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I'm writing! *squee!* You don't know how much this lifts my spirits! =D

This lovely fic is a co-written piece by myself and the lovely [profile] frostydragon! I’m writing for Pitch, Sandy, and Bunnymund where she is writing for North, Jack, and Toothinia.

It’s been several years since the Guardians defeated Pitch, but they are bound to cross paths again, and when they do, the Guardians have decided that things between them have to change. As with pretty much all of my fics, this contains nonconsensual spanking of an adult, so consider yourself warned!





Chapter one

Alone

The terrifying neigh of one of his fearlings echoed across the cavernous expanse as Pitch ducked to hide in one of the many shadows his lair afforded. How did this happen? He was, and had been, being hunted by his own essence since his defeat at the hands of the Guardians. After taking a hold of Sandy’s dreamsand and manipulating it to create these nightmares to be his personal army; they had so readily turned on him!

After his downfall, they had feasted on his personal torment of failure and continued to do so. There was still so much fear here deep within him that Pitch just couldn’t shut out, and he hated himself for this most. They kept him here… running… constantly lurking and hiding. If he were mortal, his heart would have given out some time ago. But as it was, these creatures only seemed to give him peace long enough to give him a false sense of security before reemerging to send him into a whole new wave of panic and terror… after all, they fed off of fear, and as it was, his was quite palpable and readily available.

How long had he been down here running from his own fears? It wasn’t fair! This was HIS domain! Why should he have to wallow in these feelings? He should be immune to them, but the truth was that there was so much more to fear than there was to hope for wasn’t there? He knew the true horrors that went bump in the night, the fears that kept man and child awake. There was so much to be afraid of, and wasn’t fear important? After all, fear was instinctual, it kept many alive. But of course the Guardians never saw his use in the world. How could they when they were so convinced that he needed to be extinguished! Such arrogance! His failure had spurned his already burning hatred of the Man in the Moon and his champions, the Guardians, but even this faded over time as the years melted into one another.

Anger had turned to despair over time as Pitch felt himself giving in to the idea that this would be his existence for the remainder of eternity, or at least until the world moved on and no longer needed any of them. Would he fade away then? Would his torment finally end like this as he just ceased to be? His heart ached at the thought as his loneliness surged to a new high and a single tear receded down his cheek. Dealing with the fear he could stand, but the isolation tore at his soul in a way that only seemed to amplify over time.

A light illuminated in the distance, and Pitch’s brow furrowed. Was it a trick? He cautiously moved towards it trying to keep his anxiety in check that this was in fact just another terrible nightmare waiting to dash any strand of hope he may have. His heart quickened as he drew near, and snorts of recognition resonated off the walls. The nightmares could sense him acutely now, and it would not be long before they were upon him he knew.

But the light; the light had not vanished as he had expected it to. No, straight above, the night sky could be seen passing through the cracked boards of the entrance to his lair. It has to be a trick! His mind screamed at him that he was a fool for even contemplating the notion. After all, this entrance had been sealed under compacted dirt so long ago that Pitch had almost forgotten what it had looked like. The light did not fade away as he had anticipated though, and the starlight above seemed to shine an ever brighter hue beckoning him.

Pitch clamored to the top, his powers had been severely diminished since his last bout, and his weakness in this manner was not lost on him as he gritted his teeth with the effort. He half predicted that he would just be grabbed by the nightmares currently hunting him as soon as he touched the surface, to steal this small victory from him and squash his spirit that much more, but to his amazement instead the ground rumbled sinking in on itself and pulling the broken remains of the wooden bedframe into the depths to return to a smooth patch of dirt as if the hole was never there to begin with.

His eyes darted around as Pitch backed away from the anomaly he was experiencing. Was this some new level of cruelty to think he could have finally escaped that nightmare? He backed away quickly hiding holding his breath as he listened. He could hear his own heartbeat pounding in his ears, but nothing happened.

