Thank you for clicking on this story! As you can tell, this'll be my telling on the arrival of Jack and Sally's first baby of their eventual four or five kids. Chapters will sometimes jump forward in time or stay where they left off then continue on from the previous one, which I just wanted to clear up as to make sure nobody gets confused. But hopefully, it's easy enough to follow along with!
Disclaimer: Pregnancy themes are extra prevalent in this, so if that sort of thing makes you feel uncomfy, I suggest just skippin' over those parts. This whole story will contain much more than that kind of stuff though, I assure you!
The Pumpkin King paced the ground level of Finklestein Manor. His head was in a whirl, having to hold it in his hands to keep from toppling over.
Jack Skellington could barely believe it, let alone begin to comprehend. After so many excruciatingly long-drawn-out months of extensive anticipation, this was it. This was finally it.
Between broad strides, he frequently glanced up the spiralling ramp to where Sally's old bedchambers were, and exactly where his wife settled at this precise moment. On the verge of giving birth to the newest member of the Skellington family, their very first child and the supposed heir to Halloween's throne.
But it didn't help in alleviating the rising stress that she was enduring intense pain the last he saw of her. Who knows how much it had probably worsened by now…?
He drags his attention back to the ground and holds his arms behind his back, treading over nuts and bolts mounded across the metallic foundation. With his troublesome focus wavering and worrisome thoughts ravaging his conscience, time felt never-ending.
Why can't I be up there? I'm at least half responsible for this child, aren't I?
The man sighed, continuing to bite the stitch marks lining his mouth — a habit he wasn't entirely sure where he picked up, but hardly cared to muse over right now. It all just seemed to be happening so quickly and he had to try distracting himself. Thinking about the events leading up to where fate had brought them tonight…
And he managed a small smile for maybe the first time that night.
Many months prior, Jack sat stiffly in his personalized seat inside their manor's lounge room. The red chesterfield armchair with a towering back, more than appropriate to accommodate his enormous height — although it stretched higher than even himself when he stood straight upright. Meanwhile, Sally's chair was the large, plain white wicker one of rotted rattan rightly positioned parallel to his. Both about an appropriate arm's length apart, with a narrow stool table in between to leave bookmarked novellas and cups of tea.
However, her chair was presently left unaccompanied. Leaving himself alone to bask in the quietness of Skellington Manor with only a slumbering Zero at his feet to keep him in some sort of company from the gothic fireplace crackling with heat. A sedative tool currently granting no allay for the skeleton man who lighted it, however. It too little to overshadow the fact his beloved wife had been feeling in ill health all of today.
Even if Sally tried concealing any evident symptoms of her nausea, it showed especially prevalent during their demanding sessions of holiday planning with the Mayor and a fellow couple of other appointed officials. Come to think of it, she's been feeling this way for over a week — or even possibly longer.
All of this, of course, worrying her husband immensely. Although admittedly, perhaps it was more than reasonable. Afterall, when you're dead, sickness is usually rare or quickly over with. Unless there is something that should be of a concern… Nonetheless, even if it were to be deemed as of little importance, Jack couldn't help himself but worry for her behalf.
So much so, once their royal obligations concluded for the day — and after much persuasion on his part — Jack eventually convinced her into seeing Doctor Finklestein for a necessary check-up. And judging the grandfather clock ticking nearby, Sally has been gone for nearly an hour or so.
Perhaps there really is something wrong with her?
Jack had to force himself to stay put and not impetuously bolt to Finklestein's Laboratory when that trepidation became a plausible possibility. Instead, his leg was bouncing, nerves almost vibrating and dark eye sockets rarely blinking — as if he was stumped into a sporadic trance. But the moment that doorknob jiggled, Jack was instantly brought out of his daze and reclined forward off of the chair's cushioned back in a burning expectancy. The discernible sound of the front door creaking open making him lean farther as he watches the entrance to the lounge room like a starving vulture in anticipation for his wife to come through and make her all awaited appearance.
When sure enough, her figure emerged underneath the arched doorway of the 'living' room. Crimson hair spread over her shoulders and hands clasped in front of her midsection. The squeaking of the door must have disturbed Zero enough to wake him too, as the moment Sally presented herself, the ghost dog merrily flew to his mistress. Barking twice on the way before making a happy greeting by circling her slender ankles and leaving a pleasant lick on her small blue hand.
