Age Five: Alex/Xander
author's note: Willow will have to wait until next time apparently, my muse demands I explore headcanons. Again, if you have questions you're more than welcomed to ask people.
Oh! And before I forget, in case its unclear, while I use the name Xander in this chapter and previous ones Pitch has always thought/called Xander by his full name. Xander didn't become Xander until Willow named him so. I just happen to use Xander because I'm lazy. X-P
Warnings: Pitch FEELS
Age Five: Alex/Xander
Visiting Xander and attempting to visit some fear-inspiring horror upon him became routine for Pitch. Once a night, every night, Pitch would visit the young boy anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or two. The Dark Age was long gone. Adults, human ones, could no longer see Pitch and children's belief in him was fleeting. Except for Xander, puzzling child that he was. Xander was a true believer in Pitch, something the Nightmare King did not have in hundred of years. It no longer really mattered to Pitch if the boy feared him or not, as long Xander kept believing in him.
"Hello Alexander," Pitch greeted as had become customary but tonight was different.
"Xander," the boy corrected even as he smiled and waved hello.
Pitch halted his progress towards the bed and frowned confusedly at the boy. "Pardon?"
"I don't want to be called Alexander anymore. I'm just Xander now," the five year old declared, chest puffing out proudly at his 'new' name.
"No. That is a ridiculous nickname. Why by the moon would I call you that
? You have never protested the use of your full name before," Pitch argued, brushing his sleeves as if to brush off the dust of Xander's silly name choice.
"What? Aw, come on Pitch, please!" Xander begged suddenly, clearly disappointed. Well the boy would just have to deal with disappointment.
"The subject is closed Alexander. Pleading will not change my mind," Pitch said as reasonably as he could even as he rolled his eyes. Humans and their obsessions with nicknames. Only demons and their occasionally ridiculous titles were worse.
Pitch watched warily as Xander's eyes got wet, for once not desiring to make a child cry. Thankfully, Xander did not cry but instead started to scowl. He crossed his tiny arms and looked away from Pitch. It was a childish tactic, the 'cold shoulder', but it bothered Pitch. When believing was literally seeing, someone pointedly ignoring him was cruel. Pitch ignored the unpleasant feeling Xander's antics were causing.
"I know you are only five but, you're being childish. Are you really going to ignore me over a name?" Pitch asked as he stood beside Xander's bed. Xander did not answer. He did not make any move or give any sign he heard Pitch.
Maybe he had not.
Pitch gained and lost believers all the time. His constantly fluctuating power base was a sickening sensation he learned to endure. Endured because nothing he did changed
it. He might have gotten a bit... over dramatic since the Guardians destroyed his reign over humanity's belief but most days Pitch suspected his theatrics were the only thing him from fading. Go big or go home as humans frequently said. Then Xander believed in him simply because he wanted to, continued to believe in him despite Pitch's best efforts to scare him away.
"Alexander?" Pitch tried again, caution turning his statement into a question. Xander continued to show no awareness of Pitch.
Hesitantly the Nightmare King reached out to touch the boy but froze midway. What if his hand passed through
Xander? Since that first unpleasant experience of being run through like he did not exist, because to the child he had not, Pitch did his best to avoid physical contact. He stuck to the late hours of the night and far away from any crowd. There was no point to wondering -fearing- until Pitch tried.
He sighed loudly, almost explosively, with relief when his hand landed firmly on Xander's small shoulder. It hardly mattered that the hand was immediately shrugged off. Xander still believed in him, he was still real
to the boy. However, the problem still remained. Pitch was not
going to use that ridiculous nickname and Xander was not going to relent in his antics unless Pitch acted like a mature adult and fixed things.
Sometimes being a millennia old fear spirit surviving off the belief of children had its downfalls.
"How about a compromise," Pitch suggested gently, sitting down on the bed and pulling a reluctant, though curious, Xander onto his lap. "I'll give you a nickname, a different one. I'll call you that instead of Alexander... or Xander."
Xander looked up at him thoughtfully, neck bent at a painful looking angle to do so. "Okay, what're you going to call me?" the boy asked almost excitedly.
"Well, I could call you Brat after you're behavior tonight," Pitch dryly teased and refrained from laughing at Xander's loud protests. "But I know that particular nickname is rather common. Would a simple Alex suffice or must I get creative?"
"Alex works," Xander said with a happy smile. "Thanks Pitch."
"My dear strange child, that was far more hassle than it needed to be. Next time, Alex
just ask," Pitch chided as he settled the child back to bed. "Now that we have that settled, how was your first day of Kindergarten?"
"It was awesome! I met Willow, she named me Xander, and a bunch of other kids! Cordelia's really bossy and Larry's big but nice," Xander happily rambled and Pitch remained for a time to listen. When he bid the boy to sleep he took a moment to brush his hair before leaving a nightmare behind.
It was a few weeks later Xander noticed Pitch developed a habit of ruffling or combing his hair at least once a night. Like Pitch was checking he was really there.
Author's end note: Got to see some of Pitch's parenting skills this chapter. Not sure how to feel about it, 'D'aw' maybe. Also, thank you cloudleonsgurl for the artwork. I'll put it up in this fic eventually.