He stayed that way for long minutes just waiting… still, nothing. When he finally felt he had the nerve, he moved from shadow to shadow gliding through the trees to a hilltop where the night sky illuminated its beauty. He stared now at the moon a look of puzzlement crossing his features as he shouted, “Why? Why now? Do you think this makes anything different? You’re wrong! Nothing has changed! Do you hear me! Nothing!” Pitch raged, but what he said was a lie, he had changed. Expelling many of the fearlings from him had weakened him yes, but it had also given him a newfound clarity. Suddenly his thoughts were more his own now, his anger had dulled somewhat, and what he felt more than anything was confusion and at a loss for the purpose of all this. Was the man in the moon showing him pity? The thought revolted Pitch, the last thing he ever wanted was ‘his’ pity! He got no response though, and after a time, Pitch wandered away lost in his thoughts. What was he supposed to do now?

Time passed, Pitch wandered the Earth at first avoiding the Guardians at all cost and trying to regain a bit of the previous power he held by what he saw to be parlor tricks to scare children by elongating and changing the shapes of shadows in children’s bedrooms. This elicited a few screams of terror, but the swell of power he gained from this was most often quelled as quickly as it came by a caring parent that came to comfort the fear away and encourage the child into believing his hold was not real. This of course only enraged Pitch, but it was nothing he wasn’t already used to, and so he moved on.

Pitch’s seclusion was only matched by his curiosity as he would see the Guardians like Toothinia and Sandy going about their routines, and his fear of them subsided slightly as he now took time to watch them from afar. He often told himself that they bored him, and he was only studying them to find any weaknesses he might later exploit, but the truth of the matter was that all Pitch really had was time. And time had a way of distorting the way you thought, and without much of anything better to do, it was as good a task as any to spend his nights. At least they were like him even if they couldn’t stand each other, there was some level of relatability there.

So it was that Pitch watched Jack Frost now bounding about spreading layers of frost across the houses he flitted past and pausing here and there to lay his fingertips into intricate designs on window panes, a signature pleasure it seemed for Jack. Pitch merely frowned of course remembering that of all the Guardians, Jack was the one that he had underestimated. It was this little imp that had given the little boy, Jaimie the power to stand up to him, (who was now a grandfather spreading the sickening tale of his defeat and bolstering the belief in the Guardians to his eight grandchildren much to Pitch’s disdain.)

Shaking this distasteful memory from his thoughts, Pitch returned his gaze to the sky to find Frost, but the boy had seemingly vanished. His eyes scanned the streets now realizing he’d lost sight of him. Pitch was about to focus his efforts elsewhere, after all, there was much better things to do with his night than follow that miscreant around. A cold chill ran up Pitch’s spine as a voice cleared behind him, and he stiffly turned around to see Jack staring coolly at him.

Pitch cringed momentarily at the realization of finally being caught after all this time following the Guardians and what that would mean for him, but then, this was Jack, and Pitch was confident that he could outmaneuver him by himself. He would just have to go in hiding for a time until his sighting had blown over. Regaining his composure, Pitch rose to his full height narrowing his eyes at the boy, “If it isn’t the neutral party. I see that you’ve become quite chummy with the others. Did they give you an honorary title to become their little toady?”

“Maybe,” Jack shrugged nonchalantly. “Although, I really don’t see that it’s any of your business, especially since you aren’t even supposed to be here. Why are you here? I thought we imprisoned you underground years ago. Coming out to cause more trouble?"

Pitch balled his fists at his sides his eyes darkened with his anger. Cause more trouble? The audacity of Jack Frost of all people to accuse him of such! Pitch grit his teeth and seethed, “Not supposed to be here! Why… and what makes you think that you are? Any of you for that matter!? I have just as much right as you do…” Pitch trailed off relaxing in both posture and tone, “I wouldn’t worry about me; I have been out of that hole in the ground for quite some time, and try as you might, I’m never going back.” Pitch’s scowl returned to his face as he turned away from Jack. He wished that he’d had enough power to just disappear or even better to summon a scythe blade to cut the half-pint in two, but in his current weakened state briskly walking away was the extent of his defiance as he spat, “Consider this the last you’ll see of me.”

