Preparing to Strike
New York City was buried under three feet of snow as Jack Frost landed on the peak of the Empire State Building. He was panting heavily. How had the Easter Bunny found him so fast? And why were there Yetis chasing him around with a large sack? He knew the Yetis worked for North, as he had tried to break into the North Pole’s workshop many, many times in the past, but he didn’t understand what he had done to upset the spirit of Christmas. The Easter Bunny, he understood. That bunny was out for his head, after what he did on Easter. Jack hadn’t realized what day it was until he had tripped over a frozen egg in the middle of the woods, and after a kid picked it up, passing right through Jack as well. He had fled then, fled to the South Pole while the Easter Bunny was still preoccupied with the rest of Easter Sunday. But now he was relentless, following Jack around in those blasted tunnels of his, trying to speak to him before the Yetis appeared and tried to grab him. Jack had quickly fled, using his power over the wind to launch himself high into the air. Even Bunnymund couldn’t reach him up here, but Jack was still weary of the Yetis.
There were still people down below on the streets, fighting the falling snow and the harsh winds, so it was safe here, for now. Bunnymund and the Yetis couldn’t come out in the open here, where children could see them plain as day. Yet, even as Jack thought this, he heard the now-familiar sound of a tunnel opening up nearby, and he called upon the wind again, perched on his staff as he soared up into the air.
“Come on you blighter! Oi just want to talk!” Jack heard Bunnymund shout as the winter spirit shot up into the air. But the wind carried away the rest of his words as Jack Frost vanished into the clouds. He was in no mood for conversation with anyone, especially not the Easter Bunny. He was so preoccupied he didn’t hear the sound of a sleigh, not until it was right behind him and darkness engulfed him as he was plunged into a giant sack.
“Hey! Let me out of here!” he shouted, his staff knocked out of his hands as the sleigh experienced turbulence. Either the person who had kidnapped him had not heard his cries over the wind or didn’t care, because no response was given and he was not let out of the sack. Jack heard the shattering of a snow globe, and the whoosh of a portal being opened, and he closed his eyes as he was pulled into the portal.
It was night when he arose from the shadows of the streetlamp, causing the light to flicker as he did so. People passed right through him, unaware of his presence. Children these days knew nothing of fear. How lonely it had felt, to be alone, unnoticed by the children, despised by the Guardians. Once, he had tried to compromise with them. He just wanted to be believed in, just spread a little fear. He wanted to be seen. He told them they could have all the holidays they wanted, could do whatever they wanted, and he wouldn’t interfere. In return, he just wanted to scare a few children.
But no, that was not their way. He had been attacked, driven out! What was the Man in Moon thinking? Fear was needed in the world! The children had to be afraid of the woods at night, of the ponds where the ice was too thin, of the dangers of wild animals and of the night. Fear kept the children safe, tucked safely away in bed with their parents watching over them. Without fear, the children would be in danger, so much danger. And so the world needed him, but the Guardians did not realize this. No, they were blinded by their desire to protect the children, and he was seen as a threat. Idiots. And now they were going to pay for their ignorance in the matter. It was Pitch Black’s turn to have children believe in him. He was fear itself, and he wasn’t going to be ignored. But what to do? By himself, even with his army of Nightmares, Pitch knew he’d be overwhelmed.
North, Tooth, Bunny, and the Sandman could practically raise armies as soon as he emerged from the shadows to fight. Taking them on one-by-one wasn’t an option now, not after he’d revealed himself in North’s workshop. He regretted that mood, now, but it was too late to go back now. He could only move forward.
What Pitch needed, he realized, was an ally. He needed someone who could fill his void of loneliness, someone who could be a voice of reason within his anger and revenge filled mind. A neutral party, who could be convinced to join his side. Someone who had a great deal of power, and who had no love of the Guardians would be ideal. But who would that be? Most of the other spirits, if not all of them had a great respect for the Guardians. None came to mind on who he could pick.
A Nightmare trotted up to his side, neighing softly as it butted its head under his hand. It was barely taller than his waist, and he patted it as he listened to its report. So, the Guardians have dragged Jack Frost to the North Pole. Why? Pitch stepped into the shadows, using his powers to easily transport himself to the workshop undetected. As long as he didn’t move and remained in the shadows around the workshop, North or anyone in there wouldn’t see him. It was a useful trick of course, when wanting to eavesdrop. No one willingly revealed secrets when the King of Nightmares was around, after all.
He watched with growing interest as the Big Four confronted the spirit named Jack Frost. The boy seemed irritated by his method of being ‘invited’ to the North Pole, as he had been stuffed into a sack by Yetis after being chased for quite a while by both the Easter Bunny and North’s sleigh. Of course, it had been North’s idea the whole time. In the shadows, Pitch rolled his eyes. Of course the giant man would lack subtlety when it came to inviting people over.
And then the news blindsided him. The Man in Moon wanted Jack Frost to become a Guardian? This was too much of a surprise. There hadn’t been any new Guardians since the end of the Dark Ages, which was where the current four had appeared. So, why had a new Guardian been chosen now? And why Jack Frost? He must have some of power that makes him valuable.
But when Jack Frost had spoken about being alone for 300 years, Pitch felt a pang of pity. The Man in Moon hadn’t spoken to the boy since his creation, and no one had been able to see him. Since Jack Frost wasn’t a Guardian, it wasn’t essential to his existence, but that meant he couldn’t be touched, couldn’t be seen by the children or the adults.
Jack Frost was alone in the world of humans, just like Pitch. And now the winter spirit was acting violent, freezing part of the floor with his staff. He didn’t want to become a Guardian, at least, not yet. Pitch’s eyes widened. This… this was an opportunity he couldn’t miss. He just needed the get the boy alone… He needed a distraction, something to get the Guardian’s out of his hair while he made his offer to Jack Frost. He vanished from the North Pole, reappearing in his lair of shadows. As if sensing his thoughts, there was already a horde of Nightmares gathered around his throne.
“Go to the Tooth Fairy’s palace, and cause a distraction. Harass the fairies; attempt to steal the teeth, whatever. Get the Guardians nice and occupied, but be ready to fall back on my command.” He ordered, and the Nightmares vanished into the stream of dark sand, which swirled up and out of his shadowy lair. Pitch sighed, and sat down on his throne for a moment. Starlight shone down from the entrance above, casting a white light that beautifully contrasted with the shadows. Snapping his fingers, Pitch caused the whole scenery to change; the cages vanished, unneeded, and a multitude of dark mirrors appeared, reflecting places from all over the world. He watched the Guardians clashing with his Nightmares, but Jack Frost was absent from their number. Using his mirrors, Pitch Black searched the world for the elusive winter spirit. Ah, there he was, sitting in an ice cave in the depths of the South Pole. Pitch gathered himself up, and vanished into the shadows. He reappeared outside of the cave, and prepared to make a deal.