Letting her ruby lips turn up into a smile, Sally released her hands to give the ghost dog an affectionate pat on the head to reciprocate. Jack now respectfully rose from his seated position, remarking at just how stunning she looked in the warm yellow beams from the flickering fireplace. Burning off to the side with controlled sparks, it was almost as if she were glowing.
At this, a fierce wave of relief washed over him seeing Sally relaxed in a more neutral state of being. Yet he still struggled to shake the sense that something was wrong, and this cemented itself when he noticed the slight twitching in her dainty fingers.
"Are you alright?" He stepped across the floor's lengthy rug to meet her, wearing his most comforting expression and extended his arms to rub her upper sleeve and shoulder blades, in case she needed some sort of reassurance. "What did the Doctor say?" Jack asked, unable to mask any sense of his underlying concern.
She hesitates, opening her mouth slightly for words, only for silence. Mindfully having to force her voice to speak up before the seconds dragged on. "Uhm, he said I've caught some sort of bug. It should be gone soon, though. I just need to get some rest," she explains, fiddling with her reddish painted nails and massaging her wrists.
Jack, however, hadn't seemed to note the inherent uneasiness displayed by her hands this time around. Too engaged by the dreamy eyes staring up at him… he sighed through his nasal bone, momentarily eased even at the mere sight of her ostensibly fine.
Mid this intense gaze shared between the King and Queen, combined with the heat of the moment, Jack bent down. His intentions as clear as day for his other half, Sally leaned in herself. Her lips briefly parted as their faces came adjacent to meeting and closing the gap left between one another. Completely omitting the topic they'd met upon as her body went lax.
But one member of the household didn't quite catch on as Zero also brought his muzzle up to meet their noses, licking the two's faces wet with his ghost slobber resembling a soggy, transparent goo. To which the couple repelled themselves backwards in an attempt to escape out of scope of the pup's out-of-control tongue.
"Oh!" Sally squeaked, giggling. "Zero!"
Jack chuckled along as well, wiping the wetness off his skull with the cuffs of his dress shirt.
The two lovers' intermingled laughter provoked Zero's tail to wag madly, the pup so over-the-pumpkin-shaped-moon glad to have lifted his people in lighter spirits again! He couldn't understand why more downcast moments should occasionally outweigh ones like these!
Then when they eventually calmed their giggle fits, Sally went to rub the corners of her eyes before crouching down to the level Zero hovered at. "Do you want to go on a walk, boy?"
Was she being serious in asking him that question? Of course he did! He was always ready to go for a good walk! And he excitedly performed multiple circles in the air, backflipping to show his oh-so-obvious answer.
"A walk?" Jack questioned, tilting his head to the side with brows furrowed. Stuck in the mindset she would likely want some dinner or, at the very least, want to head to bed after such a long-winded day of Halloween planning — as well as it being this late. So consequently, this caught him heavily off-guard.
Sally's shoulders tensed as she stood back to her full height again and faced him. "Well, y-yes. I was thinking… it's dark and quiet outside… and I think I might need some air… and…" Sally began nervously toying with the end of her hair, curling a strand of the carmine yarn around her index finger.
Although Jack did consider the proposal a tad sudden, she was right… Halloween Town's true beauty did shine through during the nighttime and it would be noticeably quieter. Plus, he wasn't exceedingly tired or anything. But he still blinked once or twice before responding. "Oh—I mean, I suppose so. We can go someplace for a little while if you want to," he answered. "Um… is there any special occasion?" Please tell me I haven't forgotten something.
"Oh, no. I… just thought it would be nice to, maybe, go to the Graveyard? Only if you feel up to it, though…"
"No, no! That sounds like a fantastic idea! It has been a while since we last took a walk, hasn't it? I apologize for that, work has been getting in the way far too often as of late and–"
She placed a seductive pointer figure to his lips. "It's alright, Jack," Sally says as she quirked that crooked smile of hers — bottom lip off centre and stitches stretching upwards to where her ears would be. And he couldn't resist grinning in return under her touch. Somehow, when she smiled, he found her eyes even more gorgeous.
"Though, it is getting a little late," she did acknowledge the small plight in her proposal. "Can we… go now?"
"Why, of course! Let me just fetch my coat. I won't be a second!" Jack sidestepped out into the household's entranceway, unhooking his trademark black and white pinstriped jacket from a hook on the wall. Slipping it on with ease before holding his arm out, bony elbow elevated upwards for his lady to take when Sally stepped out of the lounge room too. A riled-up ghost dog at her side, panting in built-up excitement.