Before Pitch got far, the crook of Jack’s staff hooked onto his shoulder, jerking him back and spinning him around to face the winter trickster.

“Not so fast.” said Jack. “You know, I almost pity you… almost. First of all, we're Guardians. That gives us every right to be here. We protect children from threats like you, in case you've forgotten. Secondly, I have every reason to worry about you--we all do--seeing how our last encounter went. You've been out of your hole for a long time? I... don't like the sound of that." Jack tapped the bottom of his staff on the ground, causing a frosty coating to cover the area between his and Pitch's feet. "Actually, I think North would like to hear about this."

Pitch’s eyes widened as he was snagged and spun about like a ragdoll, the sheet of ice Jack had created beneath their feet made Pitch struggle to keep his footing as he was swiftly slid into close proximity of the boy once more. Once his situation fully registered, Pitch narrowed his eyes summoning all the power he could muster to spew out a blast of inky darkness between the two as he stated matter-of-factly, “I think not!”

As the darkness spread out in all directions to cover a 30 foot radius, Pitch scrambled to make it to the wood line and slip into the shadows. If he could make it to the multitude of shadows there, he could disappear from Jack’s sight easily as hiding in shadows was still a definite skill set for Pitch. Unfortunately, between Jack’s staff hooked around his shoulder and the sheet of ice, it slowed him considerably. Pitch slipped and slid in a comical fashion across the slippery surface feeling quite ridiculous as the shadowy substance he’d emitted began to fade, and he’d only made it about 20 feet away. He cringed at the thought of how he must look to the Guardian. If the boy hadn’t known he’d lost most of his powers before, he would surely know now.

Jack quickly raised his arms to shield himself from whatever attack Pitch had in mind, but lowered them again when he saw the black shadows fizzle out like a dud firecracker. An amused smile formed on his lips as he watched the nightmare king slip and slide on the ice in front of him, a few of his brief positions being quite undignified. Finally Pitch could no longer control his feet. Both of them gave out from under him at the same exact time and he sat down hard on the ground.

Jack winced. "Ooo, that's going to smart in the morning." he mumbled to himself. Unhooking his staff from Pitch's shoulder, Jack leaned against it and placed a hand in front of his mouth to stifle a giggle as he watched Pitch attempt to get up.

"What was that all about?" Jack said with a faint hint of a laugh. "Aw, did poor Pitch hurt himself?" the boy smiled down at the dark man. "Wow! Years of being confined must have taken a lot out of you."

Pitch jerked angrily as he clamored to his feet still shaking with the effort to remain upright. He growled, “Of course my struggles would be your amusement!” A slight pout crossed his features as he momentarily felt sorry for himself. He supposed he knew this day would come, but he’d hoped to not look so ridiculous when it came about. As it was, this display was shameful, and he sighed in defeat rubbing at his temples, “You couldn’t possibly begin to know what I’ve faced. No matter.” He turned a congenial smile on Jack now as he clasped his hands together, “It has been many years by your own admission, as it is, I’ve stayed out of you and your fellow Guardians’ way, so how’s about you return the favor,” he lost his smile now as his face took on a brooding seriousness, “…and leave me be. Only ill will come otherwise, so I suggest you not raise my ire.”

Jack studied Pitch for several minutes, weighing his decision. Letting him go seemed like a stupid thing to do. After all, he had proven dangerously powerful the last time they faced him and came close to ending all of them. It had been a very close call—a little too close. In the midst of it, Jack had discovered secrets about himself that he never knew and unlocked powers he never knew he had. But Pitch had grown beyond even them, and it had taken more than Jack’s power to stop him.

