Jack's eyes opened slowly to reveal Pitch sitting in a large armchair beside the bed reading. The boy stretched out an arm and poked Pitch's leg with his sleeve covered hand. The Boogeyman looked up from his book. "So you're already awake?" Jack nodded, not wanting to speak, since his throat felt like he swallowed knives. Pitch got out a thermometer. "Open." The frost elf did as he was told and after a short time the numbers read: 89.
The Nightmare King sighed. "That's not good," and he began to walk into another room.
Jack looked confused and realized he didn't want to be alone. "Pitch, wait!" His scratchy voice managed to say.
The man huffed and turned round; his eyes looked like fire. "Jack, be quiet, you're only going to make yourself worse if you keep talking. Say another word and I'll give you nightmares for a week." The young guardian pouted angrily, but pulled the covers up over his mouth. Satisfied, Pitch left the room.
He returned shortly with a small bottle in one hand. Jack tried to read the label, but he couldn’t because Pitch’s hand was covering it. "What’s t-" Jack tried to ask, but Pitch’s glare stopped him.
“It’s medicine,” the boogeyman informed. Pitch began to pour the green liquid into a small cap, while Jack slowly started to hide under the covers. “Alright sit up so you can drink this.”
“NO!” Jack shouted from under the covers. Pitch set the cap down on the nightstand and ripped the covers off the guardian. “No! Leave me alone! I don’t want it!”
“I couldn’t care less if you don’t want to drink it. It's going to help you get better, so you're taking it." Jack shook his head and clamped both hands on his mouth. Pitch used one hand to try and remove Jack's hands from his mouth, while the other arm was wrapped around the boy's stomach to keep him from running away. To his surprise, Jack's hand stayed put. The Nightmare King glared down at the frost elf. "If you don't take this right now, I will force open your jaw and make you swallow it."
Jack stopped struggling when he heard Pitch speak. His tone of voice had changed, and he sounded rather frightening. Sighing, Jack removed his concealed hands from his lips. Pitch handed him the small cap, and the snow spirit looked up at him with pleading eyes. "Drink it." Jack groaned and downed the medicine.
He coughed repeatedly after drinking it, and finished off a whole cup of water. "That's awful! Why do they make it taste so bad?!"
"So you won't want to drink it when you're feeling perfectly fine." Pitch rolled his eyes at Jack's dramatic coughing and choking sounds. "Alright, go back to bed."
"But I'm not tired!" Jack complained while adjusting the robe that was beginning to fall off his shoulder.
"You're yawning and there's slight bags under you're eyes, you are exhausted Jack." Pitch noticed as he began to tuck Jack back into bed.
"But if I go to sleep, then I'll be all alone," Jack confessed.
Pitch could feel the smallest, almost unnoticeable, amount of fear coming from the guardian. "I'm going to be beside you the whole time," he assured.
Jack looked at him with sad, large eyes. "But I wanna be with you."
The Nightmare King smiled at the boy, wanting to relieve him of his worry. "I would rather that, but your body wants rest." Pitch had to stop speaking for a few minutes because Jack began to have another coughing fit. "I'll be here when you wake up, and when you do I'll fix us something to eat, okay?" Jack nodded sadly and instantly drifted off to sleep.
When he woke up, he saw Pitch asleep in the armchair. "P-pitch," he managed to say. The boogeyman woke up and looked at the frost elf fondly.
"You slept away a whole day, Jack."
"Oh," was all Jack could think to say in response.
The man got out the thermometer and handed it to Jack. The numbers glowed, 93, which would have been perfectly healthy if Jack was still human. Pitch cursed under his breath and poured more of the thick medicine into the cap; he held it out for Jack. "If you even think about resisting, I'll drag you over to the Guardians and tell them just how close we have become." Jack snatched the cap out of Pitch's hands and chugged it before making slight choking sounds.
"That was kinda mean," the snow spirit sulked.
"We both knew you weren't going to take it, unless I threatened you." Pitch stood up. "I'll be right back. I'm just going to run you a cold bath to try and lower your fever."
"Can there be lots of bubbles in it?" Jack asked.
Pitch was barely able to hold in his laughter; Jack seemed more innocent than usual when sick. "Alright."
Pitch continued to walk away, when the frost elf's voice stopped him. "Hey Pitch, you weren't being serious, were you? You wouldn't take me over and tell the other Guardians, right?"
The boogeyman smiled wickedly. "Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn't. Since you don't know, I'd suggest that you don't take any chances." Pitch laughed evilly, and Jack stared in slight fear.
Jack looked up at the ceiling far, far away while waiting for Pitch to come back. His lair looked the same as the original one. As a matter of fact, it was identical. How'd he do that? Jack wondered. He heard the sound of running water cease, and saw the dark figure return to the bedroom. "How come everything's the same?" The boy asked, moving his arms in circles in the air to show he meant the lair.
"Because it's the same structure in a different location. I simply used my shadows to move it. If you were to dig up the original hole, you would find nothing but dirt."
"Oh." Jack suddenly found himself lifted from the bed, and being carried to a large bathroom. He was too busy looking around at his new surroundings to notice Pitch unbuttoning the already loose robe. He came to realization when he felt the cloth slip off of him. "Pitch!" Jack screamed, blushing deeply. He tried to push the man's face away, so he wouldn't be seen in his underwear. "Don't look! Don't look!"