"Thank you, Jack," she said softly, and tenderly accepted his offer through another smile.
It was indeed a silent evening that night. Well, excluding the occasional howl of a distant werewolf, fearful shriek or quiet whisper of the wind. But all else resembled that of a ghost town adhered to permanent days of isolation, in the best of ways.
Jack and Sally stuck to the familiar pathway of their scenic route. Approaching the gravesite attraction with dim lamps on twisting poles to light the road along the way.
The only residents crossing paths with them being the Zombie Band, the musical trio of three main instrumentalists. Whom which the couple kindly greeted by their various names — James, John and Jimmy — or otherwise known as the three 'J's by their closest of acquaintances. The humble Pumpkin King flicking each a coin to repay their soft tune for good measure afterwards.
Before, shortly after the friendly interaction, the Skellingtons arrived at the Graveyard's strong iron gates. Overgrown black weeds and thick bushes tangled through to give it a pronounced façade.
Jack's fingertips skimmed the inside of his pockets to pull out his set of keys. Clicking through each for his one and only skeleton key, to be exact — the one which opened just about every public padlock in town. Although however fast he found it, Zero lacked the patience for his master to identify and fully unlock the entrance. Seeping through the bars to advance the grounds before his slightly slower master and mistress.
Jack grabbed the iron gates and pushed the entry open wide enough for the now two of them to pass through. Stepping to the side and holding the weight in place for his wife to go first. "After you, my lady." Grinning, Jack performed an over-exaggerated bow.
Sally smiled too and curtsied to play along. When she then came to meet the thick fog inside, blown across nearly the whole of the gravesite and enveloping each tombstone in the smokelike mass for an ideally eerie atmosphere. And following an old personal tradition, Jack closed the gate to make it appear at first glance that it was still locked up for the night — although this smog should shield their company from any possible onlookers, anyway. He quickly caught up to Sally and sparked a conversation between the two of them.
"I meant to ask back at the manor, how have the Doctor and Jewel been lately? Doing well, I hope," he queried her later part of her day. Mindfully watching Zero's bright nose disappear as the canine flew off to find his own amusement.
"They're doing well. The Doctor's cough has gotten much better and he's busied himself with working on new inventions again, to get back on track and all," she recounts, delighted to do so. "Jewel's gotten much better at cooking too — I think she's been reading the recipes book I lent her. Oh– and Igor was happy to see me visiting again," Sally answered happily.
"Why, that's marvellous! I'm glad to hear the Doctor's gotten well, Halloween surely wouldn't be the same without his help," Jack commented.
"But it's only April, dear," Sally pointed out in a jokey manner. "My goodness, how much planning has the Mayor made you been doing lately?"
Her spouse chuckled. "You would know, its just the usual," Jack turned down to flaunt a teasing wink.
The rag doll shook her head, lightheartedly. "You should try to take a break this week. You deserve it. Halloween is months away now after all."
"Dearest, you know the Mayor," he started. "He would be positively lost without me!"
"I guess that's true…" Sally brought a hand to her mouth and chuckled.
As they approached, the lovers held hands and chatted about various different topics. Jack caught up on how Sally's sewing shop had been running as of late before she lends an ear in listening to his rant on his aforementioned abundance of kingly duties. Slowly sauntering to their special spot atop of the famed Spiral Hill. Not only a beloved landmark of the town but holding a special place in the couple's memories. They continued to converse some more when seated.
However, Sally was largely distracted for a majority of the time. She likely browsed over each and every conceivable way she could tell him the news, reciting any method to potentially ease into the topic at hand before rehearsing exactly how she was to spill the beans. Structuring chosen sentences to perfection and mulling on her anxieties over and over, and over again…
On her own, she could barely even start to make sense of all the flooding emotions. Neither was she sad, angry or… feeling overly felicitous. Although, she was excited to a high degree and incredibly nervous overall. She'd only ever dreamed of marrying and later starting a family with the Jack Skellington. To… be a mother — the thought was so nerve-wracking yet both thrilling at the same time. But the fact of the matter still made her stomach twist again from when the Doctor first told her not a single hour or more so ago.
And when there came a break in the conversation, she let the tone shift to a much more serious one. "Jack," she began, "I love you… so much." She wants to tell him tonight, but the subject was so hard to foster…
Her husband smiled slightly. "And I love you too, my dearest friend, more than anything," he expressed as he took her tiny hands into his, squeezing them lightly. "Is something the matter?"