A look of seriousness washed over Jack’s face as he remembered back on it all. The fact that Pitch had come out into the real world again was enough to send up signal flares in the young boy’s brain. But… then again, Pitch seemed to have lost most of, if not all of his power. The lord of nightmares was helpless, unable to do any real harm. It almost seemed cruel to imprison him again, especially since he hadn't done anything threatening. What was the harm of just letting him wander?

One of Tooth’s little fairies, appearing to materialize out of nowhere, quickly flew up and hovered next to Jack’s head, bringing the boy out of his thoughts. The little baby tooth squeaked something in his ear and he nodded in reply. The hummingbird fairy turned and suddenly let out a piercing squeal when she finally saw Pitch standing before them. She darted behind Jack and poked her head up over his shoulder.

“Yes, I know,” Jack said with a sigh. “There’s no need to worry, though. He has no power.” Jack said to the fairy.

The fairy squawked in protest, however.

“Of course I’m sure.” Jack replied. “He tried using his powers just a few minutes ago and failed.”

Baby Tooth moved up to just a little past Jack’s shoulder and nervously twitched as her tiny eyes studied the dark form before her.

Jack turned his attention back to Pitch. “Okay, Pitch. I’ll let you go, just this once.” he pointed a warning finger at the nightmare king. “But I’ll be keeping a close watch on you. If you so much as step out of line, we'll be coming after you. So I suggest that you think hard about that dark hole you crawled out of every time you get the urge to spread your fear around, because if you ever give us a reason to come after you we'll put you back there."

Pitch had grown wary that Jack was not in fact going to let him go, and in his current state, the boy may have actually been able to prevent him. When the squawking fairy came to interfere, Pitch grew rigid that Toothina would soon show, and then there would be two of them against just him. But Jack’s words lifted his spirits as the only words he really heard was that he was letting him go.

Pitch let out a laugh of triumph his toothy grin spreading fully across his face as he exclaimed in his exuberance, “Of course not! You can trust you’ll never see me again…” He backed away off the ice, and once he had a sure foothold into the snow, Pitch quickly backed into the nearest shadow as his mirth and confidence grew. He let out a soft chuckle as he became one with the shadows disappearing from sight, “Yes, you’ll never see me coming.”

Jack watched as Pitch vanished seamlessly into the darkness shaking his head, “Come on Baby Tooth, we’ve got better places to be.”

Jack Frost leisurely walked into the room where the rest of the Guardians were gathered around a grand fireplace as only the North Pole could afford. As usual, he was lost in his own thoughts and half took in everyone else around him. Baby Tooth fluttered energetically around his head, eventually flying off to join Toothiana, who was busy chattering about the newest teeth she had acquired through the night. Her excitement was lost to the wind, though, since no one else but her cared.

Bunny was complaining about his frozen feet as usual. Sandy was asleep. And there was a mixture of yetis and elves running around doing a number of different jobs at once, that is if you considered what the elves were doing to be actual ‘jobs’. Rudely drinking out of everyone’s mug of hot cocoa hardly seemed like a promising career, but Jack chuckled at the action. North, aka Santa Claus, was in a deep discussion with one of his yetis. Something about one of the toys they were making, from what little of it Jack overheard.

Jack glanced up at the moon through the skylight over him and shook his head, wondering why it was that the man in the moon had felt that he needed a family like this. He was glad, though. He wouldn't trade any of them in for the world.

"SO!" North turned around, clapping his hands together once, his business with the yeti finally resolved. "Report. What goes on in world? Anything I should know about?"

"Nothing new since the last time we met." Tooth replied first, cupping some of her newest teeth in her hands like they were precious jewels. "My night of gathering teeth went smoothly. Although, there was one incident where a child almost came close to waking up and seeing me."

"What about you, Sandy?" North turned to the little sleeping golden man hovering beside him. "Sandy!" he nudged him.

