily on the stone floor. He gave a moan of pain but still tried to scramble away from Pitch.
The sight of Jack so damaged brought back that same feeling of intense rage Pitch had felt before, rage at the other him and rage at the fact that this had been allowed to happen, somehow.
He clung to it, focusing on that instead of just how much he enjoyed the terrible, broken fear that Jack was giving him so generously. "Idiot! You'll only harm yourself more!" he growled. The boy didn't listen, why wouldn't he just listen? Pitch suddenly caught sight of black veins that were running under Jack's skin, visible on both his neck and the sliver of pale waist that his hoodie had been hiked up over in his struggle. Pitch froze for an instant. "No, he didn't..." he whispered.
Pitch waved his hand and shadows curled back around Jack's arms and legs, restraining him once more. The boogeyman crouched down and pushed Jack's hoodie further up his torso, ignoring the boy's keening pleas for him to stop. There, in the side. What looked like an old puncture wound and stemming from it, hundreds of inky black veins, darker than the bruises, abrasions, and cuts littering Jack's chest. Pitch took a inhaled, hissing breath in sympathy. That looked bad, very bad, and it was most certainly spreading. Pitch could draw out the darkness, but it would be most certainly unpleasant for Jack. He flicked his eyes to Jack's face. The frost spirit was staring at him in stark, abject terror, his entire body quaking. Pitch swallowed. What had gone just so wrong in this reality? He supposed it didn't matter; he had no power to change the past. Though maybe he could effect the future. "I'm afraid I lied, Jack. This will hurt. …For what it's worth, I'm sorry."
He pressed one hand to the puncture wound and called to the nightmare sand beneath Jack's skin. The Guardian's body arched in agony and a rending scream pierced the air.
Jack had mercifully passed out partway through the extraction process. Pitch had managed to keep the Nightmares away from him, though the beasts always were unruly and these ones weren't even his. After he smashed three or four of them into bits, though, they got the message to keep away.
Finally finished, he gathered Jack's small, limp body into his arms and was about to vanish into the shadows when it occurred to him that there was something missing. Where was Jack's staff? He sent his shadows out questing and they returned momentarily with eight bits of wood. Of course. Pitch checked to make sure he had all of the pieces, then tied them in a bundle with one of the leather laces that held Jack's pant legs to his calves. Something not of shadows. No reason to make it easier for the other him to get his hands back on them.
That done, he melted into the shadows, bringing Jack with him. It was time to visit the North Pole.
Thinking of the Guardians made his blood boil. Jack was one of them, wasn't he?! How could they have allowed this?! They should have protected him! Not only were they self-righteous, arrogant, narrow-minded, unimaginative, humorless twats, they were bloody useless in this reality too! By all rights, he should march in there and beat the lot of them to within an inch of their immortal lives. Then he could sequester Jack away and shield him from everything and anything, and never let him out of his sight.
But he couldn't. He wasn't a part of this reality and would have to return home sooner or later. Besides, Jack would never recover under his care. Physically, certainly, he could. But mentally? The boy needed hope and wonder, sweet dreams and good memories to wash away whatever atrocities he had endured. Not the nightmares and shadows that Pitch had to offer, as much as it galled him to admit it.
So Pitch marched up to the door of Santoff Clausen and pounded on it furiously, until North opened it and his face washed over with fear for Jack and anger at the boogeyman. Pitch snarled and thrust Jack into the Cossack's arms. "You're a Guardian, aren't you?! So GUARD him!" He hurled the staff pieces at North's feet and vanished before the man decided to attack him.