"We sleep in the same bed, and now you're choosing to be shy?" Pitch asked.
"I wear clothes in bed! Just put me down!" The boy exclaimed, while covering Pitch's eyes.
"Alright, alright." The Nightmare King set Jack down, and headed for the door. He turned around. "I'll be back to check on you in a little bit."
"Okay, just stop looking!" The frost elf blushed. Pitch laughed and left. Jack slipped into the tub and sank into the cool water with a sigh of relief. Jack started playing with the large amount of bubbles and tried to remake the ice sculpture he and Pitch had accidentally made so long ago. He held his breath and sank underneath the water. He came out only when he realized if he stayed under any longer he would die from lack of air.
His head rose out of the water, and the bubbles stuck in his wet hair. He saw Pitch in the other room through the open door. He was talking to a nightmare. Jack smiled, and put his arms up on the rim and dared his aching throat to speak. "The bathtub is black too."
Pitch looked over and grinned. "Still expecting me to be hiding a rainbow somewhere, are we?" Jack laughed sheepishly. "I thought you didn't want me to stare."
"I'm covered by bubbles now, so it's okay. What were you guys talking about?"
"Oh, that. I sent out a couple of nightmares and fearlings to go scoop out Burgess, and see how bad the other children were." The boogeyman smirked.
"HEY!" Jack shouted, making his throat hurt even more so. "I am three hundred and eighteen! I'm not a kid anymore."
"No, but you sure act like one," Pitch teased. "Anyway they're experiencing the same symptoms as you, and their parents are doing everything I've done, so at least I know I'm on the right track. How do you feel?"
"My throat feels like I swallowed broken glass, but in here I'm not as hot." Pitch knelt down, pushed back Jack's limp bangs, and kissed his forehead.
"No, you don't seem as hot." The Nightmare King took the guardian's temperature, which was now back down to eighty-nine. "Well, at least it's gone down some-what."
"You're gonna get me better right?" The snow spirit asked the slightly upset Pitch.
"Of course." Pitch answered, now mad at himself for looking so worried.
"Hmm," Jack scooped up two handfuls of bubbles. "Hold still." Before Pitch could ask what he was doing, Jack plopped the pile down on Pitch's head. The boy giggled mischievously at the man's annoyed expression.
"Oh, you find that funny?" Pitch said in a agitated voice. He grabbed twice as many bubbles and dropped them on Jack's head. The young guardian laughed more so, and splashed the Nightmare King. Pitch let out a small scream as he tried to wipe the soapy water off himself.
"Oops, I wonder how that happened!" Jack beamed.
"Oh you little brat!" He grabbed a towel and wrapped it around Jack as he yanked him out of the tub. With Jack caught in his grip, Pitch started tickling his sleek skin. Jack laughed and screamed as he tried to get away.
"Uncle! Uncle! I give, I give!" Pitch chuckled and kissed the boy's cheek.
"Let's get you dry." He led Jack over to the sink and dried his hair. After he checked to make sure the frost elf was completely dry, Pitch returned to the bedroom to replace his soaked robe with a new one. Jack walked in to see Pitch shirtless while grabbing a new robe.
"What?" Pitch asked, curiously.
"Nothing." Jack replied, before another coughing fit began.
Pitch threw on the robe and rested his hand on Jack's shoulder. "You should rest some more, Jack."
Annoyed, Jack tried to freeze over the hand on his shoulder, but all he could make was slightly cold water, no frost or ice. He groaned. "This sucks so bad."
"I know," Pitch comforted. He picked Jack up, who clung to him immediately and carried the sick guardian to bed.
"I want to go outside. The snow'll melt without me." The frost elf tried to convince.
"Then everyone will have to go without snow for a while. I will not risk your health just so some stupid brat can avoid going to school." Jack glared at the man, but he only crossed his arm and returned the glare. Obviously defeated, Jack got under the covers. "I'm going to make us some lunch, and if you aren't in bed when I get back, I will drag your sorry existence over to the North Pole and express our nights to them in detail, understand?"
"Yes," groaned Jack. He came back shortly, and they started eating. Jack barely ate anything when he said he was full.
"Jack, you need to eat more than that. Your body needs the strength."
"I'm not hungry."
"Jackson Overland Frost, eat before you become a bag of bones." Jack laughed and did his best to eat more, but he just really wasn't in the mood for food. After they finished, Pitch insisted that the sick guardian go to bed, but Jack refused. Seeing that it was impossible to argue with someone as childish and rebellious as Jack Frost, Pitch sat down on the bed, and cuddled the snow spirit.
The two talked for hours, or at least Pitch did. Jack's throat was getting worse so he mostly nodded, shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. By the time Jack finally fell asleep, it was very early morning. Pitch gently removed Jack's arm from his side and sat back down in his armchair, not wanting to risk making the boy any warmer with his body heat.
He picked back up his book and looked at Jack one last time, before returning to the dark story he was reading. After ten minutes of silent bliss, he heard a large thump far away; it was the sound of someone entering his lair.
"PITCH!" A familiar Australian accent called.
Pitch sighed and looked over to make sure Jack was still asleep. Heading towards the voice, Pitch murmured, "For fuck's sake rabbit keep quiet."