For Twig’s request~ Grudgingly watching a meteor shower on a mountain peak, can do! Probably more shippy than it should have been, considering Pitch is griping like a geriatric octogenarian stuck babysitting a twelve year old. Err. Sorry.
Call it youthful enthusiasm. Childish zeal. The effervescent energy of the young.
A puerile embodiment of his worst migraine.
Whatever you named it, Pitch dearly wished a few millennia would … ahem, chill Frost out. The Guardian’s junior-most member had taken to attacking him with the fervor of the raw recruit he was. Whenever, wherever, however they encountered.
Which was why he was currently being swatted straight into a snow-covered mountainside. He should be grateful Jack wasn’t nearly enough of a force of nature to control avalanches, but his own ice blasts and happenstance were aggravating enough.
Pitch had an instant to wince and regret the lack of shadows midair before tumbling right into the snow. An undignified tumble down the slope left him flat on his back, winded, with nothing but dark sky and stars filling his vision. A new moon, he noted absently. Not that it mattered, given the Man in the Moon had ceased being an impartial observer.
“Are you … actually staying down?” The brat hovered overhead, entering his line of sight. Pitch grimaced and pinched the bridge of his nose, deliberately blocking the view.
“You have far too much energy, Frost.” Pitch was not groaning, he was not complaining, he was just … far too old for this nonsense.
“I must have hit you harder than I thought.” Jack sounded smug. “Not that many kids afraid of the big bad Boogeyman any more, huh?”
Pitch couldn’t help squinting his eyes back open at that. He swept one arm through the snow to gesture at all the empty mountain peaks around them. “Oh yes, Jack, you’ve protected all the children here admirably.”
“Uh. Point taken.” Jack leaned on his staff midair, cocking his head to the side as he looked at Pitch curiously. “Comfy down there?”
“The view could be better, if there wasn’t an idiot child ambushing me in the wilderness for no good reason.”
“Huh.” And Jack swiveled on his staff, spinning midair to dangle from it before dropping deliberately on his back into the snow beside Pitch with a whuff of breath. The depth of the snow being what it was, Pitch couldn’t make out the frost sprite, but he didn’t doubt the winter spirit was disgustingly at home.
“And what do you think you’re doing now?”
“Improving the view,” Jack sniped back, then snow crunched as he undoubtedly made himself comfortable. “It’s actually really pretty, isn’t it?”
“… You are seriously going to stop fighting for a chance to stargaze, Frost.”
“Why not? You did.”
And there really was nothing he could say to that. Nothing to do except listen to the wind howling over mountains, feel the cold sinking through his bones from the ice and snow, and watch the twinkle of far-distant suns. He could name each one, each constellation, and yet … names did not make them any less mysterious. Any less beautiful.
Fear had such a close relationship with the unknown.
He could have, if not forgotten, at least ignored, his bizarre companion if Jack hadn’t whistled suddenly. “There, did you see it?”
“A falling star!”
“You are such a child, to be entertained by such things.” It wasn’t like falling stars meant what they used to, in this day of scientific astronomy. No longer even considered portents of war or death. Still… He caught the next streak of light, rapidly followed by another. “Ah. A meteor shower.”
“And you really don’t get out enough.” Jack didn’t sound nearly as insulted as he could be, enthusiasm still bright. “Shut up and enjoy the moment.”
“I had been.”
With such a pointed reminder, Pitch was pleased that Jack finally fell quiet, letting the lull of the moment hold. It had been awhile since he had watched the sky with anything less than disgust- perhaps it was merely because the moon was hidden that he could consider the stars with anything like peace. And remember that there was another, far more benign belief attached to shooting stars…
The Nightmare King contemplated the falling wishes against the backdrop of the constellations, the arms of the galaxy spiraling off into dark oblivion, and was almost disappointed when the sky lightened, bringing a cold, clear dawn to the mountains.
When the last star faded from the sky, Pitch levered himself up on his elbows, not the least surprised to find Jack had evidently fallen asleep at some point in the evening. It would have been too much to hope he could have kept quiet otherwise. Dawn tinted the snow, and the sleeping frost spirit, with a faint rosy glow. He almost resembled one of his charges then, with the untroubled sleep of the innocent.
It was nothing less than cocky, to be so unguarded as to dream in the presence of the Nightmare King.
He really ought to make Jack pay for that mistake, to learn his lesson properly, but… he can’t be bothered. That’s what he told himself as Jack woke up under his gaze, squinting at him.
“Do you make a habit of falling asleep in snowdrifts?”
“Were you watching me sleep? Because wow, creepy.” Jack wrinkled his nose, coming more awake. “Yeah, I know, creepy is what you do, but what the hell?”
Pitch rolled his eyes and scoffed under his breath. No point in attempting to hold a conversation with him, then. Jack surged out of the snow with a quick gust of wind, hanging on to his staff with one hand like he weighed nothing. The gust blasted tiny cold particles straight into Pitch’s face; he was under no illusions as to what the wind thought of him.
“Uh.” Jack hesitated, then offered a hand up.
Pitch pointedly ignored it and stood under his own power, brushing snow off his robe. “Don’t do me any favors, Frost.”
“So … do this again sometime?”
Pitch just raised a brow at Jack, deadpan. “You make such a compelling argument. I hardly know how to stop myself.”
“Bitch, bitch.” Jack looped an elbow around his staff and leaned against it. “It was fun.”
“Fun is your provender, as I recall.” Pitch took long steps across the snow towards the shadow of a rock outcropping. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have my own to attend to.”
And a traitorous little corner of his mind can’t help noting, as he warped into the shadow back to his realm proper, that that had been a prime example of cold and dark.
He absently wondered if Jack had made a wish.