Sandy blinked awake his eyes still lulling dazedly before shrugging and emitting a gust of sand that shaped itself into a question mark.

“Report,” North repeated. “Anything unusual happen last night?”

Sandy shook his head before smiling and forming a thumbs up hand above his head.

Smiling, North nodded. “Glad to hear it.” he turned to face Jack. “What about you, Jack?”

Jack was silent a few minutes. He had been secretly dreading this moment. Ever since their last run-in with Pitch, North had insisted on having weekly meetings where they all gathered at the North Pole and each of them reported happenings out in the human world. It was North’s way of keeping an eye on things, to make sure the children weren’t threatened again by evil. Naturally, the ones doing the most reporting were Tooth, Sandy, and himself, since they were out and about the most.

Clearing his throat, Jack straightened up from where he had been leaning against his staff. He shrugged, looking down at the floor.

“Nothing much to report.” he said, rather slowly. Baby Tooth immediately began squawking, flying up to his face. Startled, he took a few steps back.

“What?” Tooth’s eyes grew wide, obviously understanding Baby Tooth’s squeaky language. She flew closer to Jack. “You mean…” Tooth’s words trailed off.

“What? What is it?” North said, concerned. Tooth turned toward him, shaking her head, words failing to come out of her mouth.

Jack sighed, rolling his eyes up towards the moon. “Okay, okay, I saw Pitch last night.”

Toothiana dropped her teeth.

Bunnymund had been laid out in one of the many comfy rocking chairs covered in a homemade quit while warming his enormous feet in the fire’s warmth, but the mention of Pitch had him clamoring to the point of almost tripping as he tossed his blanket aside, “What was that you say?! Pitch! And you’re jus’ now mentioning this ta us mate?” Bunnymund was now standing beside Jack his ears peeled back in obvious agitation that Jack had not brought up the matter much sooner.

Sandy was no longer half asleep as he reflected worry of the newfound news.

“WHAT?” North bellowed. “What do you mean Pitch is loose? I am with Bunny. You just now tell us this? And what did you do with him?—let him go?”

The whole room suddenly erupted in one huge uproar as everyone started talking at once and tried giving their opinions at the same time.

“Relax! Everyone, relax.” Jack held up a hand, attempting to calm his comrades. “He’s harmless now. Years of being confined to that hole we put him in has taken all of his powers away. He tried using them to escape from me, but they didn’t work.”

“They… didn’t… work,” North repeated, shaking his head, forcing a smile. “He couldn’t have been playing you for fool?”

“North is right.” said Tooth. “How do you know he wasn’t pretending to be powerless? You can’t trust him Jack. You should know that.”

“He told me that he’s been out wandering the world for years. I just figured that if he’s been loose that long he would have done something by now if he did have his powers.”

“He’s been loose for years and we did not know?” North couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“There, you see,” said Jack. “Isn’t that proof enough? If he was still as powerful as he was when we put him in that hole, we would have known about it before now.”

North began to pace. “It is still not good.”

“He could just be biding his time,” Tooth mused, “Planning something.”

“Tooth is right. Pitch is too smart to try something without plan. We must find and capture him before he does damage.”

“Bu—but he’s harmless.” Jack protested. “It seems cruel to lock him away when he hasn’t done anything.”

“Not done anything? HA!” North stopped pacing and spun around to look at Jack. “Have you forgotten what he did years ago? He still has lot to pay for. You seeing him last night means he has broken out of his prison. We must find him before he does damage.” North thought a moment shaking his head, “If only there were other way.”

Tooth flew up to North. “Maybe we could punish him another way that wouldn’t require him to be locked away in that old dark hole. I… sort of agree with Jack. Even though Pitch has done a lot of bad things, it does seem… well… cruel… to keep him locked away for so long, alone.”