"There's, um, something I have t-to… tell you," Sally struggled, her voice sounding shaky.
Jack also noticed the small trembling in her hands, and was all ears, gazing deeply into her rounded eyes. "What is it?" Jack leaned down, pressing gently.
Silently, her breathing became uneven and she tried chewing her bottom lip while avoiding any eye contact all together… Why was she so anxiously worked up? She knew Jack would never bail or cut ties with their marriage, but her heart's pace still managed to rise to a much faster one… They've even discussed the topic of children before their engagement unfolded! Jack admitting he wanted children just as much as she did too. But it feels much too soon, and maybe now all too real…
"Sally, you can tell me," he prompted again as tenderly as possible and lowered his head to her level, genuinely worried now.
She left a moment to muster up the words, though they came out in almost a dead whisper. Drawing in a strained breath before saying what she's almost dreaded to for an entire night…
And Sally could only watch as the news slowly sank into comprehension… Him taking a great, prolonged pause to properly process her words when, with that, Jack's eye sockets stretched as wide as… as wide as… as pumpkins! His wholly unclenched jaw wide in pure astonishment.
They were having a baby?
What?! We're going to be parents? How?! …Okay, he had a rough idea in that arena, but still! When did…? How long ago… and when until…?
"W—What…?!" Jack mistakenly backed away. "H-How? When did it…? I–I c-can't… be a father?!"
During his realisation hysterics, he accidentally backed away a little too far. Reaching the edge of the Spiral Hill and was about to topple over.
"Jack!" Sally yelped, expecting the sound of squashed pumpkins to be heard when he lands on the growing patch of orange crops far below. Although he wasn't exactly heavy in any sense being made up only of bones, the height of the fall most likely would allow him to crush a good handful.
But thank the Halloween gods! Luckily Jack caught himself on the edge, right ahead of that mishap transpiring. Having shifted his weight in the right spot just in the nick of time before he'd flattened some of that harvest — the only hope the pumpkins would have had was if Jack's later reflexes were fast enough to grab onto the curling spiral which gave the hill its name, then either lift himself back on top or hold on if the hill unravelled at the new sensation handling its thinnest portion.
Sally shut her eyes in a deep exhale and placed a hand on the stitches crossing her chest. "Are you alright?" Her shy tranquillity returning.
Jack couldn't summon an ability to speak at that moment, but if he had, his words would have been a spluttered mess. It was as if Sally had cast a witch's spell or master curse upon him.
"Please say something," she quavered in a meek whisper.
Jack heaved one last breath and slowly went to stand, extending a skeletal hand to help her join him — which she accepted, though timidly. He clutched hers in his large ones again, tightly, to gaze deeply into her eyes. "We're having a baby?"
She nodded, heart beating and head in a docile position when Jack brought her into a direct embrace. A stunned Sally needing to take a second or two before she wraps her arms around his body in return. Contagious smiles forming on both of their faces, Sally had to clench her teeth in order to keep back the tears threatening to fall. Especially when Jack repeatedly rejoiced continuous "I love you"s into her soft hair. Washing away any anxieties she previously had, inexplicably erasing them from her mind in that one instant. Forgetting their world around them to sink into the two way cuddle and his shoulder while her extraordinary news gave Jack a newfound feeling of warmth he'd never quite experienced, and he wanted to prolong this moment for as long as he could…
Jack Skellington, the orphaned child with merely a ghost dog as his single friend… was going to become a father. The notorious Pumpkin King of Halloween itself was finally going to have a descendant to follow in his footsteps. Jack Skellington was going to become a dad and have a family to call his very own.
These realisations were as frightening as it came, yet made him feel like the happiest man dead.
He'd disregarded the possibility of ever having a child decades ago. Believing he was destined to stay alone forever. But that was just it until he met, courted and married Sally Finklestein. From then on Jack's mind had gone on fantasizing and daydreaming about them being parents together at times, but never considered it so seriously… that is, until now.
I'm going to be a dad, he repeated over again and again in his head.
His Sally quietly sighed in contentment, relaxed in her husband's arms before he finally left her touch to stand stiff in front of her. Another worried expression plastered across his white skull to make the rag doll apprehensive all over again.
