Age Five: Willow
author's note: So poll time! After this fic I plan to write a sequel actually dealing with the events of BtVS and RotG but I'm on the fence about whether Xander can still see Pitch by the time Welcome to the Hellmouth and Harvest end. So I'm putting it to vote. Please mark your review as private if you vote. I'm trying to keep the poll 'blind', so to speak.
About grammar... this is from five year old's perspectives, grammar's a work in progress for them.
Age Five: Willow
Willow liked Xander. He was really nice to her on their first day of kindergarten together and he was fun to play with. Although, she did not like how much Xander enjoyed scaring people, especially her.
"You're being mean," Willow scolded eventually, after Xander got her to shriek loudly by jumping out at her from behind a shelf in the play area.
"Am not," Xander argued quickly, laughter stopping as he he noticed how hard Willow was fighting back tears.
"Yes you are! You're always telling scary stories and-and jumping out at people to scare them. That's mean!" Willow yelled, unaware of the attention she was drawing on the two.
"I'm just being scary. I like being scary, like the Boogeyman," Xander explained quietly, looking hurt. "Getting scared is fun."
"No, it's not! You're being mean! I don't want to be your friend if you keep being mean," Willow cried, tears finally pouring from her eyes.
"I'm sorry," Xander said softly even as a teacher finally came over to see what was going on.
Xander stopped scaring Willow after that and anyone else that told him to stop. There were a few boys and Cordelia that seemed to get it was just a game to Xander. They let him continue to scare them and even tried to scare Xander back. It was fun. Cordelia and Tucker were really good at scaring Xander.
One time Cordelia did not even do anything. She just put her hands on her hips and glared at Xander until he ran away from her. She was scary like that. Xander wondered if she could scare even Pitch, he liked to see her try.
"Why do you like scaring people and getting scared so much?" Willow asked one day after Xander sat down next her laughing over how he and Jonathan managed to scare Larry so badly he jumped almost twice his height in the air.
"I told you," Xander said exasperated, rolling his eyes. "It's fun!"
"But why?" Willow demanded, just wanting to understand.
Xander frowned and bit his lip. He did not know how to answer that. Pitch scared Xander and children all the time, it was what he did. Xander wanted to be like Pitch who was creepy and silly and nice and not loud and angry and mean and smelly like his father was. As scary as Pitch got Xander knew he was safe with Pitch. When his dad got scary Xander never knew if was he safe. Xander wished Pitch was his dad.
"Because it's safe," Xander finally decided. "Pitch makes scary stuff safe."
"Pitch?" Willow frowned, confused by the name. She never heard of a Pitch before.
Xander suddenly smiled as he got an idea. He would tell Willow about Pitch! Then the two could become friends and Willow would get why scary stuff was fun and safe.
"He's the Boogeyman. He likes to hide under beds and in closets and scare kids. He's tall and made out of shadows and has gold glowy eyes," Xander explained, waving his arms about excitedly.
Willow's face scrunched up like she swallowed a lemon. "The Boogeyman isn't real
Xander," Willow scolded, taking on her bossy tone whenever she thought she knew better than him (she usually did).
"Yes he does," Xander argued, surprised Willow did not believe.
"Nuh-uh. Mommy and daddy told me he was just a bad dream. A fig- a fig- something I made up," Willow explained, her parents knew everything. Maybe if she knew everything they'd like her more.
, Pitch makes the bad dreams. He calls 'em nightmare and they're black horses made from sand," Xander insisted, bothered that Willow didn't believe in Pitch. Scared she was going to make him not believe too. He didn't like this fear.
"Xander, the boogeyman isn't real!" Willow snapped.
"Yes he is and he's my bestest friend ever!" Xander yelled before stomping away. Willow was being stupid. Xander knew Pitch for forever
, of course he was real. He named Xander Alex and visited him every night. Pitch was his friend, his best friend.
Pitch was real.
He had to be.
Xander sat on his bed, legs crossed 'indian' style as he waited for Pitch to show. He was going to show. Willow was stupid and Pitch was real.
Except Willow wasn't usually stupid and Pitch was usually here by now. Was Willow right? Was Pitch- no, Pitch was real. Pitch was real. Pitch was real.
Willow was wrong and stupid and mean for making Xander think Pitch might not be real. Because Pitch was real and he was going to visit.
But where was he? Why wasn't Pitch here now
? The sun set ages ago.
Xander scrubbed his face, refusing to cry. Dad did not like it when Xander cried, called him a sissy and a crybaby. Pitch did not care if Xander cried but he wasn't here. Where was he?
"My, my, Alex. You're awfully frightened toni-oof!" Pitch never managed to finish as Xander leapt from his bed into Pitch.
With a soft thump they crashed to the floor, Xander crying as he clutched at Pitch's robe. They stayed sprawled on the floor like that for a few moments. Then Pitch carefully wrapped his arms around Xander in a feather-light hug, one hand brushing through Xander's hair as he cried.
"Strange child, what happened? It is unlike you to be distraught. Was it your father?" Pitch inquired softly.
Xander shook his head but did not remove it from Pitch's robe. "Willow said you weren't real
," he managed eventually.
Pitch hugged him tightly at that, pausing in hand combing Xander's hair. "I see," was all he said at first before he started combing Xander's hair once more but kept him close. "Alex, to her and many children I'm not real."
"What does that mean?" Xander demanded, lifting his head finally to look at Pitch. He did not care if his eyes were puffy from crying and nose runny though Pitch smiled briefly in amusement.
"I told you once, when we first met. You have to believe
in me to see me. As long as you think I'm real, I am. The moment you stop thinking so... " Pitch explained but trailed off softly.
"Pitch?" Xander asked because Pitch looked sad and scared
and Pitch never looked scared.
"I become a ghost. I'll still be here but you won't see or here me. If I tried to hug you, you'd go through me like I was air. It doesn't hurt but it's a horrible feeling," Pitch explained, eyes distant.
That sounded scary. Not the fun scary Xander liked at school or the safe scary that was Pitch. It sounded sad and lonely. And Xander did not like the idea of Pitch going away. He wanted Pitch to be around forever.
"I won't stop believing. Never ever," Xander promised.
Pitch smiled but it was sad and he laughed but it wasn't happy. "Everyone stops believing in the 'Boogeyman' eventually, Alex."
"Well I won't," Xander sniffled.
Pitch huffed amused and used the shadows to bring him a tissue box. He helped Xander clean his face and settled the boy into his bed.
"We'll see," Pitch finally agreed.
Alternatively, the other title for this chapter is 'Pitch is a Bad Influence'. So it's minor but the beginnings of canon divergence has begun. Also, sorry for beating a dead horse about the belief issue but uh, it's kind of the central issue of this story.