Bunnymund wrinkled his nose, “Are you serious? We’re talkin’ about Pitch here! Have you forgotten how close he came to throwing us all back in the dark ages?” He gave a humorless laugh, “No way we can let him just wander about all willy nilly. I say throw him back down a hole and leave ‘im to rot in the dark where he belongs.” He made a motion of washing his hands of the conversation as if he’d finally brought reason to the table.

Sandy whom had been quietly taking in the scene rose into the sky now with an uncertainty plastered on his features. He held up both hands as if he were waiting to have them filled. His dream sand formed into shapes within his cupped hands depicting a scene of Pitch’s nightmares galloping in circles with a rising laughing Pitch growing larger in the center. The dream sand shifted as a strand of sand whipped circles around the nightmares and the two coalesced into a whirlwind to bind the sand Pitch as the struggling form shrank under the binding.

“Ha! See, Sandy agrees with me!” Bunnymund threw his hands towards the mime to indicate another vote of confidence.

Sandy frowned shaking his head no as he held up the trussed figure now sitting in the palm of his hand shaking his head yes. Sandy then pulled more sand depicting a wave that covered the prone figure burying it as all the sand dissipated he wagged his finger in disapproval shaking his head no.

Bunnymund gave him a look as if Sandy had gone mad, “What, you want us to put a leash on him? What are we supposed to do when he starts hatchin’ another one a his plans ta destroy us and everything we stand for? Spank him? I mean seriously, we’re better off just throwin’ him back down that hole believe me!”

Tooth cringed. "A leash? He’s not an animal."

“You have to admit, though, it’s a pretty good idea.” Jack chuckled. “We could put him to work around here. You know… like community service, or something like that. It would keep him busy and keep him out of the darkness at the same time. Not to mention, it would make it easier for us to keep an eye on him.”

North had been standing in the middle of the room, stroking his long white beard in thought while listening to his fellow Guardians discussing Pitch’s future. Finally he stepped forward and put a hand on Bunny’s shoulder.

“You know,” he started. “Bunny may be on to something.”

Tooth turned her attention to North.

Jack’s eyebrows lifted as he gave the large man a curious look. “You… agree that Pitch should be put back into the hole?”

“Nah,” North waved the idea off. “Now that I think about it, I am in agreement with you. Pitch being alone down in that hole,” North shook his head, “gives him too much time to hatch plots. Even though he is being punished, it does break my heart to think of him being alone and dwelling in so much blackness. There must be better way, and I think Bunny has given me idea. We will find Pitch and bring him back here to work, as Jack suggests. And if Pitch tries any funny business, I will spank him.”

The room was silent for what seemed like forever as all eyes turned to North. The only sound came from one of the elves dropping the mug he had been busy lapping cocoa out of. Jack couldn’t contain his amusement any longer and a loud laugh burst forth, earning him a startled look from Bunny.

“You serious?” Jack said, sucking in a gulp of air before trailing off into more laughter.

"What??" Tooth's pink eyes blinked, struggling to understand. The look on her face was a mixture of confusion and concern, like the thought of North spanking Pitch was worse than stuffing him down a hole.

It took a moment for what North had said to really register before Bunny also hooted, “Now that is rich! The thought of Pitch getting spanked is just too much!” He all out laughed wiping tears from his eyes before getting himself under control, “No really North, that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard you say!”

Sandy observed the others taking in their responses before gliding up beside North and giving his arm a pat before looking out at the others as a sign that he agreed with his robust friend.

“And Sandy agrees.” Jack said, still laughing. “Oh, come on, you’re kidding right? I mean, I don’t disapprove of it or anything, but… spank Pitch? It seems… I dunno… a little weird, I guess?” he stifled more laughter that was fast coming out.

North shook his head. “I am not kidding. It’s been long time since I delivered such a punishment, true, but I cannot think of a more fitting one for Pitch.”

“But…” Tooth fluttered up to North. “Don’t you think that’s a little too harsh? Hitting him… and all,”

North turned a surprised look to the fairy. “This coming from someone who knocked Pitch’s tooth out with right hook?”