"I won't — you know — hurt the baby any way hugging you… would I?" Jack had to admit, now that he said the thought aloud, his concern sounded rather stupid. But he still wanted to make extra certain! "I, um… I don't know much about all this stuff," he admitted, rubbing the back of his neck shyly.
His wife giggled a little, shaking her head. Motioning him to sit down on the hill's surface once more alongside her. And when he was sat comfortably enough, she unknowingly began to fiddle with her fingers moreover. "So, you're not mad or anything?" Sally hesitantly questioned. Using 'mad' as having the lack thereof a better word.
Jack took the lead at this, cupping her face. "Sally." Speaking her name suavely before connecting with her lush lips. Grinning into it when she kissed back. Her cheeks blushing to a noticeable and purplish hue.
And when they ultimately broke apart, both continued to snuggle up against one another. Where no further words were needed, all they required was each other and the view — courtesy of the serene graveyard. Simply resting shoulder to shoulder, reclined to the ground while beholding the clear sky above and its emerging stars. Pointing out favourite constellations to each other, little shivers tingled down her porcelain spine.
…At least, that's how Sally felt. If she weren't lying up against him, Jack would've slapped himself to make absolutely for certain that this wasn't just another pleasant nightmare lost from reality.
"You know, I didn't think it was possible…" Sally soon muttered, only barely loud enough for him to hear.
Still outstretched on his back, he turned his head to admire her — something he's become addicted to doing for many years now.
Quite truthfully, Jack hadn't judged it possible either. They were dead, decaying, undead beings surrounded by everything and anything other to do with something as mortal as creating 'life.' Only a certain category here were capable of doing that; like werewolves, vampires, selected corpses and other similar species. Although, the alleged rules were pretty different in contrast to the humans' way of doing things — in some areas, at least. Especially considering the fact anyone born to a reproducing creature here was born as undead from the very beginning of their existence, never considered alive to begin with.
"I didn't know for certain it was either," he confessed now.
"I asked Doctor Finklestein how it was possible, actually," Sally said, forehead knitted in thought. Carefully thinking over her creator's explanation in her head.
Jack perked up a little.
Sally acknowledged this and her face flushed. "Well…" she began, "he explained it was possible for us to conceive since I was, uh, built to… 'realistically' replicate the sort of requirements," she turned a darker shade of blue, knowing full well he understood what she meant. "And you're a bone-man, obviously, since you have some 'things' normal skeletons wouldn't have…"
"Oh, of course, yes," Jack responded, laughing that off in a clumsy manner.
He laid back awkwardly and went to face the black sky. Thinking about it again, he had one last burning question imparticular he desperately wanted to ask next and after letting it sit for a little while, eventually perched his head onto his knuckles. Arm bent on the ground to sit his skull up and face her properly. "Do you know when we can be expecting this little one?"
"The Doctor estimated it to be sometime in December," she replied. "We'll have a Christmas baby, Jack." Sally beamed.
He grinned equally as wide. A foreign sense of pride washing over him mixed with an equaling burst of elation. "That's perfect."
A lingering chime interrupted then and both gazed back towards the town. It was the faint bell which rang to indicate the arrival of midnight and told fully nocturnal creatures all was safe to crawl out from the shadows again. When the yellow moon was at its highest point and every star had appeared. It also let the couple know that now was probably about time to begin heading back home before dawn snuck upon them next.
Though it proved quite a shame, Jack made a mental note to save another night to spend this the same way.
But turned out to be not too much of a loss.
That night in bed, blissfully so, came with a pleasing stretch of prolonged kisses and close snuggling. The perfect way to end an unanticipated night to remember, if he did say so himself.
Nevertheless, when the caresses and whispered sweet nothings reached its natural conclusion, the realisation at hand got to settle in a great deal further. For the king was left to staring blankly ahead at the ceiling after a tired Sally slipped into a deep sleep, and he was somewhat glad. He got the chance to reflect on everything which had happened a mere hour ago. The happened response repeating from when she broke the news; absolute shock preceded by pure euphoria coming back at those few special words.
But, as the night dragged on, Jack couldn't neglect one thing; he had zero clues on how to be a good father…
…Even if, more than anything, he wanted to learn.
To prepare and face the upcoming trials and tribulations together with Sally, who he knew would drift into her new role effortlessly. He just hoped he could too.
And yet, there was one thing he did know for certain.
Despite any challenge they faced, Jack was going to take care of Sally and this child with every fibre of his being.