Sorry for the short chapter, and the late update. My muse has eloped, and I'm having trouble writing today.
A fearling appeared in the door and whinnied, catching the others attention. Jack looked in confusion at Pitch.
"I thought you said that you lost control over them." Pitch shrugged with a faint smirk.
"This nightmare will show you to your cell. I won't bother chaining you, because if you do run away, I'll blow up your precious guardians before you have a chance to send word. Understand?" The winter spirit scowled.
"I'm not you, Pitch: I don't break my promises." With that he turned and left the room. Pitch waited until he was well out of earshot before dragging the other guardians back into the light. Their faces were a mixture of horror and fury, and the Nightmare King laughed as he allowed the gags to dissolve away.
"I don't know if you've ever heard of a summer spirit called Aestive," spat Bunny angrily, "but you should go and find out what happened to him."
"If you touch one hair on Jack's head, I swear I will-" Tooth was snarling.
"You'll never see sunlight again, not if I have anything to do with it! What did you poison us with to make us treat Jack like that, hey? What did you-" Suddenly Pitch disappeared into the shadows, and they were left by themselves, still chained to the ground. Without someone to vent their ire on, their minds quickly returned to Jack. Tooth began to cry again, and North hugged her gently. Bunny's ears went flat onto his back while he stared at his feet, and Sandy looked around desolately.
"I can't believe he'd do that. After all we did to him," said the Pooka finally. "After all we said, after all we did, he'd still..." Tears started to leak gently into his fur. North sighed heavily.
"Jack is best of us all," he said.
"We have to save him," Tooth stammered out from between sobs. "We have to."
"How?" asked Bunny. "We can't even save ourselves."
Sandy had been listening to the conversation, but only partially. Most of his mind was focused on the task at hand, made far more difficult than it should have been due to the chains around his wrists. However, Sanderson Mansnoozie was nothing if not determined, and after a few minutes a small gold mouse ran off his arm and disappeared into the shadows. None of the other guardians even noticed.
Jack glanced around and sighed miserably. His cell was small, made from rough stone, with puddles of water collecting in the drips. There was no furniture, no windows, nothing but a rusted pile of chains in the corner. Unsurprisingly, it was also dark. He had never mentioned this to anyone, but he hated the dark, and he feared it too.
Was it possible for this day to get any worse?
"I didn't know you were afraid of the dark," purred a voice from behind him. Jack clenched his teeth: of course it could.
"I don't make it a habit of telling the man obsessed with fear what I'm afraid of," he replied without turning around. Something hit him hard in the back of the head, and he staggered forward with a surprised grunt of pain. He turned to see that Pitch's expression had twisted into a glare.
"I won't tolerate backtalk," he hissed. Grabbing the back of Jack's hoodie he slammed the child into the wall. "Attempted escapes will be dealt with severely." For the second time that day, Jack was thrown to the floor with a sickening crack. "Refusal to follow commands will also receive punishment." A heavy boot kicked him in the ribs and Jack cried out in pain. "As will failure to complete tasks properly." The boot kicked again and again as Jack curled in on himself, trying not to whimper. "Any defiance, including trying to escape beatings, will get you whipped." A hand grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him up so that they were eye to eye. "And any form of fraternising with anyone who is not me will get you beaten to within an inch of your life." The Nightmare King laughed, dropping the boy and straightening up. "And I may kill a few of those little tooth fairies too."
The fear given off was delicious, and Pitch couldn't resist one more kick, this time to the boy's head. The smaller immortal lay curled up on the floor, lips pressed tight together and frozen orbs of ice rolling from his eyes. Perhaps one more thing...
Jack couldn't suppress his yell as he was thrown across the room, his body slamming into a wall and sliding down onto the floor below. Pain clouded his mind, and for a moment he looked stared up at Pitch in horror and fear before everything went black.
Baby Tooth had been searching desperately, with no idea where to start, when the North Wind came and found her. Though she couldn't understand it in the way Jack could, she manage to grasp that it wanted to take her to Jack. Flying as fast as she could, she had raced to northern Canada, just to see a bubble of ice with the silhouette of a body inside it get dragged into the ground by the nightmare sand.
Now she found herself trying to understand what a mute golden mouse was trying to say. She chirped at it desperately, both of them getting more and more frustrated, until the mouse explode in her face. She only had a moment to register what had happened before she collapsed sideways, falling into a deep sleep.
In her dream, she was in Pitch's lair. The bubble that had contained Jack was there as well as the guardians. She watched the scene unfold in horror, anger rising for her icy friend. When Pitch proposed the deal her tiny frame rocked in horror. Jack accepted, and she held back tears.
That was the end of the dream she'd been sent. As she sat up, Baby Tooth thought about what she had just seen; Sandy must have had a reason to show it to her. Suddenly she realised, and a vengeful smile crawled over her feathery face.
If the guardians come looking for you, you will hide until I've repelled them.
Baby Tooth was no guardian.