Toothiana forced a shy, guilty smile. “You’ve got me there. But… spanking…”

“Is not hitting,” North finished her sentence. “Not if done properly. Believe me; I have no intentions of permanently harming him. I’m Santa, after all.”

“I don't agree with this," Tooth shook her head. "There must be another way.”

“Nonsense,” North waved her away. “My mind is made up.” he turned. "Bunny, Jack, since you two find so much amusement in all of this, I'm electing both of you to go out and find Pitch and bring him back here."

Jack stopped laughing, turning a serious face to North. "Us? How are we supposed to get Pitch back here?"

"How do you get him back here?" North shrugged and waved a hand toward Bunny. "You will have Bunny. Throw him down a hole."

Jack gripped his staff tighter and glanced nervously at Bunny. It all sounded like a good plan, but... one part of him was still worried that something would go wrong. Even if Pitch didn't have all of his powers, he still didn't know how the nightmare king would react or what sort of fight he would put up if he knew he was being kidnapped by a boy and a six foot rabbit. Finally, he nodded.

Bunnymund straightened finally noting the seriousness of the situation, “Alright ya crazy bugger, if’n you really think bringing Pitch here is a good idea, I’ll help catch the slippery wisp. I don’t like thinkin’ of him lurking about in the shadows left to his own devices either, and I’d rather he be here than out there. I have ta say though I think you’re out of your flippin’ gourd.”

Sandy floated over to Jack and Bunny looking to both of them before looking back to North with a worried glance. It seemed the golden man was deliberating whether he should join them or stay at the Pole.

"I still don't agree with this, North," said Tooth. "I think we can handle it another way, without violence."

North turned a scowl to her. "Who said anything 'bout violence? It is not violence! Is just smacked bum. Hurt for short time, then he will be good as new."

Toothiana, face turning the slightest red, opened her mouth to comment further, but decided not to say anymore and shut her mouth. She turned a flustered glance at the rest, then quickly flew out of the room, Baby Tooth following after her. North shook his head, not fully understanding the Tooth Fairy.

Jack sighed. "Well, I guess we'd better get going." he glanced at Sandy hovering in front of them. "You coming too? I hope so. You're the only one who could probably restrain him long enough for us to get him here.

Sandy gave Jack a broad smile as he nodded lightly.

Bunnymund whipped a boomerang out mumbling something under his breath about not understanding why sticking Pitch down a hole wasn’t the best solution, but no one was paying him any mind anymore. Turning to the others, he asked, “So where do we start looking? We should probably go back to the last place you saw him ta see ifn’ we can pick up a trail… how the heck we’re going to track a shadow though is beyond me.”

Jack told the other two the whereabouts he’d last seen Pitch, and Bunny nodded grimly, “Right. I’ll see ya there in a jif. We can regroup and start scouring the area.” As he said this, he thumped a foot on the ground opening a hole that he quickly disappeared through.

Sandy smiled forming a cloud under his feet as he floated out of North’s skylight, and Jack followed as the two made their way back to where Jack had last seen Pitch.

For his part, Pitch was in a sour mood having been made a fool of by Frost. He had hidden, but as the night had waned on into the next night, he saw no one coming for him, so he relaxed thinking to himself that the flippant boy had likely forgotten about him the moment he flew away. Could he really see him as that little of a threat? The hatred and anger for the Guardians blossomed anew as Pitch fumed that he would in fact find a way to put the fear they should have for him back in their hearts.

No more of this, whatever this was where he moped about nursing his wounded pride. He had to start taking action to build up his power, so the next encounter they had, he would be much more formidable. So it was that Pitch took the opportunities to invade every child’s bedroom that he glided upon in an attempt to plague their dreams with nightmares.

When he saw the tendrils of dreamsand arching out across the sky, Pitch scowled, “Of course you would show up to fowl the lovely little nightmares I’ve worked so hard on.” No matter, he’d just steal them back he thought bitterly as he ducked under the child’s bed he’d been about to scare.

This happenstance had happened many a time before, and normally Pitch would move on to haunt another child’s dreams, but feeling indignant over his recent failures, he lay in wait to infect Sandy’s dreamsand with his own touch once the child had begun to smile obviously enjoying the dreams Sandy had emitted.

Unlike previously where when Pitch had touched the sand it had corrupted and turned black and jagged, this time the golden sand seemed to attach to his fingertips. Instinctively Pitch pulled away as if he’d been bitten, but the dreamsand was like an angry swarm of bees amassing through the window and whirling around first his arm and then the rest of him as Pitch swatted madly at the sand terrified of having the reverse of what he’d done to the Sandman in their last battle happen to him, but his efforts were in vain, and he was quickly engulfed in the sands coated in flecks of gold that adhered to him.

He went to jump into the nearest shadow, and his heart skipped a beat as a new terror filled him when nothing happened. He was still standing in the shadow, but now he was no longer able to travel through their darkness. He scrambled now out of the bedroom window running as fast as he could towards the tree line and away from the now dissipating sand. It had settled into his skin, and as he ran, he scrubbed in vain to remove it, but the sands had no substance. They were in fact shards of light he realized and as long as they were upon him, he would be unable to use his powers of shadow.

Jack Frost and Bunny walked out of the trees, into the open, cutting Pitch's escape off.

"I don't think so Pitch," Jack said immediately hooking his staff around Pitch in case the nightmare king decided to make a run for it in another direction. Not that he would be able to get far. Jack just didn’t feel like spending the night trying to chase him down.

“Well, that was easier than I thought it would be.” said Jack. “Nice work, Sandy! That was great thinking doing… uh… whatever you did with your dreamsand.”

Sandy dropped down from above with a smug smile on his face as Pitch’s face reflected surprised horror.

Pitch back pedaled as far as Frost’s hook yielded sneering at the object before glaring from Guardian to Guardian, “What is this?”

Bunnymund’s eyes narrowed as he stepped forward flipping a boomerang casually through the air to land swiftly back in his hand, “What do ya think it is mate? You’re coming with us.”

Why had he let himself act so brashly? He’d taken their bait he realized belatedly. If he’d just left Sandy’s dreamsand alone, he’d have been more than able to slip away unnoticed from the Guardians, but no, he had to try and one up Sandy out of petty vengeance, and now he realized instead they’d turned the tables on him.

Pitch contemplated a moment before straightening and trying his best to look imposing before them. He stared coolly down his nose at them, “You can lock me away, but as always, I’ll find my way back to the surface, and the next time we meet, I will destroy you.”

Bunny’s smile grew as he pulled out a large bag giving the dark man a sarcastic, “Sure ya will,” before unceremoniously scooping the lithe figure into it in one fluid motion.

Pitch let out an undignified yelp as he was flung over the massive rabbit’s shoulder. He screamed, kicked, and punched within the bag, “How dare you!”

Bunnymund laughed looking purposefully to Jack as he thumped open a portal, “Well now this seems awful familiar doesn’t it?” Without waiting for a reply, the Easter bunny jumped into the hole while Pitch’s inarticulate screams of rage followed.

Sandy blinked watching the scene before the hole disappeared leaving behind a lush patch of green in its wake. He turned to Jack now giving him a raised eyebrow and a soft sideways smile.

Jack waved Sandy off. “Yeah, well… The yetis… they brought me to the North Pole that way the first time.” he chuckled, running a hand through his hair, mussing it up. "Anyway, you did great tonight. I'll race you back to the North Pole." Jack bounded into the air and the wind carried him away before Sandy realized he was gone.

Catching on quickly the little golden man burst off in a determined streak of light hot on Jack’s heels.

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